I posted this in the Working/Student Parents forum, but after re-reading my post, I wonder if here might be a better place? I'm looking for advice on Graduate Assistantship funding and loans. Here's what I posted there:
I have a Graduate Assistantship for Fall, teaching an Intro Comp class and working in the Writing Center. My MA will be in Written Communication. My grad classes will be two evenings a week. The GAship pays for tuition and a stipend, which is about $850/mo ($8,500 for the Fall/Winter, total). I plan on taking classes in the summer, which the GAship will pay for; however, I won't have the stipend coming in for May-August. I currently have $36k in loans from my UG degree, and was hoping to not take out loans (or minimal loans) for graduate school.
However, I'm realizing that the income from the GAship isn't going to make ends meet, and especially with no pay in May-August, I'm not sure how to get by. I should mention that I am a single parent.
What do you do? Do you take out a significant amount of loans to pay your living expenses? I figure if I look for work next summer when my stipend isn't paying, I'll be paying for childcare for DD (she's almost 5) and so it kind of defeats the purpose, you know? I don't want to overcommit myself by looking for part-time work in addition to teaching, taking my own classes, and working for my assistantship, but I also don't want to end up with another $20k in loans, either. Apartments are usually about $600-$700 without utilities, and depending on where you live, that gets you a 1 or 2br.
Would you take out the loans and save your sanity? How much do you think is reasonable to borrow?
I'm hoping, after my MA is done, to find a job teaching at a community college. I will also look for adjunct positions and student affairs jobs as well (though the teaching is what I really need). I may go on for a PhD at some point. I have absolutely no idea what my income will be like post-graduation. If I find a good CC job, it will be decent, but if I'm working as an adjunct, it will be total crap.