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Thread: How much debt?

  1. #1

    How much debt?

    Seeing as funding is a huge part of grad school decisions, I though it'd be appropriate to ask how much school debt will you be in next year. Or maybe more appropriately how much school debt are you willing to be in next year?

    I've narrowed it down to two options:
    1. A free ride to lesser known state school or
    2. ~15k/year (for tuition alone) at George Washington University (MA Geography) with another 12k/year for living cost.

  2. #2
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    I would go with the free ride...

    I'm spending at least 14k a year for living expenses for grad school right now, and about 14k a year for tuition, out of state...

    I have a plan so it won't be that much, for example I'm only going to be here for 3 semesters, plus an assistant-ship will play my last semester. That's something you should look into; most I heard offer them, where sometimes they waive tuition and pay a stipend. Look into the benefits you can get, grad schools try to entice people with this, play hard to get. Don't do what I did and went to the school because it was your "dream school" or the school with the biggest name. I kick myself everyday for going to the school I grew up loving instead of the school I hate with the much better program.

    Something that I noticed, that's 1k a month you have budgeted for yourself... I personally thing that's not much, esp. if you add in the costs of books, etc. I personally spend almost 1500 a month, and I'm in rural Alabama, not D.C.

    Just a thought...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    I personally chose the lesser known state school with the free ride (and stipend) for my MA. I already owed about 15k total for my undergrad and I just wasn't willing to increase that. I finished my MA 7 years ago and don't regret it, though I concede that I graduated in a better economic climate than currently exists.

  4. #4
    @Planner4Hire: Thanks for the advice. You're right, it will certainly cost more than 12k/year for living expenses. This is just the amount I would need to take out in loans; the rest would be coming from my savings account... so sad.

    In the immediate future it makes more sense to go with the free school (which is also the less-known, less-interesting program), but what about the long-term benefits of the more reputable program? If it eventually lands you a job making 15-20k/year more, is it worth it? I really don't know. I guess there's not a right or wrong choice.

    For those with partial funding at notoriously expensive schools (Columbia, Penn, USC, NYU etc...) are you considering these offers?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Both of my degrees are from state schools - has not hurt me at all.

    I have said once and I'll say it again - why go into debt over a name.
    After you get your first job and prove yourself will it really matter ?

    Besides the name school will probably expect more $$$ from/out of you as a an alumnus.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus kalimotxo's avatar
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    I chose the less prestigious, less expensive school and I look back on it as the best decision I could have made. I'm happy with my degree but I'm still graduating with more debt than I'd prefer.

    Going into $50k+ debt for a planning degree is not a good idea in any economic climate.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    [QUOTE=youvegotchills;584062If it eventually lands you a job making 15-20k/year more, is it worth it? [/QUOTE]

    This is a REALLY big if. Also this would be very unlikely if you land a public sector job.


    Have you asked each school what their placement rates and alumni average salaries are?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by latte thunder View post
    This is a REALLY big if. Also this would be very unlikely if you land a public sector job.


    Have you asked each school what their placement rates and alumni average salaries are?
    Actually, if someone has asked schools for this information, I would greatly appreciate if you could share it. I am also considering UPenn and trying to figure out how to pay for it. Ohh... what to do.

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