Funding the Transition?

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coreycwgriffin
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Funding the Transition?

Postby coreycwgriffin » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:46 pm

I don't believe I've seen a thread about this sort of thing, but I will admit I didn't intently search the forums for anything like it. Regardless, I feel like a more up-to-date discussion may be relevant to more than just me. Forgive the length of this post in advance.

Anyway, I don't know about most of you, but I am literally losing sleep over something OTHER than getting my acceptance letters. I'm confident that I will be accepted to at least one school with good funding, so that's just a waiting game.

What I am concerned about is funding the transition from undergraduate to graduate school. As an undergraduate, everything has been taken care of for me. That's not to say that I've had help from a savings fund or parental intervention (apart from loan cosigning...and I have quite a bit in loans :/). I literally have spent my 3.5+ years of undergraduate school working at part time jobs just to make it by (although luckily, these jobs have been often physics related). But thanks to those college loans I've always had a dorm room to live in and a meal plan to eat from. Unfortunately, however, I have also ran up a little bit of credit card debt, totaling about $2500 (made up of necessary one-time purchases like a new car starter and textbooks).

So I'm going into graduate school (acceptances pending) with thousands of dollars of student loan debt (that can be deferred due to continuing student status), a couple thousand in credit debt, and no savings. My credit score, last I checked, is about 695, if that matters to anyone.

I'm wondering what my options are at this point. I mean, I feel like going to graduate school is going to require a nice chunk of money all at once, to cover moving (that is, gas money to drive my packed minivan to wherever I end up going, maybe hotel stays en route), temporary housing while apartment searching, and then deposit and initial rent/utilities payments, buying (minimal) furniture and things as simple and stupid as a dish set and a plunger and toilet paper and other things that I don't have/won't be bringing with me.

My thoughts right now have been tending toward paying down my credit card balances by literally using my entire part-time pay checks this semester (~$250 every other week). Then this summer I'd like to see if a bank would be willing to give me a personal loan or line of credit (I'm thinking $5-7k) that I can use to pay off my credit cards, as well as have extra cash to get started at my future grad school home. Ideally it would be a loan with no pre-payment penalties, so I can just pay back whatever I don't need up front once the TA/RA/Fellowship money starts coming in, and not have to worry about having too much more debt.

Anyway, does this sound reasonable? Sorry for rambling, but this is a topic that, as I said, I worry about every night, which is wreaking havoc on my QM studying. I'd prefer advice from people who have gone through something similar before, but I'll be willing to read any comments. Also, use this space to talk about your own "transition finance" worries as well.

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twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Funding the Transition?

Postby twistor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:54 pm

Since I didn't actually read your entire message I'm not sure exactly what your problem is, but I won't let that stop me from voicing my opinion.

I recommend getting a summer job to try to finance the expense. Going to graduate school basically means going into some debt but it's good debt because you will get a good ROI when you graduate. Transition and moving expenses can be significant but I think most people find a way to manage.

Anyway, you really don't have a choice, do you?

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Helio
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Funding the Transition?

Postby Helio » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:00 am

I am actually doing the parents-pay-back route because I can't get loans in the US and it is simple to expensive at home. As with college i will basically finance my parents retirement (pay back time is a bitch). I dunno about in your case and where you will move to. I am calculating roughly 1500 for the move at the moment plus 500 for initially expenses (application fees for rent, etc.) I am really guessing I am going to max out my credit card (i have a 500 dollar limit because of immigration status) and then somehow get my parents to supply some cash (please no more stock market volatility). Else I guess my savings have to suffer a hit

hpharty
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:36 am

Re: Funding the Transition?

Postby hpharty » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:09 am

As a guy who has moved 7+ times in the past 5 or 6 years, let me give some comments.

coreycwgriffin wrote:Unfortunately, however, I have also ran up a little bit of credit card debt, totaling about $2500 (made up of necessary one-time purchases like a new car starter and textbooks).


That is unfortunate. However, even on my meager pay here I've been able to save up a good bit of money while in school so far. Basically, I don't have enough free time to go out and spend a bunch of cash, so everything that doesn't go directly to rent/food/occasionally beer, goes straight to the bank. I'm confident you could pay that off in about a semester.

I mean, I feel like going to graduate school is going to require a nice chunk of money all at once, to cover moving (that is, gas money to drive my packed minivan to wherever I end up going, maybe hotel stays en route)


I'm not clear on why someone with a van ever needs a hotel. Take a cue from traveling bands and stop in a Walmart parking lot for the night. (Note that I said Walmart for a reason, they have a policy of not kicking you out.)

temporary housing while apartment searching


Take care of that before you lose your current apartment. Otherwise, check out some couch surfing networks. There is always a free place to sleep somewhere.

buying (minimal) furniture and things as simple and stupid as a dish set and a plunger and toilet paper and other things that I don't have/won't be bringing with me.


Don't underestimate Goodwill/Salvation Army/newspaper classifieds and taking furniture from your family members' basements.

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zxcv
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Funding the Transition?

Postby zxcv » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:16 am

1) You may very well be able to get a summer RA before you start. Ask about the possibility before you accept any offers.
2) If you get a fellowship, even just a small bonus for the first year, it will likely come in one lump sum payment. Unfortunately you'll still probably have to wait until the semester starts for that.

evilclaw2321
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Funding the Transition?

Postby evilclaw2321 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:18 am

I think its definitely something to think about. I also have lots of loans and some cc debt. I've worked my way through school paying everything on my own, very little help from my parents. But some of the previous options listed dont work for me. By the time I leave for grad school I'll have just gotten married, we have pets, and an already overcrowded house of furniture. So my situation is a little different.
But I still think it'll be hard to find a place to live and pay the deposit and first months rent, pay for moving, etc. I'm kind of glad I graduated at the end of fall semester. I have until august or so to work and save up as much money as humanly possible. I'm already working between 4-5 various jobs. My fiance works too so that helps, but also doubles the expenses.
I would say save up as much as you can and try and pay down any CC balances, but saving is more important i think.




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