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  1. I'm attending Arizona State University online. I live in Georgia and I'm 24 years old. ASU is a quarter-based system, which means I get college credits on a quarterly basis instead of a semester basis. All PA and AA schools (I'm interested in both) require a certain amount of prerequisite hours, but at ASU, I would be about an hour or two short in a lot of them, like biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, etc. So, me getting a degree in biology from ASU is kind of pointless, because I'd have to take some additional prerequisite classes at my local college anyways. I should also mention I have a job (in aviation) that pays pretty well - about $60,000 a year. I am also in the process of getting my Surgical Technician certifications, but this will take a year or so. With this being said, I have two options: A: Get my Surgical Tech school done and take a really low course load at ASU for Biology to ensure I maintain as close to a 4.0 as possible. Get about 60 of 120 credits from ASU (amount needed to transfer), then transfer to the University of Georgia. Finish my degree in biology, but live off loans. Try to find a part-time CST job while in Athens to keep them as low as possible. Continue with a low class load to keep a good GPA. This way, I'm keeping my grades high, but still getting some crucial clinical experience. Eventually graduate from UGA, a highly respected school in Georgia, with a degree in Biology. Then apply to programs. Most will be far away, so if I get accepted into one of those, I'll also probably have to live off loans for the two years of AA or PA school. Lots of debt, but better undergrad, experience (in life and classwork), and higher caliber school. B: Buy a mobile home for a great price ($13k practically brand new) - a home right next to my parent's. In 3 years, it'll be paid off and cost me half as much as renting. Continue my degree at Arizona State University (online) in something like psychology, since my prerequisites won't count the same anyways. Minor in personal health. Get my Surgical Tech school done and work part-time while attending ASU. Finish my psychology degree, then take the right prerequisites at my local college. Don't live off any student loans until I get accepted into AA or PA school. Option A seems nice. I can go to UGA, graduate with a degree in Biology, have that prestigious college (at least for my state) attached to my degree, finish everything on a physical campus, have easier access to volunteering in research studies at the campus, have 100% of my focus on my school and GPA (this is important as grades don't come naturally to me), and pretty much devote my life to making sure my prerequisites and overall GPA are top notch. The bad - I'd live off loans and accumulate a lot more debt and UGA is harder (could be a good thing for preparation) in their expectations. A lot of good, but the two bad are related to more debt and harder to get a good GPA. Option B seems good too, but not as appealing. I'll undergrad in psychology and minor in personal health (biology/chem/etc not available). Take all the right prerequisites at a local college that should be easier to pass versus UGA's standards. Save money by working as a Surgical Tech and paying $500/mo in a mortgage payment versus $1,000/mo for an apartment. SORRY TO RAMBLE. What's your opinion?
  2. Hoping to pick the brains of PA grads.... I've been accepted to two name-brand PA schools. Both are affiliated with major academic medical centers. One is private and has a strong legacy/alumni base. It is ranked very highly. The cost of living in the surrounding area is very high and the tuition is >$85K for two years. I loved the faculty and the area, which happens to be near my hometown. I am excited about the idea of having the social support of family and friends during the rigorous two years. The second school is in-state tuition for me currently (about $57K for two years), however it is a very new program. Although it has a great affiliation, no class has yet to sit for the PANCE and I worry about the clinical sites as they have not been as heavily vetted. Due to its affiliation, I do have faith that it will become a very strong program. It is also a very small cohort compared to the legacy school, but I do worry about peer support as it attracts non-traditional students, which I am not. Right now, both seem like a lot of money and the debt doesn't feel real (despite the fact I'm paying off about $20K of undergrad loans). Is the cheaper tuition worth passing up a school with such a solid reputation? Thank you in advance for your help!
  3. i am coming up on contract negotiations. Most likely I plan on staying. I have been here for 5 years and really like it, mainly because of who I work for/with. Something that would help me progress financially would be paying down student loans. I am already at a high salary and get some bonuses. The only thing I could think of that would improve the money situation would be some sort of loan repayment. Ideally, tax free for me and clinic, money goes directly to loan, lowers principle and overall cost of loan, and I still write off loan interest. I do understand there are some tax codes against this but it is changing. (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/108/text) I have run into another option through https://studentloangenius.com/. Does anyone have experience with them? Any other creative options to minimize tax implications but still drive money to loans? I would even accept slight decrease in salary for larger amount to loans IF there were also tax benefits.
