I am in process of figuring out the best way to go about paying off my student loans--which is A LOT from both undergrad and PA school. I run into the fork in the road of (A) committing to 10 years working for not for companies to receive the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or (B) consolidating my loan outside of the federal government for a much lower overall interest rate and make payments over a longer period of time.
Is there anyone here who has entered into the Public Service Loan Forgiveness option? And if you have, what are the pros, cons, challenges or limitations to this? I would really like your feedback.
If anyone has any other loan repayment advice, I'd appreciate that as well!
I have been considering the military after I graduate PA school because I have a significant amount of debt and I think it would be a great experience. Can someone explain the process of joining the National Guard as a PA with no previous military experience? Also, what is the commitment and role of a PA in the guard? Are there significant benefits for loan repayment? I would rather hear this first from someone who has been in this situation rather than a recruiter.
I am currently finishing up my didactic portion of PA school and considering the amount of loan debt I will have, I am considering enlisting into the airforce or navy after completing PA school in 12/2020. I was previously an Occupational Therapist though I am not sure if that will matter regarding pay etc. If anyone has advice regarding this process and details on loan repayment, I would greatly appreciate it.
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?
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!