Would you use student loans to pay off credit cards?

I have massive credit card debt for a 28-year-old (over $ 20,000). I’m starting a PhD program this fall, and I keep telling myself, “just get through school, then you’ll have a job that pays you enough to pay off all of that debt.”

I made the decision to enroll too late to get funding (most PhD programs are paid for through scholarships, teaching classes, etc.). So for the first year I applied for student loans. I just found out they’re offering me enough (over 2 semesters) to pay for my tuition AND pay off my credit cards (they do this with the idea that PhD students don’t have time to work full-time jobs and need extra to live on).

Reasons to do it: The interest rate will be lower (MUCH lower, like 4% compared to 28% on some of my cards), and the federal loan people are really good about working with you when you have a financial hardship or any other issue. My credit is barely hovering above “bad,” and it could start repairing itself while I’m in school.

Reasons not to do it – That’s a whole lot of student loan money. I still haven’t paid off my loans from my bachelor’s degree. I don’t have to accept all of the loans, and I could accept the bare minimum to get me by in school.

But the debt will be mine either way, right? I’ll have to pay it off whether it’s on CCs or on student loans, and can probably do it more quickly with student loans since they won’t be destroying me with interest.

It would be so nice not to think about those stupid CCs anymore.

MVD – I understand what you’re saying. Here’s my thinking – if I were going to declare bankruptcy I would have already. I’m pretty committed to just paying off these cards. My parents declared bankruptcy and I know it cost them a lot of money (ironically) in lawyer’s fees, etc. I’m not in a position to do that and won’t be for a long time.

If I take all of these loans, yes I’ll have a lot of student loan debt but still less than the national average for someone with 3 degrees. My friend accrued over $ 100,000 by the time she was done!

The other problem is, I’m so close to the limit on most of my credit cards that I keep incurring fees. Not to mention I pay about $ 300 in interest EVERY MONTH. I’m drowning, and it will be a few years before I’m actually able to pay more than the minimum on these things.

If I’m ok with knowing I’ll have to pay it all off eventually….don’t you think it makes sense?

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