Private School or Reapply Next Year?

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Comments (5)

RLen63 in Oakland, California

18 months ago

Hi, I got accepted into an OT program at a private school (at least 80k in tuition). While I'm really happy that I got in, the tuition worries me. I did not apply to the state schools because I didn't have enough volunteer hours. I should have more than enough if I do decide to apply for 2014. SJSU's tuition is about 20k, more or less I think? I am 26 & would really like to start right away. I know every year, it gets more competitive. For the approx. 60k difference in tuition, do you think I should postpone OT school & reapply next year to try to get into SJSU? I can't defer my enrollment and of course, there's no guarantee I'll even get into SJSU. My stats are average. It's a big gamble. What do you guys think? I'd really appreciate your advice. Thanks.

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Hello in La Jolla, California

18 months ago

It depends on your personal financial situation and how you are planning on paying for the 80k tuition. (loans ?). Definitely, a state school is more financially sound, but like you said, it is more competitive due to the price.

My advice is to due a comprehensive financial planning. If you do attend the private school, what will be your monthly payments when you graduate. Where do you plan to work, are you living on-campus, do you have any other finance obligations to pay (house,car...), what is the monthly salary you project to be as an OT.

These are just some questions to consider. Good luck with your decision.

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OT123 in Los Angeles, California

18 months ago

Will you only need loans to cover tuition for either school? Or will you need to cover living expenses, bills, etc as well? An 80K loan isn't too bad (I follow the "don't take more loans than your expected first year salary" rule) considering you can receive a salary around 80K in certain settings in certain parts of the country. I start getting concerned as loans start approaching 6 figures.

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RLen63 in San Leandro, California

18 months ago

Thanks for the replies! :) Yes, unfortunately, that only covers tuition. I would have to borrow more for living expenses... or get a part-time job. According to the OT's I spoke with here in the Bay Area, starting salary is between $75-$85k depending on the setting. I'm not sure how accurate that is. With taxes taken out, I'm thinking my take-home pay will be around 60k? I am single - no mortgage, car is paid off, not a lot of bills (currently it's $400 worth of bills/month). I have been looking into repayment plans. With IBR, assuming I make $80k/year, my monthly will be around $800. I could choose to pay it off in 5 years, but it would eat up a huge chunk of my salary. Another option is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (will most likely qualify for this). Under the program, the balance of the loan will be forgiven after 120 payments (10 years).

It's unfortunate that in order to do something I love, I have to pay so much for it. Family & friends all tell me I should take this opportunity & go for it. I live within my means, so taking out such a huge loan makes me nervous.

Thanks so much for all your advice!

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buzzydb in Los Angeles, California

17 months ago

I'm in exactly the same predicament. I got into an expensive OT school on the east coast but with tuition, room and board, fees, etc. I'll be taking out more than $100K in loans. I'm still paying off my car ($1500 left! woo!) but don't have very much savings due to getting laid off several times the last couple years. OT seems like a great career and very stable, but it's such a hard decision whether or not to invest this much money.

Debating whether or not to just wait and try to get into SJSU as well. Let me know what you decide!

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