student loan debt for architecture school?


what kind of student loan debt have you managed to rack up after going to architecture school? im talking b.archs, m.archs I, II, and III's, post-pro, and PhDs.... ANYONE who has acquired debt for this profession... whats the number???

ill get it started...
70k B.Arch and about to start a PhD- yes, i am nuts (at least he PhD is funded though)

Mar 27, 07 8:33 am

i've got somewhere around $50K from my M.Arch... or at least that was about the number when i graduated 4 years ago... so now it's a little lower that i have left to pay... it's consolidated into payments that are about $300/month...

+i, where are you going to be doing your Ph.D.? i'm probably applying to programs next year... are you fully funded? and for how long?

Mar 27, 07 8:45 am

$9,000 for 5 year B-Arch degree.

Mar 27, 07 9:57 am



*(in my best napolean dynamite voice)

was it a private school or public?

Mar 27, 07 10:11 am

currently 0 for me after undergrad, trying to decide whether or not i wanna go into the red majorly for grad school.

Mar 27, 07 10:12 am

$15k for undergrad, plus another $20k to $25k for M.Arch (4 year program), which starts this coming fall. Canadian funds.

(School's about $5000/year here)

Mar 27, 07 10:22 am

Follow up to this: I ended up with $42K debt because about $10K was forgiven. Payback according to the lender schedule is $480/month for 10 years. I hope to have it paid back after about 8.


architphil- as for the phd, its all about negotiations with the program + university and finding individual foundations to give you grants/scholarships... and youll undoubtedly be a TA or teach some lower level undergrad courses- which can help pay the bills...

Mar 27, 07 10:25 am

+i..........I went to cooper union, which is a private school, but most people just assume its public because its tuition free.

The only loans I pulled out were for housing in nyc.

Mar 27, 07 12:06 pm

after undergrad, ive got about $60k-$70k in loans

and im gonna take the plunge in a year or two for grad

Mar 27, 07 12:09 pm

49k from b.arch, consolidated into 299 payments of 277$ hahaha... 299 payments the loan company loves me sooooooooo much

grad school in a year will hopefully be much much cheaper and partially funded by my savings in the year and a half of full time work i do in the mean time

Mar 27, 07 12:30 pm

$25k from my B.Arch (private school). I've decided that I'm only willing to take on another $15k for grad school.

Mar 27, 07 12:34 pm

tou guys are all soooo jelous - Barch - $113,000 in debt. yeah thats right 6 yrs for a Barch. havent consolidated depressing when i think about it...thanks for reminding me!!!

Mar 27, 07 3:13 pm

and i will goto Grad school some day...someday

Mar 27, 07 3:13 pm

How the....? Is that even a number you can realistically pay back?

That's the price of a mortgage around here.

Mar 27, 07 3:28 pm

$113k is a mortgage??? you either have a very nice down payment, or you live nowhere near a city/suburb/running tap water.

i know people i graduated with who had 120k in loans...
26k X 5 years + study abroad + laptop...

Mar 27, 07 3:34 pm

not saying that is appropriate... but arch school is expensive... just getting and giving a perspective

Mar 27, 07 3:35 pm
Dapper Napper

$20k for undergrad, most for study abroad. Scholarships covered my first 3.5 yrs, so I should have gotten out with way less.

Mar 27, 07 3:39 pm
Dapper Napper

Remember, slantsix is in Canada, btw.

Mar 27, 07 3:40 pm

point taken

Mar 27, 07 3:41 pm

I'll have 50-70 000 when I finish undergrad. I'm hoping to be able to pay off at about 4-500 a month. How much do you guys actually pay each month?

Mar 27, 07 3:44 pm

55k for BS, M Arch. It's a lot of debt for state school degrees...

WeAREtheSTONES, very impressive. You should hop over to a law forum and brag about it there...

Mar 27, 07 3:45 pm

depends on if you have private or federal loans. i had to take out private my first three years until i gained independent status so i could get federal aid. the bulk of my loans are private (unfortuantely) and it's very expensive... i could have a VERY nice mercedes for my monthly loan payment...

Mar 27, 07 3:46 pm

yep studied abroad for a summer...and finished in 6 yrs instead of 5 ...always took out about $2000 extra on the loans so that i had some extra money to spend on models and supplies(beer, greens, food) ya know the bare-neccesities!

