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For those who paid for PA school out of pocket..how'd you do it?


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I took an extra year off before applying and saved up money weekly in advance. I planned a budget that I kept to for a year to allow me to make weekly deposits into an external savings account with interest. I only worked as a CNA and my husband is a tech for a company. We saved up about 20k over this time and lived off like 30k/year with no babies in AZ. Anyway, I'm still taking out about 100k in student loans, but it would be closer to 130k had I not considered the future. My school allows a max of 198k for the program including COL, tuition, and fees, so I feel more comfortable knowing I won't be taking out max due to savings. I'm also planning to pay interest while I'm in school to keep my principal down and not let it grow after deferment. 

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I took out student loans, but only because I expected to get loan repayment from my job.  My wife continued working which paid for our monthly bills and allowed us to continue to fund our Roth IRAs.  After finishing school, my job offered loan repayment of $10k per year until loans are paid off, which is far beyond minimum payments.  I'll be paid off in just under 5 years.

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I start PA school this coming May, and will be paying for the entire program (around 90k) out of pocket (from my own savings, no help from parents or anything). I'm 27 and I took 5 years off after undergrad to work like crazy and save every penny that I could. I know a lot of people are in a rush to get through PA school as quickly as possible, but I honestly am so glad that I waited those 5 years before I applied. Aside from the financial aspect of being able to put aside the money for school, I also feel like I'm going in with so much more life experience and perspective. (Not to mention, after undergrad it was nice to have a break from school and a glimpse of the "real world" for a while! haha)

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Personal history very similar to UGoLong.  Started PA school @ 53.  Had savings from working many extra hours for multiple years - pretty much drew all of that down.  Took 72T distributions from 1 IRA account and drew down a taxable retirement account.  Worked 1 24 hour shift/month at the FD.  Lived very cheap: it was cheaper to rent a 1 bedroom apt during my academic year than commute to the school.  Paid all tuition via credit card to get the 1% cash back - paid off the credit card monthly using the funds from above.  Now working about 1.3x full time (1 FT & 1 PT ED job) to protect against the likelihood of staffing reduction at both my jobs.  (lots of new ED's including free standings opening in my area leading to census reductions leading to employers cutting hours).

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