  4. I got into an in-state program a 25 minute drive from my parents house. Fortunately, tuition and fees for the 24 months will only be about $36,000 altogether (a steal compared to the private programs I got into) My choices are: (1) Pay 500-700 per month for an apt near the school (2) Live with my parents and commute 25 min each way, paying about 80/mo for parking near the school OR parking free if I'm willing to then walk 20 minutes I have no savings and will be taking out loans for every penny of my expenses What would you do? Will I be missing out on a lot if I don't room with classmates?
  5. Hello everyone on this forum! I have decided start on this beautiful journey of becoming a Physician Assistant. I will be graduating spring 2018 and I have decided to apply that summer. This means that if I get accepted into PA school I will resume my studies June 2019 (depending on the school). However, I have something I can't get off my head. Loan REPAYMENT. After I graduate college I have a 6 month period to start repaying my undergraduate loans. Of course I plan to work for that whole year and study a bit. But I don't know if I can afford to pay large amounts of loan repayments during that gap year. Is it possible that once I start my studies as a PA I will be able to "suspend" my payments until I am done with my studies? I am sure I am not the only student on this position, so let me know with previous experiences! Thank you so much! :-)
  6. About once every 3 months I put myself into a panic about my student loans. I went to PA school right out of college and thought the better reputation school would be better for me, even though it was significantly more expensive. I know now that that was a terrible decision. After my first panic about student loans I started living significantly cheaper but I still have the debt hanging over my head. Is this a feasible amount to pay off as a single woman after graduating? Will I ever be able to not live as cheaply as I do now... at least within 10 years? Any advice would be appreciated. After looking at the cost of other schools, there has to be more people in my shoes out there and I'd love to hear some stories/advice from fellow PAs. Thank you!
  7. Hi everyone! I am curious how everyone funds their schooling. I am currently applying for PA school next year and am not sure how I'm going to pay for it. I plan on taking out a lot of loans, but you are only allowed around $40,000 in loans per year, which is what the programs I'm looking at cost. Since I am unable to have a job during the program and I'm not receiving any outside funding from family, spouse, etc. I am concerned about how I will pay for housing and food. Can anyone who is/was in a similar situation tell me how they pay/paid for housing and food during PA school? Can you take out extra loans for these things? Thanks for your help! Kaitlyn
  8. I couldn't resist it. Right out of school, I was offered a great salary at a job I already knew. I went to work at the clinic I had worked at as a medical assistant before PA school where we did abortions and birth control. I got paid very well for it and did only that for 10 years. Now, I left because I had 2 kids and don't want the long commute anymore. How can I broaden my horizons now? I would be happy in virtually any other field -- primary care, derm, peds, urgent care, ortho, etc. I'm due to take PANRE in 2014 or 2015. So, I'm thinking I'll take some time to study hard for it to hopefully not just pass, but do well, so that I can show the category breakdown to potential employers and at least prove that I am book smart. Also thinking of taking another Spanish class to be able to add that as a job skill to make myself more marketable. Any other ideas?
  9. I am 1 year out as a family practice PA, and will be interviewing as 2 practices next week (one is a endocrinology practice, and one is a geriatric practice). As some of you know, I am just not happy with the experience (or lack of) I gained this year at my current practice.. I really, really need to somehow get my new employer to help me out with paying my student loan debt, since I cant seem to get into a federal program where I live. Both practices seem to be great organizations with competitive salary. I would be willing to take 10 or 20k less salary if they would just use it to pay my loan back. My question is.... How do I negotiate this, and how much should I ask for ?! Does anyone have experience with their employers paying back a chunk of their loan debt? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely, broke PA
  10. So, I'm ending my first year as a PA with a pretty well paying job outside of school (90k), which unfortunately will be ending for me soon (practice is closing, forcing me to find another job). However, I have an obscene amount of student debt that literally leaves me broke after each paycheck. I know I did this to myself, but I just get so disheartened because I feel like I worked so hard to get here with little to no help from anyone else, and I have nothing to show for it. I don't live above my means or anything like that, but after each paycheck I barely have enough for food, and I think to myself... how can this be?! I'm a PA! :/ Besides, National Health Service Corps Jobs (which I have been applying for), does anyone else know any other resources for repaying student loan debt? I have been looking for a job that offers loan assistance also.... and knowingly will probably have to relocate and break my fiance's heart. But I just can't do this anymore. We will never be able to afford children if I have to keep living like this. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE being a PA and I don't regret it. I have no problem continuing to work my ass off to pay this money back.... just looking for some assistance if possible. I have no issues working 2-3 jobs either to pay for my loans... I just didnt have this opportunity with my little experience and I also work 6 days a week at my current job. I'm hoping that in my second year as a PA, I will be able to find a job that will allow me to work extra shifts, or an extra job or two... Any help/resources would be greatly appreciated! Thank you. You guys are invaluable!
