Book review: Repaid by Matthew Carlson

Repaid: An Artist's Guide to Student Loans and Financial Self-Advocacy is a slim book, less than 100 pages without the glossary at the end, but the information contained within is incredibly informative, concise, and invaluable to anyone in the creative fields who finds themself saddled with crippling student loan debt.

As someone who works at a university, who teaches graduate students and interacts with undergraduate student workers, I am often shocked by the monetary figures the students mention in conversations about loan debt with respect to their bachelors degrees. Even though our own graduate students are fully funded (meaning that everyone we accept gets a teaching or research assistantship and tuition remission*), many students still carry debt from their undergraduate degrees which, while repayment is suspended during graduate study, resumes billing after they graduate.

Carlson explains in easy-to-understand terms the different types of loans students might have, what consolidation means, various options for repayment plans, budgeting strategies for unpredictable career changes, and--perhaps the most valuable chapter--a range of different options for obtaining healthcare.

This book demystifies much of the financial lingo and shines a light on a way out of debt for graduates in fields considered to be financially risky. I'll probably start giving it as a gift to graduates concerned about the debt their education has left them with.

* Because we're a state school, non-residents' tuition remissions are only guaranteed for the first year of study, but establishing residency is part of the expectation for incoming students from out of state.


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