As the title states, I am about to finish my PhD with $140,000 dollars worth of student debt. Assuming I even obtain my desired position—a university professor—my salary will be in the upper $40,000. Of course, my summer will be free for supplementary income.
I called my loan servicer and they mentioned that the U.S. Government offers Loan Forgiveness after 10 years of full and on-time payment for the public sector. They also mentioned that my loans may qualify for an Income-Based Repayment Plan.
I suppose my question is as follows: how difficult of a financial situation have I put myself in? I am currently 30 years, not married (and have no prospects), and have no kids. Would $40k/year and an Income-Based Repayment allow me to eat food on a regular basis?