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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!

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I pay about $1600/ month for all my various loans from undergrad through PA school. Work with Sallie Mae on the right repayment schedule for your situation. Even with my stupid-high levels of debt, I keep one of my two paychecks a month, and I don't work anywhere close to full-time.

 

Get on a schedule with lower monthly payments, and send a bit extra just because you can. That's what I'm doing with my private loan, which doesn't have as much flexibility.

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The military is always looking for PAs. Guard units were paying $75k for a 3 year commitment and $20k a year for the next three. That's $135k (pre-taxes) for 6 years of drilling.

 

There is also loan forgiveness for public service. If you work at the VA or a non-profit, you can get whatever remainder of loans your have after 120 payments forgiven. If you consolidate your loans for as low a monthly payment as possible, you can get more forgiven.

 

Those are just a couple ideas.

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The military is always looking for PAs. Guard units were paying $75k for a 3 year commitment and $20k a year for the next three. That's $135k (pre-taxes) for 6 years of drilling.

 

There is also loan forgiveness for public service. If you work at the VA or a non-profit, you can get whatever remainder of loans your have after 120 payments forgiven. If you consolidate your loans for as low a monthly payment as possible, you can get more forgiven.

 

Those are just a couple ideas.

 

Thank you.. super helpful! I actually live right next to a marine base... I am looking at becoming a civilian PA at the naval hospital, but they won't take me until I have 12 months of experience (I'm on month 10 right now). Not even sure if they offer loan repayment for a civilian, though. I am always back and forth about joining the military, but I always back out for fear of deployment :/

 

I will definitely look into the VA and non-profits. Right now I am paying back the lowest amount possible via income-based. Thank you for your ideas!

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I pay about $1600/ month for all my various loans from undergrad through PA school. Work with Sallie Mae on the right repayment schedule for your situation. Even with my stupid-high levels of debt, I keep one of my two paychecks a month, and I don't work anywhere close to full-time.

 

Get on a schedule with lower monthly payments, and send a bit extra just because you can. That's what I'm doing with my private loan, which doesn't have as much flexibility.

 

Wow... Are you on income-based repayment with Sallie Mae? I am. But I also have loans with AES and Wells Fargo, which really didnt offer me any kind of adjustments. I guess it all just adds up between the different lenders.

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This is my plan, currently a 2nd year student:

1. Apply for loan repayment programs and/or jobs that do individual (through the job) loan repayment.

2. Consider getting your own insurance through obamacare and negotiate for a high salary based on not getting benefits.

3. Get a three 12 hr shift a week gig.

4. Get a 2nd per diem job (pays more since per diem, urgent care clinics seem to be hot right now).

5. Live below means and pay loans off ASAP.

6. Live it up debt free.

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This is my plan, currently a 2nd year student:

1. Apply for loan repayment programs and/or jobs that do individual (through the job) loan repayment.

2. Consider getting your own insurance through obamacare and negotiate for a high salary based on not getting benefits.

3. Get a three 12 hr shift a week gig.

4. Get a 2nd per diem job (pays more since per diem, urgent care clinics seem to be hot right now).

5. Live below means and pay loans off ASAP.

6. Live it up debt free.

That was my plan too. Minus Obama care... Not working out too well for me!

 

 

Let food be thy medicine

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Winterallsummer, your plan is admirable, but I would agree that it may be difficult for everything to come together. For National Loan repayment (NHSC), it is only for primary care where three 12 hour shifts a week are less likely. The repayment is also competitive. I work at a clinic with a high HPSA score of 16, and only 1 of the 3 applicants got the loan repayment. Two of the applicants have been there two years and applied and got denied each year. Sometimes, I am not entirely sure the about the criteria they use, or if it is just luck involved. Also, the NHSC locations are mostly out in rural areas and getting per diem jobs  can be tricky. I couldn't do some locations due to my noncompete clause.

 

A private place that offers loan repayment (Mayo, VA, prison systems) would be more guaranteed and might offer more flexibility with hours, etc. 

 

Paying off the loans was my top priority as well, and I was lucky enough to get into NSHC. I moved to the middle of nowhere, 8 hours from friends and family. But my location was willing to hire a new grad, which I couldn't find many places in my desired location willing to do that. You've got to make whatever choices you need to deal with the debt. Everyone has different comfort levels with amount of debt...for me the daily interest of 20 bucks a day was overwhelming. 

 

Best of luck to everyone who is in the same debt situation.

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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! 

 

Can you call your lenders and negotiate a repayment/settlement that is beneficial to you both?  My wife (a preschool teacher) and I both graduate 3 years ago and are almost done paying back about $55k combine in student loans with Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of america, ....etc.  With all lenders we were able to negotiate our repayment (ex. Wells Fargo wanted a monthly payment of $450/ month and I told them I could only afford $150 - we settled on $175).  With Bank of America I owed $7k and they said if I make a one time payment of $4k they would forgive my loan balance. Luckily I had the $4k, mostly because I negotiated a low monthly payment with my other lenders.  It seemed pretty easy to negotiate with most lenders.  Call up each lender and see if they can work out a settlement with you or a more reasonable month payment till you get another job. 

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Good point mostrike1.  I have considered all of those things as I did apply for the NH scholarship in school, thinking I was quite competitive, and didn't get it.  So I am not relying too heavily on that.

