Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chef Dreams Halted Due to Student Loans

Wow, this article from the New York Times today really put things in perspective for me a little. Apparently students are entering culinary school and are unable to pay off their debts after graduation. Many of them are defaulting. The article mentions how one student was urged by their school to take out private loans in addition to the federal ones and now is working as a cook earning $20k a year.

I hate to think of anyone having an experience like that, especially if it discourages others from pursuing their dreams. I think that private loans are really dangerous (as you can tell from my expeience). Luckily I only took out two of them during my 7 years of school. The rest of the money owed after federal loans were exhausted was paid by my parents and a generous fellowship I received in graduate school. Most of my friends in graduate school took out private loans for all three years.

I also think that while my degree (and the professional licensing that came with it) was neccessary to pursue my dream, perhaps culinary school isn't as much. Now I don't know much about the industry, but I do know that there is a very good community college with a culinary program near where I live. It seems to me too many schools are urging students to pay amounts that exceed the federal student loans as part of a racket. There has been investigations going on in New York about schools receiving kick backs from lenders.

I guess I should consider myself lucky to have a marketable degree with earning power (even though it's not earning me quite enough right now) and a job in my preferred field. Me lucky, how about that!


Anonymous said...

hey you!
Thanks for the comment! I will be adding you my link love as well. How did you end up with $167K loan? It is insane..

Sallie's Niece said...

A little under $50k from private liberal arts college (wouldn't trade the experience for the world though) and then over $100k to get my professional degree. It is kinda insane I realize but here I am!

Anonymous said...

What do you do? How much do you make currently? We, pf bloggers, are very straight point when it comes to that stuff :) There is no taboo here! BTW, just you know when I first started blogging I had payday loans and maxed out my overdraft. Now after 5 months none of these exist, in fact I paid off around $5000 towards my CC debt. I hope this encourages you!

Sallie's Niece said...

Well I wasn't sure how much I was going to share on here, but okay, I am a lawyer, but every time I mention that to someone they lose all their sympathy for me and think I'm going to make a million dollars one day. I work in politics (followed my dream, etc.) and make a little over $43k a year. I am currently trying to get a better job but not with a traditional law firm. And yes, it does encourage me to hear about your progress, thanks!

Jim ~ said...

I take the safe road and say don't divulge anything you don't feel comfortable with. We hid the student loan debt for the longest time, now it's in the open. At first I assumed you were a doctor or something, maybe in psychology. Professional degree was really generic, and now that we know specifics like lawyer and politics (probably two areas that makes blood boil) it puts some definition around it. My stand is that it's not what you make, it's what you do with it. A one income family earning 50k a year could be doing better financially than a doctor making 200k a year. It all comes down to lifestyle and focusing on our goals. Getting out of debt early unlocks your greatest wealth building tool you have, your income. When you're paying attention to what you're doing with money, it puts you on the path. Stupid is not illegal, it's expensive!

Sallie's Niece said...

Thank you Jim, I really appreciate that. I think sometimes people assume I'm rich because of my degree and how I dress or act but that is not the case. And I think even if I were I'd still want to get a handle on my finances a little better than I was before. Thank you for your encouragement!