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Entering grad school with credit card debt

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:49 am
by i_like_mango
Hi all. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem and would really appreciate some tips/suggestions on what to do. I posted a similar thread over at ( ... card-debt/), but figured I'd post here as well.

Now that the applications/admissions stuff is pretty much over, I've been dealing with another problem. Basically, I want to attend an awesome PhD program for fall 2015 in the US that is providing tuition waiver and full TA/RA stipend. The thing is, it's been a few years since finishing undergrad and life events have caused me to accumulate about $10k in credit card debt with some not so nice interest rates. I was hoping that I'd be able to fill out a FAFSA and take out some nice subsidized loans to cover everything, but I just realized that subsidized loans are now only available to undergraduate students. Federal unsubsidized loans are available, but they have current interest rate of 6.21%. This rate is definitely better than what I've currently got going on, but it does mean that over the (hopefully only) 6 years I'll be accumulating more than $4k in interest to take out a $10k loan. Is it worth it?

I mean, I'm going to be as frugle as I can in the next few months, but most of what I save up until the start of grad school will probably go towards moving costs and housing security deposit + costs. One option that I'm coming with is to defer attendance for a year. This will give me enough time to pay off the debts and build some savings (I'm thinking at least an emergency fund) for my time in grad school. Another part of me thinks that the cost is totally worth it. I won't be six figures in debt like some other folks and afterall, a dream deferred is a dream denied.

What do you guys think?