Apr 2, 2007, 8:32 PM
Post #3117 of 6287
Whether or not to increase your debt is a highly personal decision. Before you begin really weighing your options, I'd advise you to call UMass and ask them directly about the availability of funding now, projected financial resources over the next three years, and the likelihood of securing funding as a second-year student. That will help give you a clearer picture of the level of debt you're facing.
After you have a rough idea of how much debt you'd be likely to assume, you can make a more informed decision. Don't let your eagerness to begin a program override your future happiness---remember that until you've been living with debt for a couple of years, you really can't comprehend how its presence not only weighs on you but also limits your future choices. It can be helpful to consult a few online financial calculators to determine what your monthly loan payments will actually cost you for the next 10 to 20 years (finding out that an extra $25,000 in loans amounts to an extra $200 a month in debt repayment could influence your decision) and how much interest you will ultimately end up paying on the additional loan (I know that, when you've already accrued some debt, it's easy to think, "Hey, what's another couple grand?" Just remember, going from $50k to $75k in debt amounts to a 50% higher amount on which you'll be accruing interest and making payments for the next 20 years).
Furthermore, if you do accept the debt, you will be taking classes alongside peers that have been giving TAships, fellowships, and scholarships. There's at least a chance that you may resent this disparity as you realize you are undertaking a debt they have avoided for the same MFA.
My advice would be to go with any existing offers of funding or to reapply next year. If you are patient, you are likely to find a program that is happy to shoulder some of the financial burden for your MFA.