When Matthew Burr finished his master’s degree in 2011, he figured he owed about $50,000.
But he was in for a surprise. “The number was almost $15,000 more than I’d previously estimated,” he remembers.
Between the $65,000 from 18 months working on a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations, and about $9,000 remaining from his undergraduate debt, he was nearly $74,000 in the red.
“I wasn’t going to be one of those statistics where the loan balloons to $150,000 with interest,” Burr recalls. “Right out of grad school, I got a job as a human resources manager at a paper mill with a starting salary of about $80,000, plus a sign on bonus and relocation. I didn’t even wait the six-month grace period to start paying off my loans.”
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