July 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm #161275Ashish TrehanParticipant
Well UGA grad is exceptionally cheap. Its like under 5K a semester and I am applying for an assistantship for next spring which will pay my tuition and give me a 3K stipend and thats only a part-time assistantship.July 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm #161274
Yes, but what about living expenses? Life cots a lot more then 3K. 🙂 Student loan debt has now exceeded credit card debt in our country…in some ways the marketing to attain more and more education seems like a racket to me. I bet you could start your own business and make more then you would starting out in an LA firm. We live in a small town in Idaho and are doing that exactly. Would you rather go farther into debt for a degree you aren’t passionate about? Or make some cash designing and working outside? 🙂 I know a lot of people with Masters degrees…heck I know a person with a PhD in Physics that is mowing lawns. No joke. Like someone mentioned…you can write your own success story. Another piece of paper is no guarantee you are going to get a job…but will guarantee you have a heavier debt burden around your neck.July 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm #161273Ashish TrehanParticipant
well I also have supportive parents. Rent and utilities in Athens, GA is 233 for rent and another 100 in everything else (water,gas, and cable). I can take the bus to campus. So not much gas. But from what I hear, you don’t go to grad school if the entry level job is less pay than the loan you have to take out. I am projected to spend around 20K. I think thats well within my limits. And well I work at a web development company this past summer and may continue on a limited basis. The problem is the goal posts have moved. The baby boomers are not retiring naturally like the past generations. Internships are going to recent grads, while entry levels are asking for 2-4 years of experience. I am passionate about economics. Economics drives history. I feel landscape architects is environmental, but they work on incremental change. I want to drive policy. Yes, I understand the debt problems. I myself was initially against going to grad school due to the racket. But I want a career change, and I need a different degree. I do believe there is a higher education bubble, but that silly little paper is the only way I can make a career change.August 1, 2011 at 2:31 am #161272Jay SmithParticipant
20k of loans certainly sounds reasonable assuming you don’t already have a huge mountain of debt. I don’t think additional education has to necessarily bury a person, unless you felt you just had to pay it all off in 5 to 10 years. In-state tuition at a reasonably priced institution coupled with PT work while in school can be a manageable option, and I’ve been considering it myself. It’s the people that go out of state and pay 80-100k for a degree that leave me wondering “how?”.August 1, 2011 at 2:45 am #161271
Depends on what kind of loans you get…I tried the fed route…terrible interest rate. And after 2 years, then you have to start paying it back…job or not. I wasn’t willing to take the chance of owing the feds. By the time you ammortize everything, it was a car payment every month. Not just any car, were talkin a Benz or BMW, and a very nice one at that.This administration has utterly destroyed the college loan market by creating a monopoly for themselves. If bank interest and mortgages are less than 1%, and 4.5% respectively, why are Fed school loans upwards of 10%?
I borrowed the money from myself against savings…but it still wasn’t worth it.August 1, 2011 at 3:51 am #161270Jay SmithParticipant
Jason, when did you look into fed loans? The rates I’ve been seeing lately for federal stafford are 6.8% or lower for graduate loans, 3.4% for undergrads. Plus they knock off another half percent if you setup automatic payments online. And if you choose the extended or income-contigent repayment plans you can get a fairly low payment.August 1, 2011 at 4:09 am #161269
No fed loan that I know of is that high. Are you meaning private loans? Stay away from those!
But I will say with amortization that you spend SO much more in the long run. I for one, do not plan on trusting politicians to keep their word. If they can cut social security…and be pretty glib about suggesting it…why trust that they won’t turn around and change Income Contingent or Income Based Repayment? The political winds are way too unstable these days…I am worried somebody is going to start targeting college debt and start screaming “fire”.August 1, 2011 at 4:12 am #161268
Perhaps you mean grad loans? Where are higher…but your post seems to have its own political point to it. My dh paid 8% on some grad loans in 2007 I believe…perhaps that is what you mean.August 1, 2011 at 4:54 am #161267
Nope, I looked at grad school loans last summer, and the interest I was quoted by FAFSA was around 9%. Plus, you need several loans, as not one would cover it. And since the takeover by the feds last June, most private loans have dried up or are even worse interest rate wise. I couldn’t find anything, not even from my credit union, that was acceptable, so I borrowed from myself and actually made money on interest (though not much).August 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm #161266
Just announced this morning. Need I say more with regards to fed loans? THIS is what I meant (and it is both parties).
They are now going to make certain graduate loans payable while you are still taking classes. Nothing like changing the rules mid-stream. If the private sector tried this, there would be lawsuits flying from breach of contract. Colleges never lower their tuition (despite sitting on huge endowments), the interest rates are sky high (despite other interest rates being rock bottom), they are now making some start paying back early towards the end of your program, you know, when you are FLUSH with CASH. And they are picking on grad students who already pay more for credits and more interest, many of whom are in career transitions from the wonderful economy. So much for pro-education.August 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm #161265Richard KidgerParticipant
I think you’ll do fine, economics can be combined with your Landscape Architecture
Experience. For example in the UK there was position at DEFRA, government
Position for an MA economics and environmental qualification or experience
For flood strategy planning and economic stats for the next 20 year pridictions.
