Mar 6, 2007, 8:59 PM
Post #107 of 430
Re: [jobieh] Literary Reponse?
Hi again. From the Columbia MFA website:
Tuition for 2003-2004 is $33,000. The estimated total per year, including materials and living expenses, is $50,000.
But here Columbia fools us again. Here's their updated figure, also from the website:
Tuition and fees total $36,788 for the 2006-2007 academic year (two semesters).
So if tuition increases by $3,788 per year, with inflation for your living expenses, that $50,000 per year figure would be $110,000 over two years. That's where my figure came from.
Except you have to remember that only covers nine months of living (schools don't create twelve-month budgets). So fully one-quarter of your annual costs, over the course of those twenty-four months, are not included in that $110,000 estimate from Columbia. For that reason, I made a ridiculously optimistic assumption that an additional $10,000 over twenty-four months would get you through living for six months (three summer months for each of two years) in the most expensive and densely-populated city in the United States. I then assumed a $10,000/year part-time job. Voila: we're back to that $110,000 figure. I wholly agree, however, that if Columbia offers you (or anyone) what appears to be their max or close-to-max grant award--$12,500 per year--that $110,000 would actually be, instead, a paltry $85,000. It's true, also, that if you were to work close to full time while going to Columbia (which many submit would destroy the experience, and which posters who've been to Columbia info sessions say the school does not recommend) you might be able to reduce your two-year debt burden from, say, $85,000 to more like $55,000. If Columbia gives a prospective student no aid whatsoever (as, it appears, does happen), either the prospective student works or he/she goes into the hole for that figure of around $110,000.
There are definitely other programs with bad funding; if you look at The Kealey Scale on my website, you'll find out what some of them are. Generally, schools with bad funding seem to be--and this is my wholly anecdotal opinion--slipping in terms of their prestige. Pitt, for instance, is not now what it was in 1997, before anyone had written a guidebook for MFA students telling them (rightly) how important funding is. The same goes for Maryland, for Utah, and a host of other programs once very, very highly-regarded. Those schools which right now are the most popular in the country (again, anecdotal evidence, and recent polling, seems to suggest)--Cornell, Michigan, Texas, Irvine, Virginia, Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue, and many other "top forty" programs--all have ridiculously good funding, funding which unfortunately puts Columbia (and those others I mentioned above) to shame.
I think I mentioned that Columbia "seems to" have no intention of changing their stripes, and I think I mentioned that this opinion was based on the website only. Here's what the website has to say about funding at Columbia:
Typically your first year at Columbia will be the hardest financially. Anything you can do now--including working and saving--will pay off exponentially should you be admitted. Since funding for the arts is scarce, it is advised you expand the scope of your search beyond your field of study. Mine your undergraduate institution for resources: alumni association grants, scholarships, financial aid databases, etc. Think of any major corporations you or your relatives have been employed by. Research your family tree for ethnic associations. Many fellowships are awarded based upon your state of birth. Most importantly, DO IT NOW. If you wait until you have been accepted to the program, most application deadlines will have passed. Take advantage of the Columbia cachet before you are admitted; you may be awarded funds provisional upon your acceptance. Financial aid available from the School of the Arts is outlined in detail in the School of the Arts website and on each Division's website as it pertains to their funding abilities. Information on FAFSA can be found below. Please be aware that there are no complete tuition waivers at the School of the Arts, and fellowship opportunities are limited. Teaching assistantships are available and such positions may be paid, but are almost entirely reserved for second year students, and are not a major source of tuition reimbursement for most SoA students. International students are eligible for all fellowships awarded by the School of the Arts. All applicants should be advised that the majority of funding available to you will be in the form of low interest loans.
[Caps in original; underlines are mine].
If that ain't a middle finger, folks, nothing is. If they were planning on changing their stripes soon, they'd take down that ridiculously offensive and condescending FAQ answer.
(This post was edited by umass76 on Mar 6, 2007, 9:03 PM)