Galen Royce Nagel will graduate from medical school this year - fulfilling her longtime dream of becoming a doctor. But that dream comes at a very heavy cost. Galen Royce Nagel "I am officially 300-thousand dollars in debt." Galen calculates she'll have to pay two-thousand dollars a month for the next 30 years. With interest she'll end up paying 600-thousand dollars for her education. "Student loans are different from other types of loans - they can't be erased if you declare bankruptcy. And lenders can take money from your wages, tax refunds, and even Social Security if you don't pay up." Consumer Reports advises taking out Federal loans such as Perkins or Stafford with fixed rates, rather than private loans from banks with variable rates. And with Federal loans you get more flexible repayment options. Greg Daugherty "Generally, with a Federal loan you don't have to start repaying until six months after you graduate or if you drop below half-time at school. At that time you may qualify for any number of payment plans." For instance, Federal loans may offer - > a standard repayment of at least 50 dollars a month for 10 years or >extended repayment that gives you up to 25 years to repay or >graduated payments, which start small and get bigger when you're likely earning more. >There are also income-based payments, which may forgive some of the loan after 25 years. Greg Daugherty "You'll save money and get out of debt the quickest if you make the largest payments you can each month, and apply any extra to the principal." Galen hopes her doctor's salary and a frugal lifestyle will get her out from under her mountain of debt. . ."