  11. I have a question that can hopefully be answered by the gurus in this forum. I've searched the forums here (manually and automatically) and have searched around FAFSA's website and studentloans.gov; no luck. First, let me spin the threads of a story in the form of a time-line: -I will be graduating, probably in the Winter of 2012. At this time I will have open government-subsidized student loans. -I will be working to finish my required patient contact hours. This will last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on my ability to procure a job with patient contact hours while I am still in school and current application cycles. -With luck I will then be entering a PA program. Scenario 1: I can make at least minimum required payments while not attending school. Scenario 2: I know there is generally allowed deference period. I make us of this and pay as much as I am able. What limits will be placed on me and my access to government loan assistance in PA school, considering the fact that I will have to leave school for two years? (consider also that with a job as a CNA I might be hard pressed to pay the minimum amount.) Thanks for any and all help offered on the subject.
  12. I walked out of the ED this morning having written my last paper chart (supposedly); our hospital goes live with EPIC today. I know a lot of folks are using this EMR in their ED's; does anyone have any tips on creating macros, smart phrases, etc? We've been told that setting up our own shortcuts like this will make things significantly more efficient; do any of you have any "must have" smart phrases that make your documentation life easier?
  13. Hello! I would love some advice from practicing PAs on how to handle this situation: I was just accepted into my first-choice school (Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC near Ft. Bragg) and will start next Fall. In case it matters: I'm a 31-year-old female. I already owe about $26K for courses I took to complete prereqs. The PA program tuition + fees, supplies, etc. will run about $70K. By the time 6.8% interest kicks in, I figure I'll owe about $110K once school is over. My husband and I are both incredibly frugal, and even if I have to pay for school 100% using loans, we have a plan in which the loans would be paid off in 6 years. BUT..... There is a grant program that was awarded to Methodist in which they select 6 students to receive $44K ($22k for 2 years). The caveat is that each recipient must promise to work 5 years in primary care (family med, peds, or IM). My father-in-law is a primary care physician in Illinois and is a huge inspiration to me. I think I would enjoy primary care. BUT...I am also hugely interested in cardiology, and the ER seems appealing as well. And who knows? Once clinicals start, I may change my mind again. What I'd like to know is if it's worth it to commit myself to primary care before school even starts to get such generous financial assistance. I'm looking at the difference in owing $35K (if I'm one of the lucky 6 to receive the grant) vs. $110K (without the grant). I may be putting the cart before the horse a little bit here, because I don't even know that I would be one of the 6 to get the grant funds. I thought it would be good, though, to hear what people have to say before I submit an application when the time comes. I've done research on this forum about salaries in different specialties and different regions within the U.S., but there are so many variables here (picking a specialty before school starts, committing to said specialty for 5 yrs, salaries, loan payments, etc.). I decided I should just post something and hope for responses. I keep going back and forth on what to do. I am crossing my fingers that your experiences will highlight some factors I haven't considered that will help me make up my mind whether I should apply for the grant. Thank you very much for your time!
  14. Hello all, I'm a prospective student for either a fall 2013 or spring 2014 matriculation. I have not yet been accepted to a program, and am curious about opportunities might be out there for scholarships and financial aid. I have heard a little about NHSC and about Military scholarships, could anybody elaborate on the process? -How might I apply? -How soon? -What's the commitment? -What are my chances? (what are they looking for?) I'm finishing polishing my caspa narrative, and submitting this Friday. Any insight or advice is greatly appreciated! -Ken
  15. Hello all, I would like some feedback from Athletic Trainers that are in PA school or are currently PAs. I have been a certified athletic trainer for the last 6 six working in the professional sports setting but recently I have been intrigued by the PA profession for various reasons. Any information would be helpful.. thanks!