 

Honestly sometimes I think it would be better to find a job that pays 90-100K in a busy, underserved center (even if it has no repayment programs associated with it) and pick up the per diem, as opposed to relying on getting a scholarship.

 

Another option that may be worth investigating is the native American reservations.  I know these have long shift options and do repayment plans. http://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/eligibility_criteria.cfm

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This was my plan s/p graduation and it worked great for me and I was debt free 1 year after graduation.  It was pretty simple.  During PA school I got my acutal cost of living (housing,food, utilities etc...) to around 20K/year I simply lived to the same budget I had in PA school 1 year after graduation, so everything I made above that went to pay off Student Loans.  Paid the higher interest loans off first.

 

So if your living expenses are lets say 20K and you made 90 (lets say 70 after uncle sams cut) that is 50K paid off the first year. And well we all know how fast a year goes by.  Now if you pick up contingent shifts or per diem and all that goes to the debt even more paid off.

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HopefulPA - that is a great idea!

 

peaceloveandPA - how much student loan debt are you actually looking at?  I'm starting PA school at a medical school in January, and my education (although in-state) is going to be higher than some private schools, which I'm clearly worried about. 

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HopefulPA - that is a great idea!

 

peaceloveandPA - how much student loan debt are you actually looking at? I'm starting PA school at a medical school in January, and my education (although in-state) is going to be higher than some private schools, which I'm clearly worried about.

About 300k... But that's my undergrad and PA school.

 

 

Let food be thy medicine

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peaceloveandpa:  I'm projecting mine will be ~$135,000 for living expenses, tuition, etc. for the Master's, $170,000 for all of my college combined.  I have a mortgage payment, two dogs that require vet care (and I flat refuse to get rid of my pets after all of this time together), and I am single.  So, I don't have a lot of wiggle room to cut many costs while in school.  I live very frugally as it is!

 

You do have a boatload of debt.  $300K is the about cost of the private DO program where I live.  Did you go to private schools for both your undergrad and graduate education?

 

My best friend is a radiology resident at a state university hospital.  She plans to stay there into her career, and she is signed up for the public sector employment loan forgiveness program - make 120 scheduled payments (income sensitive) on the loans, and after 10 years the balance of the loans are forgiven!  She has $300K in loans, and pays $900/month right now (this will go up once her residency ends, but by then she will have 60 on time payments out of the way, and only 60 more to go).  It may be worth a look into...

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  • 1 month later...

Income based repayment is not that good of a deal. Think about it. You pay your terribly discounted monthly minimum that doesn't even cover the monthly interest. The government only pays the remaining interest for 3 years. So the remaining 7 years the loan principle is growing from capitalized interest that you are not paying. At the end of 10 years the loan has grown to around $600k!!! Now they forgive that and you have to pay taxes on that money. You would have a nice fat tax bill for between $200k-300k. How is that even an option? You are in bad financial shape. IBR only buys you time from being screwed. I have no idea how the hell you got $300k in student loan debt. My wife is a veterinarian and doesn't even have that much!! Your only option is to move into your parents basement and work 80hrs/week and pay it down. In 5 years you could probably cut that down by half. Then you could live more comfortably. I wish you luck! I am freaking out because I will have around $150k in PA school debt +undergrad. I don't how you handle the stress man!

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Income based repayment is not that good of a deal. Think about it. You pay your terribly discounted monthly minimum that doesn't even cover the monthly interest. The government only pays the remaining interest for 3 years. So the remaining 7 years the loan principle is growing from capitalized interest that you are not paying. At the end of 10 years the loan has grown to around $600k!!! Now they forgive that and you have to pay taxes on that money. You would have a nice fat tax bill for between $200k-300k. How is that even an option? You are in bad financial shape. IBR only buys you time from being screwed. I have no idea how the hell you got $300k in student loan debt. My wife is a veterinarian and doesn't even have that much!! Your only option is to move into your parents basement and work 80hrs/week and pay it down. In 5 years you could probably cut that down by half. Then you could live more comfortably. I wish you luck! I am freaking out because I will have around $150k in PA school debt +undergrad. I don't how you handle the stress man!

WOW, dude. Thanks for ruining my life.... moving into my parents basement is not an option.

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Income based repayment is not that good of a deal. Think about it. You pay your terribly discounted monthly minimum that doesn't even cover the monthly interest. The government only pays the remaining interest for 3 years. So the remaining 7 years the loan principle is growing from capitalized interest that you are not paying. At the end of 10 years the loan has grown to around $600k!!! Now they forgive that and you have to pay taxes on that money. You would have a nice fat tax bill for between $200k-300k. How is that even an option? You are in bad financial shape. IBR only buys you time from being screwed. I have no idea how the hell you got $300k in student loan debt. My wife is a veterinarian and doesn't even have that much!! Your only option is to move into your parents basement and work 80hrs/week and pay it down. In 5 years you could probably cut that down by half. Then you could live more comfortably. I wish you luck! I am freaking out because I will have around $150k in PA school debt +undergrad. I don't how you handle the stress man!

 

I'm sorry but you are wrong. Unlike the 25-year forgiveness, the 10-year forgiveness is tax-free due to a 2008 IRS ruling. No matter how high the debt that is forgiven, there will be no taxes on it.

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