My partner is about to start Veterinary School, and as a result is going to be taking on a potentially very large amount of debt. I have a job currently paying me $55,000 on salary (factoring in the insurance cost, income tax, rent, general expense, and retirement contributions etc. I am left with ~$1,000 per month that is available for anything else. Normally this just goes into savings or investments, perhaps a nice night out or weekend camping trip).
As a result of their schooling demands, the amount of work that my partner will be able to do while attending school is little to none. During the Summer months, they will likely be able to work a full time, temporary position earning roughly $2,000 per month after taxes.
Schooling is estimated to cost about $37,000 per year or about $150,000 total, so I know we will need to take out (several) loans to cover the cost.
My question(s), numbered for answer clarity, are:
(1) how much of our ~$3,000 "leftover" per month in the summer, and ~$1,000 during the school year, should we be using to directly pay tuition vs saving/investing/doing other things with it? Is it really worth dumping everything into paying it all without taking any loans?
NOTE: I already have a ~$10,000 safety net in place in my savings for emergencies only, and if need be I can also fairly easily pull an extra $500 a month from being invested in a Roth IRA that I currently have in place.
Bonus (curiosity?) Questions:
(2) I don't have much experience in taking on student loans myself - are they taken out in a lump sum? (i.e. all ~$150,000 at once to pay all of tuition) Or is it more of a semester to semester basis, resulting in potentially varied interest rates that might complicate this calculation further?
(3) We are also looking to buy a home (hopefully after the market swings a little more in the buyer's favor) in the next few years if possible, maybe even while there is still a year left of their schooling. Is taking on a mortgage while also having student debt a wise thing to do? (or perhaps just not necessarily "unwise?") Is it even a possibility to consider saving up for a down payment on a home while also paying off student loan debt?