Mar 27, 07 3:48 pm

My last year of grad school I took a loan for 15k for tuition and living. I ended up getting a GA position that paid for tuition and provided a generous monthly stipend. I never cancelled the loan and lived large for a year. What a stupid thing to do...

Mar 27, 07 3:52 pm

they rape you with the private loans

my first couple of private loans were at like 8-9% interest, my last 2 semesters of undergrad i got loans at 14% interest

Mar 27, 07 3:55 pm

cmu, i feel ya...
are you at carnegie mellon?

Mar 27, 07 4:01 pm

i got raped with $103k for a b.arch...took out loans for travel. the federal is not so bad but i'm getting raped and sodomized on a monthly basis with private loans...

Mar 27, 07 4:23 pm

Yeah, it's true, I'm way up here in Canada.

All M.Arch programs here (there are 10 in the country) range from $2200 to $2700 per semester, give or take. Same with B.Arch, incidentally. The only exception is one school on the east coast that charges $5000 per semester for the first two, then drops down to the regular rate.

Loans are not as easy to get around here, and there's a limit to what they offer. I think it's about $10,000 a year, with a maximum of 10 years. Even if you go to medical school, which can cost $30,000 a year at the better schools.

Also.... yeah, housing is relatively cheap here. Where I'm going to school (Winnipeg, Manitoba), the girlfriend and I are looking to buy a house in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. We have a $10,000 downpayment ready to roll. $100,000 buys you a good place in a decent neighbourhood there.

I'm constantly surprised and shocked at how expensive education and housing are in the US, especially combined with low interest rates. The interest rates here are higher, from what I understand. For example, I pay about 8% on my student (gov't) loans. Same as my line of credit, actually. I have seen some of you posting about paying back at 2% interest over 30 and 40 years. The maximum repayment time for a school loan here is 10 years.

I understand how the US is being swallowed whole by its debts. Figure $100,000 for a school loan, plus $350,000 for a home.... and that's just a start.

Mar 27, 07 6:20 pm

+i - nah, i go to NYIT......CMU is a nickname, ha

Mar 27, 07 6:22 pm

I have just under $20K in loans from undergrad. Grad school may add another $50K to that but I am gonna try my damndest to get more free money and I am definitely gonna try and get a GA position.

Mar 27, 07 6:30 pm

Total monthly payment...$436.

Mar 27, 07 6:32 pm

5 yr. BArch + 1.5 yr. MArch II = around $20,000 US.

Mar 27, 07 6:35 pm

The thing you all have to remember about student loans is that they can be consolidated often well below current interest rates. I have 40K in student loans. I consolidated them at 2.5%. The most basic high-yield savings account returns around 5%.

For this reason I am paying back very slowly. my payments are around 200 dollars a month. I'm better off throwing the other 2 or 300 dollars into the savings account as opposed to being aggresive about paying it back.

With a little forethought you can easily make money on your student loans. Don't sweat loans they wont hurt too bad.

Mar 27, 07 6:46 pm

b. arch - public - 28k paid off in under 3 years.
i'm pushing towards a cash-only enterprise.

Mar 27, 07 7:33 pm

~56k, B.Arch., private.

Holz, how'd you pay it off? I'm going to see a financial planner in a couple weeks, and I'm learning about strategies.

Mar 28, 07 8:37 am

sammyboy77 is right... although having lots of school debt sucks, given the really low interest rates (usually) it makes sense to take the full time to pay it back... you can make your money do more work for you by investing that extra money rather than doubling up payments... plus, i believe that school loans don't count against your credit rating... that's why their known as "good debt"...

Mar 28, 07 10:04 am
Dapper Napper

Yes they do count. If you're late, you're points drop pretty good.

Mar 28, 07 10:06 am

As of Monday, I have zero debt from undergrad. Making that last payment felt good.

Of course if I go to grad school, that debt is probably going back up to about $60-$70k.

I don't feel so bad.....I have a good friend who has $200,000 in debt from law school. She works at Legal Aid now, I have no idea how she does it.

Mar 28, 07 12:21 pm

if you pay anything late it counts as bad credit. But having XX,XXX in student loan does not count against you in the same way as credit card debt or other loans.

Mar 28, 07 12:23 pm

until they send your debt off to a collections agency xD

hey, so here's a question: My undergraduate loans are a mix of private loans and federal loans. They are consolidated, but grouped so that the private still has a separate interest rate and I can specify extra payments for it. I'm going back to grad school next year- if I qualify for larger federal loans than I need, would it be best to take the full amount of these federal loans, and use the extra to pay down (off?) my private loan?

