Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to Pay for This

I've been thinking a lot about the debt I've accumulated while in nursing/midwifery. (What's new?) As I finished my last financial aid documents for this 3 year stretch of school I felt incredibly tense. As I looked at the totals, an instant prayer for loan repayment formulated in my head. I will probably chant this prayer for the next two years as I attempt to secure it. I have always reminded myself that loan repayment is a very viable option for me because working in the types of communities that they offer the repayment for has always been my goal. But as I look more closely at these programs - the timing of the applications, their rate of award vs the number of applicants, and just how long it's going to actually take to repay these loans - I am, again, tense. I keep trying to put the possible ways this can pan out onto paper (this is how my mind works) and there are indeed many ways to make it all work, but nonetheless, the debt load is mind boggling. The reason why I am focusing myself to have some semblance of a plan now is because the first payment on half of my loans become due in June 2009 - the month following graduation! For others who may not have thought about it (but should) or those who have thought about it and happened to find themselves stressed and teary-eyed over how it's going to work, here's the best scenario I have so far:

May: Graduate...with June and July's loan payment in the bank.

June: Take the midwifery certification exam and start looking for a job

July: Secure a midwifery job...if not secure a temp placement in order to continue with loan payments

December: loan payments increase due to the 6 month grace period on federal loans ending

February: Apply for the NELRP and NHSC loan repayment programs

Even if I am awarded loan repayment under one of these programs, I will have to make payments for at least one year before the payments are taken over. Therefore it may be a good idea to use the "graduated" method of paying back one's loans so that I pay as little as possible during that year. So far, I am settled on working for 3 years straight (I pay my own loans the first year, someone else pays them the next 2) and taking a few classes a year toward a doctoral degree during this time. After three years of this, I should be able to move into a full time doctoral program with only one more year of classes remaining + dissertation. All loans would be deferred while I am in school full time. Then I would apply for research-based loan repayment through the NIH (or a faculty loan repayment program) for the remaining loan balances. The only thing I don't like about this plan is that taking a few classes here and there means that I have to pay for them myself. Not what I envisioned! Also, some of the schools I'm interested in don't have a distance option for their PhD program, and schools are picky about transferring in credits at this level.

I could also work for one year, then enter a doctoral program full time (thereby going into loan deferrment for 4-5 years) and then apply directly to the aforementioned research and faculty loan repayment programs... which was what I initially intended to do before I started waking up in night sweats about my loan totals. LMAO

Just a couple of the many ideas I have about "how to pay for this."

Today I start reviewing notes in preparation for the start of class next week... wish me luck.


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