I am a dual degree (B.Tech, MS by Research) student in India majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. The reason I am writing to you all is because I have been admitted to MIT DUSP for a PhD in Urban Information Systems. However, I am not being provided with any financial aid for the same. The department has told me that in order to secure admission, I need to arrange financial support for a minimum of two years (estimated at $130k) and also develop a realistic plan for the subsequent years. The reason provided for this was that students find it extremely difficult to secure any assistant-ships once they are at MIT. Being my dream destination, I have accepted the offer, but my chances of making it there seem slim.
There are many questions I want to ask you. First and foremost, are the concerns that my family, particularly my parents have - even if we somehow manage to gather the huge amount through loans, is it worth the risk? By worth, they mean the career prospects after graduating from UIS. Even though it is a degree provided by the best institution in the world, they are a bit skeptical putting both their feet in the water. As far as I am concerned, UIS is the best program for me given my background in Computer Science and research in Spatial Informatics, and given my research standing, I feel motivated enough to make a worthwhile contribution to the field through this program, the only bottleneck being the funding. The point being, after putting in 5-6 years of hard work, what are the career prospects in terms of remuneration and growth? Would it be comparable to the income people manage to get in the CS field? The reason I am asking this question is, if I follow my interest and go for it, I will be heavily burdened with loans by the time I graduate. So if I am going ahead with the PhD program, I need to be sure about the returns in the future. On the other hand, the natural, and safe option that I have in hand is to continue in the CS field, and let go of my interest, which I am finding very hard to do, after reaching so close to my dream school.
I shall be really grateful to you for all the help and guidance.