So, I got the standard Financial Aid email today with the cost of living budget for the upcoming year, and now there is a whole new dilemma to deal with. The "budget" for clinical science was just slashed from $15,900 a semester to $12,562 (a loss of $3338 borrowing ability). Since the timing of my clinicals has already been less than ideal, this may hurt me more than most but I thought I would share what I think I may have to deal with. I do have expenses that are probably a little higher than most students but not as high as some who are trying to support an entire family on student loans. My time in clinicals, at the current time will be 5.5 semesters (6 borrowing semesters), therefore this is a "'loss" of over $19,000 that I was planning on borrowing to use for residency interviews, relocation expenses, and all the other "unforeseen events" that will pop up in the next two years. What's worse is that the alternative is a "private loan" for residency which will be at market rate, with no deferment options, and I will finish off-cycle and have 9 months of "unemployment" between finishing clinicals and starting residency. So, where does the money come from to pay back these private loans? And before you suggest "get a job", how do you explain to a new employer that you need to take off 2 days a week for 12 weeks for residency interviews? I have been ahead of the curve for a while because I have been working on the big picture since starting school but I didn't see this one coming. The one theme that I have heard from classmates is that money frequently limited the number of programs they could apply to, and then actually interview at. So, what good is a degree that cost 350K+ if you only have 1-2K for applications and interviews? I find it hard to believe that even the BEST students have a budget that small. I think most people "skim" money each semester and put it aside but the ability to skim was just wiped out for me and possibly many other students who haven't read the email and haven't been saving extra. The extra I have now will be chewed up by the time the next application cycle starts in 2013.
Suggestions, comments? And a big "thank you" to everyone who filled out those surveys with penny-pinching in mind.