This seems like a brillant plan to me right now, and I need some confirmation or a wake-up call, whichever is appropriate.

Mar 28, 07 12:41 pm

rationalist - that makes a lot of sense to me - especially if you are talking about subsidized federal loans. Private loans are evil.

I'm about $25k in the hole right now for undergrad. All federal. If I go to UPenn - well, it will be a lot more.

Mar 28, 07 12:56 pm


i lived like a miser... and i'm not very materialistic:
i didn't buy fancy clothes (t-shirts + jeans) and have a 5 y.o. car with 60k miles that i could have sold but kept for trips and errands (and because public transportation in seattle effing sucks)

i bought used whenever possible.
only went to free shows, or shows with minimal covers, and pre-funked like crazy beforehand.

ate a lot o' beans and rice. (also, i brown-bagged it for lunch) and (most importantly) rarely ate out. i enjoy cooking, so most of the money went towards locally grown fresh veggies. if i lived in a house instead of apt., i'd probably have grown my own.

ikea over dwr.

moved to a cheap apartment, saving a ton there.

my grandparents and parents despise debt and were/are the epitome of self sufficient - that really rubbed off on me. while there are arguments to having some debt over others, i'll take zero debt over having 28k build interest over my head. i already have enough gray hairs from prick bosses and p.m.'s. on the plus side, if we continue to live as frugally, we'll have a whopper of a downpayment in a few years, or i'll have enough to start my own business. or just travel the world for a few years.

and wonderk's right. that last payment was great.

Mar 28, 07 3:48 pm

Yeah, I checked my private loan terms.... I borrowed $14k, and if I stuck to the payment plan, would end up paying back $23.5k over the life of the loan. If (through loan gymnastics) I can pay it back at the beginning of my second year of grad school, I'll have paid $17.5k on it. Yeah there'll be interest on the federal loans, but not so much to negate the $6k I'll have saved myself. That should make life a LOT easier on me once I get out of grad school.

Mar 28, 07 4:37 pm

i've got about 70k for undergrad - public. decided to go out of state and spent my entire senior year abroad (and some time after that), but i have to say, thoroughly enjoyed my education.

most of it was private.

hoping grad is going to be at most - another 20k.

as of right now, my payments are around 800 a month. for over 10 yrs. would have been less, but i did graduated over 2 yrs. got about 7.5 yrs left...

but! i have no credit card debt! that's at least something, isn't it?

Mar 28, 07 5:21 pm

undergrad: 40k not to mention the credit card debts...

Mar 29, 07 11:14 am
Lookout Kid

$60,000 from grad school... Currently paid down to $38,000. I'm now paying $1250 a month because I want to get rid of these damn payments before I have kids. My minimum payment is $400 per month over 25 years. Ugh.

Mar 30, 07 1:31 am

specifically talking student loans, i only have $800 more to pay off, but i was lucky and did my 4 year in state at Georgia Tech, which is pretty cheap in comparison to a lot of schools, and then of course, my daddy helped out a lot too! I personally only took out a $3000 loan, but my dad took out more than that. Total for the 5 years it took me to get through my 4 year undergrad, i spent under $50k.

Apr 2, 07 4:32 pm

my dad paid for my first two years - the rest was on me.

my payments (for both federal loans and private loans combined) are around the $600 range.

pretty pricey for someone just out of school. post-pro grad school HAS to be funded- or im not going.

Apr 2, 07 4:39 pm

B.arch (5 years + summers inbetween, and europe trip) = $120-130,000. in loans
(about $100,000.00 is private loans and the rest is federal loans.)
monthly payments are about $1,000.00 a month right now. they will be about $1,500.00 in a year or so when i start paying all them back.
its rough, but i guess i'm glad a i have an education, than not.

yepper!!! thanks mom and dad for making too much money for the FAFSA , but not actually paying for any tuition.

Apr 2, 07 6:24 pm

J, if you have consolidated at a ridiculously low 3%, why on earth would you pay that off quickly? you should be putting the extra money into a high-interest investment fund or paying off your high-interest cc bills or mortgage first. they're practically letting you borrow money for free!

