Mar 4, 2008, 6:42 PM
Post #1483 of 2979
While I am not advocating going into debt that you'll never realistically be able to get out of, I think it's important to remember that most graduate programs require students to take on loans for tuition and living expenses. The key factor is whether you think you will come out of the program with a skill that allows you to take a job that 1. you otherwise would not be able to acquire without your degree; and 2. provides some reasonable level of income so that you can live and repay your loans over time. Most educational debt can be structured into manageable payments if you have serious income restrictions. I know this from experience. Most of my friends have professional degrees that did not immediately lead to high paying jobs - public policy; library science; and even MDs - and we live in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the country. Is it hard to manage? Some times. Would my friends do it all over again if they could? Most of them would, although not all.
That said, I spent a lot of money getting a masters in public policy, and one of the factors I considered when applying for MFA programs was that I didn't want to pay for the Ivy League degree again. My calculation was all about what price point was worth it to me. As a result, I applied to two schools that I knew I would enroll in regardless of funding. I crossed out two others because the expense didn't seem worth the benefit. Perhaps if I don't get in anywhere this year, I'd reconsider applying to those other ones next year, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Anyway, rushing into debt is never a good idea, but expecting a free ride for education is pretty unrealistic, too. There are definite pros and cons that are worth considering before you turn any school down. Just some thoughts.