Private Loans

I’ve been looking around, and no one on this site seems to be worried about private loans. I think I’d have to get some for living expenses and the thought absolutely terrifies me. Does no one else feel this way? If anyone did feel this way, was there a way you got around it?

It’s not a concern for me because now there is the GradPLUS loan through the Department of Education. If I reach my maximum limit with the Stafford loans I can use GradPLUS to cover the difference (up to the cost of attendance which is tuition + living expenses). The interest rate is kind of on the high side at 7.9% but I know that the lender is going to be more willing to work with me about repayment than if I go through a private bank or something like SallieMae. Here’s some info about the GradPLUS loan from their site:


I’m doing what corew mentioned - Stafford +GradPlus. Also, although schools have a formula for cost of attendance, there are certain unanticipated events (such as uncovered medical expenses beyond what they budgeted) that can cause the school to recalculate your personal cost of attendance and qualify you for an increase in the loans. Haven’t had to resort to it yet but that’s also a possibility.


I’m confused - how are you able to get GradPlus? I thought you had to be a graduate student to apply for that. Is it applicable for post-bac students as well?

Oh…for post bacc. Well that changes things. Private loans terrify me too. Yes, you’re right for postbacc there is only the Stafford loans. You might be able to qualify for Perkins but that is rare. Are you planning to do a formal post bacc program or DIY? If you do DIY you can piecemeal your course work between community college and 4 year school. If you’re considering a formal program I would encourage you to contact them to see how their students secure funding. Some programs may allow work study. I know you’ve got a family and small children. Would it be possible to maybe save some money for classes over the next year or so and then start taking classes?

For postbacc we have some money saved. Even if it meant taking out loans I’m not scared…“I ain’t never scared!” LOL

There is plenty of money in medicine as long as you are flexible in where you live. Don’t do it for the money but the money is there.

I was planning on DIY-ing it. It’s a little tricky around here b/c the schools in the area (including a university that HAS A MEDICAL SCHOOL!) are very weird about their scheduling of pre-med classes. There’s almost nothing at night, and some classes aren’t offered every semester, or are only offered at one time, so if you miss out, it can set you back a long time.

Money certainly isn’t the reason to become a doctor, but I freely admit that, were it not for the money, it wouldn’t be worth all the years spent taking out loans, particularly when you have kids to think about. Unfortunately, my husband and I aren’t in a position to save money right now (he lost his relatively well-paying job and the one has now doesn’t pay nearly as much). Part of the reason I need a private loan is to pay for daycare OR to pay for him to work part-time instead and not put the kids in daycare (which, amazingly, may be cheaper!). Croooz once told me “a dream deferred is not a dream denied” and I have been holding onto that. It would be nice, though, if it didn’t keep getting deferred.

Hang in there. Keep moving forward. If you can’t take classes “officially” then take as self-study. Learn the material thoroughly so when things open up you can take the class for credit and fly through it. It could probably also help so much that you would be able to take two classes at a time once circumstances change.

Self-study: think Brightstorm ($30/month) or Khan Academy. Heck YouTube and a some used textbooks and you’ll be golden.

Be that weirdo who’s learning Physics for the heck of it and Chemistry and Organic…forget the formulas and work smart at learning all of this qualitatively (conceptually). Teach your littles ones and believe me if you’re able to do that once classes start you may tutoring your fellow classmates (for money) versus struggling to understand which rate law to use…

That’s funny that you should recommend learning all that stuff before I actually take the classes. I was just thinking that and bought myself The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Physics. It never hurts to learn!

I spoke to a med school finance advisor a couple months ago, getting an answer for somebody else on the forums here, and he specifically mentioned how private loans are an absolutely last resort.

I’ll have him on the podcast soon!