Pay offer was around £50 to £60k. Personally I’m an engineer and truck mechanic.
I love LA and GD it’s a passion, but it’s good to diversify.August 5, 2011 at 3:57 am #161264mauiBobParticipant
You’re doing the right thing, Ashish! Don’t be fooled by some of the comments regarding economics. Its a very sexy subject, almost as great as finance. It opens up more opportunities when you graduate. Perhaps you can even return to landscape architecture field by becoming a developer or working for one. I’ve been saying this for months, LA is a stagnant profession. Some say the “economy will return and all will be great” but that’s not the question. We all know it will “eventually” return…its the when…2 years, 10 years? How long can one actually wait and survive? If I wasn’t in a secure employment at the moment, I would’ve left this profession 2 years ago. In 12 years, my income has been greater investing in the market (nearly double) on the side than my total salary in landscape architecture. Listen to your instincts, your gut feeling and you’ll be better off for it.
Too many students take a blind leap of faith when getting into LA. Many don’t do enough research, then get a rude awakening after graduation. People are passionate about many things, you may discover that economics has been your true calling. Its always smart to supplement any degree with business.August 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm #161263Craig AnthonyParticipant
Landscape Architecture does not exist in a vacuum. We are part of the AEC industry, an industry that is stagnant for now. Considering the amount of people the industry employs, if isn’t running on all cylinders 10 years from now, it would be because we had fallen into a state of anarchy caused by a complete economic collapse. By then no one will be going into the office. We’ll all be too concerned with trying to protect and feed ourselves.
How long do you think it will take before growth in more “stable and profitable” industries would spur the demand for more AEC related services? It’s just silly for someone to say that landscape architecture is a stagnant profession. It’s stagnant because the economy is stagnant. MauiB have you read the news?
Students and young professionals Landscape Architecture is not an easy profession. Even in good times a lot of people fall by the wayside. But, there are quite a few that make it and some even make it big. If it’s what you want to do, go for it. If it doesn’t work out for you, it just doesn’t work out for you. I’m just asking people not to discourage others from entering or staying in the profession if they make the choice to leave. I think it’s very disrespectful to those of us who want to stay the course.
Besides, I would also question the motives of someone that spends a lot of time on a landscape architecture site bad mouthing the landscape architecture profession. These naysayers with BSLAs are here for a reason and it’s not because they’re trying to do you a favor. The guess the biggest question is why these guys just can’t let go.August 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm #161262
The problem is that politics are so ugly right now that politicians use these sorts of policies to flex their muscles. With all the push for cutting deficits and not raising taxes on the rich…the money has to come from somewhere. So they are taking it from the people with the least amount of money to spare. We are trying to pay down our student loans despite being on Income Based because I don’t for one second trust Republicans to not come knocking on my door saying, “Pay up everything…now”. They are targeting Medicare and Social Security so why not students? Democrats have ceded the conversation and essentially have allowed the GOP to drive our economic discussion. Rather then coming to the center the GOP is further and further to the right while democrats come further and further to the middle. There is no balance in these discussions.August 6, 2011 at 10:28 am #161261mauiBobParticipant
Craig, People change careers all the time, in every profession. You have architects wanting to become chefs on television, doctors turning to full time wedding photographers, lawyers getting their teaching credentials and becoming a high school teacher, etc. And lets not forget the truck driver who went to school for landscape architecture. I give my 100% to my work as a community planner / landscape architect and “like” what I do.
However, If given a choice it wouldn’t be my first. That is the key “if given a choice”. I’m in too deep to change things now and I’m very fortunate to have full time employment. Plus I do some side work doing final, presentation board illustratives. This part I “love” about LA. If I was unemployed, no doubt I’ve gone back to school 2 years ago to complete a degree in Finance or Economics. Do I read the news? Squawk Box is my early morning show and read the online WSJ over LAM anyday, anytime! Get great info on Fool.com also.
Let me tell you a true story about my friend and roommate back in college at Idaho. He was a math major and went to work for City of Seattle after graduation. After 4 years, he hated it and decided to pursue an MBA from Stanford. I still keep contact with him and found out in 2009 he now works as a chief financial officer for a successful game software company in San Jose, California. Since the company is publicly traded, his salary is open for view at $540,000 year plus bonus and stock options. He loves his work too. He found his true calling in life.
I’ve never discouraged anyone from landscape architecture. I give facts, no sugar coating what LAs do. I think many students see these glossy, image boards of neat projects and come to conclusion that this is all there is to landscape architecture, while ignoring the reality of how difficult it is to get a concept design on paper built for completion. Better to change majors while in school than to find out later in life your true passion is in another field. All I’m saying is to seriously weigh all options and keep an open mind. Look before you leap. Be flexible and adapt to rapidly changing environments.
Yes, Craig the profession is stagnant. Sorry man. Its practically dead. So much so that they are changing the LARE to accommodate more fee paying professions to survive. The profession should mandate a 10 year license limit. Everyone has to retake the exam after holding the RLA for 10 yrs. I wonder how many of those elite LAs can pass the current exams. This should generate much needed revenue for LA in the same way luggage fees made airline companies profitable.
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