I choose to go to Architecture School out of state because of their excellent design program. Architecture was something I always wanted to do, this was my dream. Unfortunately, I didn't have any financial assistance from my family, nor did I have any direction on receiving financial aid. I did meet with one of the University counselors upon enrollment that advised me to seek out private loans through Sallie Mae. They told me this was the ideal solution because there weren't alot of restrictions on the amount you could borrow. I only qualified for very minimal federal assistance. I was 18 and naive, so I took their advice. Little did I know that my 5 year degree program with 5 years of out-of-state tuition would accumulate to $90,000 in debt. I know people say that education is priceless, but it really is costing me a great deal.
The Aftermath: $600,000 in Interest
While I was in school I wasn't really concerned about the amount, they weren't sending me bills, and my tuition was getting paid. Immediately after graduation, the bills started rolling in. Apparantly with Sallie Mae's private loans, your interest accrues throughout your entire time in school. So on top of the actual amount borrowed, I got slapped with an additional $15,000 worth of accrued interest... ouch! Grand Total $90,000. On top of that, like any other loan, the interest keeps accumulating even as you pay, so the longer I drag this out, the worse it gets. If I keep making the minimum payments I will have payed almost $600,000 in interest... check out a compound interest calculator if you don't believe me. That's 10.5% over 20 years. I've done some research and there are no loan forgiveness programs for Architecture graduates. You'd think that an Architect would make great money and paying back the debt would be no problem. The reality is that I am only an Intern and fresh out of school making bottom dollar. On top of that, Architecture has the highest unemployment rate of any profession right now. I'm doing all I can to cut back my expenses so that I can pay a little extra each month.
Long Term Goal: Reduce payoff time by half.
Ultimately my goal is to start a family, have children, and be able to provide them with some assistance for their college education, as well as have some hope for retirement before I die. At this rate, I'll still be paying for my college by the time my children go to college. I just want to give my children a better chance than I had. Any help or advice that anybody could provide would be greatly appreciated. My goal is to get these loans payed off in 10 years instead of 20... even sooner if possible. My family is still not able to provide any assistance for the repayment of my debt, so at this point I am relying on the kindess of strangers such as yourself.
My immediate goal is to raise around $500 a month so that I can make extra payment towards the principal balance on my loan. That would definately put a dent in things. Really anything at all that you could provide would be a huge help! Thank you in advance for your generosity!