I got lucky and was able to get my second seat deposit waived. I contacted the school and told them that I had no job and it would be difficult for me to come up with the funds needed for the second deposit. The mentioned that they had never waived deposits before (probably not true) and that they would talk to the dean and get back to me. I had already taken care of all my financial aid for the school and attended a new student picnic so they knew that I intended on attending their school. I was happy to get a phone call stating that they would waive my seat deposit and accept a brief letter explaining my financial situation in its place. I would recommend that anyone going to grad school at least try and get their deposit waived, but of course, only if they really can’t afford it. They actually asked me how I planned on paying for tuition if I could not even afford the seat deposit. I guess they forgot about the whole student loan thing. I doubt many people pay cash for grad school.
Friday, June 3, 2011
I you need furniture for an apartment for either graduate or undergraduate school I highly suggest you shop around. I used a co-signor for a local furniture store and was able to get 0% interest financing for 50 months. I spent 3k on stuff and it’s only going to cost me around 60 each month to pay it off. This is a way better deal than buying on a credit card or using cash up front. Financing all my furniture will allow me to keep more money in the bank incase I need it and $60 a month is about the same cost as a cell phone.
However, there are a few things to point out if you plan on financing your grad school furniture. The most important one being that you MUST pay everything off in the allocated 50 months, not doing so you will incur a very high interest rate. Plus the interest will be charged on the past 4 years that you were making payments. In order to avoid this I would suggest paying an extra $5 or $10 each month. This will insure that the debt is paid in full by the time the special financing runs out.
Posted by derekjay at 3:58 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Law school deposits are a real pain in the ass. You would think that the schools make enough money that they would not try and nickel and dime you to death, but they do. Most people, myself included, apply to a large number of laws schools, all of which accept or reject you at different times. This means that you will likely be accepted to second choice schools before you are accepted to your top picks. Well, many of these schools have decided to require seat deposits that vary from $150-500 which are due anywhere between Feb- July before you plan to attend. Start saving now if you plan on going to law school because you are going to waste a BUNCH of money on these damn deposits.
Lets say one of your safety schools accepts you and requires a $300 deposit by March 15, and they only accept checks or cash. This means you need to send in your money at least a week prior to the deadline. If you have not received an acceptance from a first choice school by then you don't have much of a choice but to send in the non-refundable deposit. A week after you send in your $300 deposit you get an acceptance letter from another second choice school, but this school is better than the last school you were accepted to. They require a $250 deposit by April 1st, so you send them another check. A week of two later you receive an acceptance from your 2nd choice school and are wait listed at your top choice. Now you send in the $300 deposit at your 2nd choice school and hope to be accepted at your first choice. A month goes by and now its time to send your 2nd and final $500 deposit to your 2nd choice school so you go ahead and send another check. You have spent $1350 on deposits so far and out of nowhere you receive a letter from your top school informing you of an acceptance, great right? It is good but now you have to send them a $500 deposit to hold your seat. This means you have spent $1850 on deposits for law school which is a decent chunk of money for an undergrad student with no job.
I can see how deposits are required in order to keep law schools full and to keep people from backing out, but why the hell don't they make them refundable? Seriously, if I send you the money and don't go to your school its not different if you return the money or not. Its just the schools being greedy and the fact that they know there is nothing us students can do about it makes it that much worse.
Posted by derekjay at 12:53 PM
Monday, May 23, 2011
After visiting countless apartments I was finally able to find one that seemed suitable, but as always there was a catch. The ignorant asshole owner/property manager decided that loan money specifically allocated for housing expenses was not a good enough for him and wants a cosigner for law and medical students. WTF, hey buddy I bet you have a TON of irresponsible law and medical students screwing you out of rent all the time, I’m sure law students don’t care about passing the character and fitness portion of the bar and dick over apartments just for kicks. Seriously, every other apartment complex in the worlds dream renter is a graduate student with proof of loan money allocated for rent, they know that they will pay the rent on time and most graduate students, specifically law and medical students, are going to be more responsible than the average tenant. It is just my luck that the one apartment I actually kind of like is managed by a huge d-bag.
Posted by derekjay at 11:42 AM
Monday, May 16, 2011
If you are 100% dead set on going to law the school I have a fed bits of advice that you may find helpful. If it is at all possible decide that you want to go to law school BEFORE starting your undergrad degree. I say this because law schools DO NOT care what your undergrad degree is for; they only care about your GPA. You can struggle to get B’s in aeronautical engineering or 4.0 your history major. Guess which one looks better to law schools? If you guessed the history major you are correct. If you plan on going to law school go to the VERY best undergrad school that will accept you and take the easiest major possible.
