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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

SCHOOL: Borrowing for Graduate School
Letter #: 409682
Category: School

Original Letter

To whomever may be reading, this is the situation: I've recently graduated from my undergraduate program with about 50k looking over my head in debt (all from federal loans). I'm about to start graduate school and am getting nervous about how I am going to be able to pay my bills. I am in a situation where living with my parents is not an option (my mom passed a few years back and I do not have a relationship with my father), and I would still need to pay rent and utilities and things; however, I am currently a bartender. I looked into other jobs, however I was offered a research assistantship which is a wonderful opportunity but takes up three days out of the week. People keep telling me to borrow the full amount of my federal loans and live off of the rest but 'the rest' is only about 3k which will be hard to live off of from September until December. I suppose the advice I'm looking for is maybe a kind of job that would still take me with limited availability or perhaps if a private loan would be worth looking into or even just how people have done it in the past. How can I still take advantage of an amazing opportunity instead of giving it up but still be able to pay for my apartment and school?

Elder Response

Thank you for writing to Elder Wisdom Circle for some advice regarding your situation.

In my opinion, taking on more debt is a very bad idea. You mentioned that you want to take advantage of an "amazing opportunity" for grad school. I am at a loss to understand how it is an amazing opportunity to take on more debt at this critical time in your life. 

You don't mention what you majored in for your undergraduate degree. If your degree is in accounting or engineering, I can understand enhancing  your education. If your degree is in drama, sociology or any number of other liberal arts degrees, then getting another degree will just add more debt without really enhancing your ability to get a job to pay off all that debt. 

I would also advise you not to depend on marrying someone who will assume your debts. What you need is a solid plan for paying off the debt you have already incurred. My advice to you is to maintain the bartender job and pay down your debt. That means not just paying the interest. You need to start putting money toward the principle or you will never find your way out of this debt. 

I really think before you make another decision, you need to speak with a financial planner. We here at Elder Wisdom Circle are not allowed to give any financial advice, and clearly that is the advice you need at this time. A financial planner will be able to look at your current income, expenses and debt and advise you accordingly.  

I hope my advice is helpful and that you will contact Elder Wisdom Circle again if you need us. We are always here.

Best Regards,



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