Apr 3, 07 1:18 am
laura lu

26k from B.S. in Architecture- 4 year state school, + 107k from M.Arch, 3.5 year private school. Total $133,000. Monthly payments for 10 year plan is $1474. Currently down to $104k. Working as many side hustles as I can to pay it off much sooner than the 10 year plan!!   

Jan 19, 18 9:30 pm
Non Sequitur

100k for a M.arch.... wow.


$1474 each month for 10 years... YIKES!!!!!!!


Change the payment plan process. You need more than 10 YEARS. The amount you would be paying is disproportionate to your income unless you are making like $90,000 to $100,000. Federal student loans are capped at 10% of your disposable income which means you will need to be earning close to $180,000 to pay that much off a month. At this point, you will be consuming half your income. You won't even be able to pay rent, utilities, taxes, and also pay for food at that level. There is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with that picture unless you are telling them that you are earning $180,000 a year. I would beg the question, why the hell did you not just save up for 3 years and then pay for your private school education out of pocket? Get this loan payment restructure so you can pay it off in amounts you can actually afford on a $35K to $65K a year income. I'm curious how you will pay that off in LESS than 10 years. Are you earning a passive income from inheritance or something?

@RickB-Astoria. Totally agree that the amount is insane! I actually do have payment plan switched to income based to give me some flexibility in case I can't make payments. And I deferred them while I was laid off an unemployed for 3 months. I'm glad mine are all federal loans and not private. But for the most part, I've been able to pay the 10-year plan amount or more each month. No, I don't have an inheritance (Thank God no deaths in the family recently!) I make 46k at my day job. I live in a city where I can rent a 1 bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and my half of the rent is $350. I picked out my apartment and job so that they are within biking distance. I don't own a car. My expenses are just really low. I'm intentionally delaying having pets or kids or buying a house. Any money that I make at my side gigs (teaching at the local University & consulting) goes directly to my student loans.  If I just made the income based payment each month it wouldn't cover the interest. At the end of 20 years when I was forgiven (if the government doesn't change its mind) I would pay income tax based on an amount that would be more than the original principal. So I will pay as much as I can and become debt free as soon as I can in move on with my life. And no I would never recommend anyone go into debt for school! Saving up and paying cash for a cheaper school is what I would've recommended to my younger self!


Rick the 10% cap is only for those who borrowed their first loans fairly recently and have certain types of federal student loans. For a lot of us the IBR cap would be 15%, which makes the minimum payments considerably higher. In any case people should be careful about IBR, because in the long run it's a very expensive proposition. It's ok for temporary reduction of payments in your first few years of low-paying jobs, but continuing in IBR is a bad idea in the long run.  If you just keep paying the income-based amount, and that amount stays considerably lower than the 10-year based full payment would be, then in the long run you'll end up paying back much more than you borrowed AND you'll still have a balance that gets forgiven at the end of 20 or 25 years (depending on when you took out your first loan), but you'll end up paying taxes on what's written off that year, as if it were income. Example: if your full 10-year-based monthly payment is $1000 but your IBR payment is only $400, and you pay that for 20 years, you'll pay 96k over that 20 years - but because you were barely touching the principal, and interest continues to accumulate after the first 3 years, you end up at the end of 20 years with >100k still due at the end of the 20 years, which gets forgiven, and then you get taxed on that >100k as income, all due in one lump sum in that 20th year.


Also only FFEL loans can be consolidated or otherwise restructured into loans that will qualify for the 10% IBR plan. Those of us who started our educations long enough ago that we had other types of subsidized federal loans, or first consolidated prior to IBR, usually don't have the option to restructure in a way that qualify for the 10%-based IBR, PAYE, REPAYE, etc. in the first place.  Some of the older federal loan types qualify for 15%-based IBR, and some don't qualify at all.


For a time period older than most anyone is alive to remember, there was still a top limit of about 20% or so of your income because. This doesn't stop a person from voluntarily exceeding what the IBR amount is in paying off. Such as the option to outright payoff loans from your loan servicing entity such as site of Fedloan Servicing. The issue is you have to be careful not to overwhelm your financial capacity to payoff the loans and then they get into a nasty attitude on your credit score.


Laura happens to have her loans recent enough to fall into the 10% rule rule in the IBR. It seems the amount is awfully high to the income level. Just my thoughts because you wouldn't want to be saying that your income is that of the managing principal. She might be able to pull this off IF she has the income and cost under control.

Non Sequitur

... and people still force themselves to believe 100k for an M.arch is a wise investment. Fools.

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