A high GPA is crucial if you plan on getting into a top law school. The only thing that that is as important as a high GPA is your LSAT score. The LSAT is a real huge pain in the ass but it is learnable. I will talk more about the LSAT at a later date. Law school is going to be stressful enough so you might as well heed my advice and take the easiest undergrad degree possible. Have fun and get A’s in undergrad because once you get to law school it will be a whole new ballgame, or so I’ve been told.
Posted by derekjay at 1:34 PM
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I'm seriously considering selling my car and buying a motor home to live in. I mean I could just park in the school parking lot on class days and wake up 5 mins before class and still be there on time. The more I think about it the motor home idea is looking better and better. Grad schools should start making campgrounds for students to live in. Who wouldn't want to live in at nice wooded campground in a RV for a few years? Three years in an apartment at a reasonably cost of $800 is almost 30k after three years of rent, I should be able to find a decent used RV for that amount. I'm off to troll ebay for RV prices, which comedically is the best remedy for my housing situation.
Posted by derekjay at 1:00 PM
Monday, May 9, 2011
The Truth About Grad Plus Loans
Like many people applying for a Grad Plus loan I have less than perfect credit, in fact my credit is down right bad. However, I was able to get approved for a Grad Plus loan without a cosigner, I will explain how the process works. Hopefully the information I provide will alleviate some of your Grad Plus induced Stress. Much of the info I will include was quite difficult to obtain, which I why I have decided to make this guide. This guide will benefit those with less than perfect credit more then those with good credit but it will serve as a guide for all those who are applying.
Give yourself PLENTY of time! I recommend starting this process during the early Fall, the year before you intend to go to law school. (If you plan to start school in the fall of 2012 start working on this in the fall of 2011) The early you begin the better off you will be.
Some basic Info about Grad plus loans
They are not credit based in the sense that most loans are. Debt to income ratio and credit scores mean nothing for this loan.
The .gov uses Equifax, this is the reporting agency to focus on
If you have bad credit you will likely be denied, but an appeal is available.
Step 1) Obtain a copy of your credit report from https://www.annualcreditreport.com/ Dispute EVERTHING negative on your report. For collection accounts that I disputed I wrote “ I have no contractual or legal obligation to this creditor” I’m not sure if the aforementioned is true, but it did get nearly all collection agency’s removed from my report.
Step 2) Complete your Grad Plus loan entrance counseling and fafsa at https://studentloans.gov/
Step 3) Complete your MPN (master promissory note)
Step 4) Apply for your Grad plus loan at http://www.studentloans.gov
I was denied and DID not use the appeal process from the studentloans.gov website. I instead contacted direct loans and asked told them I wanted to start an appeal and gave them my information. You will contact the COD (Common Origination and Disbursement system) Their phone number is 1.800.557.7394.
Here is what they look for when doing a credit check, contrary to popular belief the info you find online and even on their websites is NOT accurate.
(This is directly from a private, direct loans email)
“We can accept documentation that the account(s) is now current, paid-in-full, is less than 90 days past due, charged off, or turned over to collections. The documentation must be on the creditor’s letterhead and specifically reference the account number(s) and be dated. For accounts not paid-in-full, the letter needs to be dated recently. Proof that a payment agreement has been entered into must be accompanied by proof of first payment.
If it is a student loan account, proof of deferment or forbearance is acceptable as long as the student loan account has not gone to collections.
In the case of a mortgage account we can accept documentation showing the account has been rectified either through payment, loan modification, or short sale.”
They do not care about collection accounts or anything as long as you are making payments. If you have a bunch of unpaid debt and you can’t find a cosigner all you need to do is contact the collection agency or creditor and set up a payment plan. Make sure you get this plan in writing and get receipts for anything you pay. Even if you are paying $10 per month on 25k, it doesn’t matter; they just want to see some kind of payment arrangement in place. It does not appear that they care about charge-offs, these are very negative credit report items but since these are closed accounts they don't matter, at least this was the case for me.
There you have it, if you follow this advice you WILL get approved for a grad plus loan. If I was able to get approved than nearly anyone can get approved.
Posted by derekjay at 11:36 AM