Food Business Management


Over $134,000 in student loans. Did I make a mistake? Where do I even start?

Hello, I am a senior in college. I will be graduating this December with a Bachelors degree in Food Business Management. I have my Associates in Culinary Arts. I just looked over all my loans and realized I might be in over my head. My parents took out the Direct Plus loans for my associates degree then cosigned for the rest. Where do I even start? Should I consolidate anything? I was planning on staying in the state I am in but honestly moving home might be better for a bit but I feel like that is taking a step back. I defiantly do not come from money and even my parents are having a hard time financially but have a plan in place to get back on track by the next couple years. I really only have to worry about groceries, rent, and small things if living on own. I have a job now where I make around $200-$300 a weekend. I plan to work the other 5 days a week somewhere else after graduation and get a cheap room for rent in New York. Ideally hope to make around 2 thousands a month but I dont know if I can pull that off with rent and stuff then student loan payments which I imagine will be over a thousand a month in repayments. Like I don’t regret anything I have done so far as life has been great and going well but this kind of makes me wish I went a different route.


Direct PLUS Loan for Parents – $26,776 @ 7.2%

Direct PLUS Loan for Parents – 32,443 @ 6.8%

SallieMae – $11,427.40 @ 10%

SallieMae – $24,218.52 @ 10.125%

SallieMae – $8,710.00 @ 10%

Direct Subsidized Loan – $3,500 @ 4.7%

Direct Subsidized Loan – $2,249 @ 4.7%

Direct Subsidized Loan – $4,500 @ 4.3%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan – $2,138 @ 4.3%

Direct Subsidized Loan – $4,500 @ 3.8%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan – $2,054 @ 3.8%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan – $5,134 @ 3.8%

Direct Subsidized Loan – $2,750 @ 3.8%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan – $1,008 @ 3.8%

Direct Unsubsidized Loan – $2,520 @ 3.8%

This quote was a post from the personal finance forum today – and the reason I honed in on it was partly because I’ve found it to not be an isolated incident. I can’t understand how this could even happen one time. The interest rates appear to be usury. I think I could get rates like this on an unsecured credit card. Certainly I could get a lower rate for a car. When I graduated I had about 10k in loans for a BS in computer science… thanks to mom/pop for this not being more like 30-40k. My rate was 2% from the ol’ sallie mae. Apparently it’s pretty common to see kids with rates over 7% now. What even is that? I can’t wrap my head around it, because since my time interest rates fell dramatically – even these direct loan rates cited above seem too high.

Most importantly, I can’t understand how some young people in the US (and their parents) haven’t gotten the memo that the mantra “go to college and pay whatever for any degree” isn’t what it used to be.

My response is: “Yes, you should have started working after getting an associates degree in culinary arts.” When I wanted to roast my own coffee I didn’t go out and get a loan for a 6,000$ roaster and start renting commercial space. I started roasting coffee in my oven to see what sold and what made sense first for the market and the margins I could expect. Maybe sometime in the future I’d have this much debt on the books of a new business but only because I had a good enough expectation that I’d be making enough money for that to make sense. It’s called a “business plan”.

The craziest part of that is I would get laughed out of the bank if I didn’t articulate such a convincing plan. I think college students are falling between the cracks between a single given loan and their academic plans – and a serious conflict of interest between a school getting paid and advising a student about whether 130K+ is really such a great price for our society to educate a cook.

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