  16. I have been reading some of the previous posts and I am finding almost no reason to choose government loans to help finance my education. New laws (Budget Control Act of 2011) will go into effect on all federal direct loans dispersed after July 1, 2012. Namely this means 1. Graduate students can no longer take out subsidized loans – meaning interest accrues on the loan while you are in school. 2. The upfront interest rebate on federal loans will be eliminated. This means an origination fee of 1% will be deducted from the amount you can receive for Direct Unsubsidized loans and a 4% origination fee (!!!!) from PLUS loans. That’s ridiculous! You will have to pay back money that you never received! There is no grace period with PLUS loans, you can request deferment, but interest is accruing during that time. Also, there is a lot of misinformation in some of these posts. The NHSC Loan Repayment program will indeed repay private loans as long as they are education loans. I know the government offers loan forgiveness, but that is after 10 years repayment (120 payments). I won’t need it then. Many private lenders offer competitive fixed rates and 0% origination fee with longer grace periods. I’m really trying to find the downside. Can anyone give substantive reasons to go with federal loans vs private????
  17. The COA at my school is $135k. My financial aid package includes both subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans, but together those only cover $20k, so I need to cover another $115k. My school's package covered the rest with a Federal Grad Plus loan... which, frankly, seems like a pretty lousy loan as far as fees and interest rates go: Federal Grad Plus: fixed 7.9%, 4% fees. Best private loans, fixed: 3.4%, NO fees. Best private loan, variable: 1M LIBOR + 2% (currently that equals 2.25%), NO fees. The private loans I've found seem to offer comparable perks to the Fed Grad Plus: deferment, grace periods, no prepayment penalties, etc. Am I missing something, here? My wife and I both have excellent credit, so does the Grad + loan offer us ANY advantages? I've gotten a vibe of, "Private loans are risky and for desperate people, you're taking your financial future into your own hands if you do them." But based on my research, they seem like the far better option... ??? Do loan repayment programs work for private loans in the same way they do for federal loans?
  18. Hi everyone: I'm a second semester student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. This is my second time around in grad school, so I'm familiar w/ financial aid at the grad level, but PA school is its own beast since we are in school 3 semesters a year and cannot work. Currently, our school (like all schools) creates a yearly budget for tuition, fees, books/supplies, health insurance, and living costs. Everyone gets the $20,500 of subsidized/unsubsidized and the rest is made up in GRAD PLUS loans (the total is just over $33K/year). The problem is, the amount they have for our "budget" is not enough for those of us paying for everything (not getting money from our parents or something; I have like $100/month for groceries till next semester; and I like vegetables and fruits too much). I have talked to our faculty and our Financial Aid Department, but they haven't budged on this number. This is very annoying to our class, many of whom are contemplating getting jobs (impossible and actually prohibited) or taking out private loans (terrible idea) or are living off credit cards. The person in Financial Aid compares us to undergraduates, specifically "accelerated nursing program." She even seemed to suggest I get a job, to which I of course replied that our program prohibited it and that being in a classroom 40 hours a week and studying several hours a day on top of that does not leave much time for working anyway. I have done all the research and the medical students at our school have a living budget that is over $8,000 more a year than us (and summers off of course!). My question: 1) Have any of you run into a similar problem with your school, where they don't seem to understand that PA students are different than undergrads or perhaps even other grad students when making a budget? 2) Why does it benefit my school to act as a gatekeeper to loan money that the federal government allows me to borrow, and that I will have to pay back? Am I missing something in their calculus? Does this benefit them in some way that I'm missing? 3) If you are at a PA school with a Med school do you get similar money to live off of (beyond tuition and all that) as them? (Are your "budgets" beyond tuition and fees similar) 4) If you have a budget from your program that you can share with me, please PM me. I am hoping our Department will go to bat for us (they generally do), but I'm a little frustrated with the reception by our University thus far.
  19. Hi, I realize when I finish PA school I will be over 90k in debt to student loans. My question(s) for those of you in my boat are: 1) What factors did you take into consideration before taking out the loans & how much was it and/or how did it fraction out? (i.e. __ per month for tuition, ___ per month housing, __/week transportation, __/month groceries, etc) and how did you estimate the costs? are there any good online calculators? 2) who did you speak to, to try and figure out your finances (if anyone)? 3) if you are currently practicing as a PA, are you able to handle the debt? able to buy a house, etc? Also, does school debt look bad on a credit report when or if you do attempt to buy a house during the process of PA school or afterwards? Basically, I want the any dirty details before I make a huge financial commitment. I want to establish a budget now and stick to it before I enter school, and I want to know how much to allot myself.
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