They say the two biggest financial decisions a person ever makes are the purchase of a vehicle or a house. Well who ever said that obviously never contemplated grad school tuition, particularly that of well-ranked private university. Or out-of-state rates at a public university for that matter. In either case, it represents the single largest expense that I have ever made to-date. At $20K-$60K it is more than the new car I purchased together with my wife in 2002. It’s even more expensive than the cost of housing in some parts of this country.
Those figures give me pause. Am I really making the right choice here?
The more I contemplate this, the more I realize there are two fundamental questions that I have to answer. Should I actually go to grad school? And if yes, which one?
The answer to the first is complex. While I have not completely sold myself on the whole grad school thing, a case for it is slowly but surely unfolding. I am in position that requires a Masters to advance. Those with such degrees command higher incomes. My family is supportive. Heck my wife wants out of this place, ASAP. My job status is uncertain and if I stay in California, I might be unable to ever find work outside the state. My kids are still young enough to move relatively easily. I have almost no debt of any type and enough savings. I can swing $25K in loans if necessary. As for NYC, it is closer to family and has decent post graduation job prospects. Still I get that “are you nuts for moving in this economy” feeling. It’s hard to shake that. In the end though, I believe this question will be answered far easier than I made it out to be.
That leaves the second question. Which school should I attend? On this, I don’t even have half the information I need to make a proper decision. The biggest missing piece is of course financial; I have nothing to work with. Both schools are not done awarding funding opportunities, nor have I gotten anything back from the Federal Government. Beyond that are unresolved program-related questions and concerns. So each day I do a little research and hope for another clue.
One step at a time.