Going to graduate school can be great for career advancement but not so good for your bank account. In fact, the average Master of Arts graduate will have $58,539 in student loan debt from undergraduate and graduate school.
That was the case for Robbie Eleazer when he graduated from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (also called SCI-Arc) with $60,000 worth of student loan debt. Though he had enough credentials, Eleazer found himself in another sticky spot upon graduation: He didn't make a lot of money.
Lawyers and doctors could justify paying the high costs of their degrees knowing their earning potential will increase exponentially, but architects, who start in entry-level positions, could find it hard to do so.
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"I was only making $30,000 a year and realized I was in a bad financial situation when I created a rough budget with my salary," says Eleazer. "My rent was $900 a month, and my loan payments were $1,200. But I was only making $2,500, leaving me with about $400 for everything else."
It was then that Eleazer got serious about paying off the debt. Two and half years later, he was debt-free. Oh — and he did it on a $30,000 salary.