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MPA/MPP Applicant

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  1. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Roll call: where are you going?

    Seriously such a tough decision, but it looks like I'll be at Duke Sanford for the MPP program! Good luck to everyone! I'd also love to connect with any other incoming Sanford students!
  2. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Open House Impressions

    I haven't decided yet so this is very helpful, thank you!
  3. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Open House Impressions

    What did you like in particular about Duke? Trying to decide between Sanford, Harris, and LBJ, but unfortunately I wasn't able to attend any Admitted Student Days.
  4. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Decision time: share your dilemma

    An update from my previous post (including updated offers). If anyone has any insight on this, I would really appreciate hearing it! Coming from: Bay Area, California; but I am currently doing a Fulbright overseas until July. I have about 2 years of nonprofit internship experience + Fulbright. I plan to study Social Policy, specifically education and welfare policy. I hope to work in nonprofits/public sector or research think tank after graduation. Deciding Between: Duke (Sanford), MPP - $32k + $4k assistantship [COA: $36k/year] U Chicago (Harris), MPP - $30k (updated) [COA: $47k/year] UT-Austin (LBJ School), MPAff - reduced to in-state tuition (updated) [COA: $34k/year, but could be $19k/year if I lived with family] Carnegie Mellon (Heinz), MSPPM - 55% tuition, ~27k (updated) [COA: $46k/year] USC (Price), MPP - 50% tuition [COA: $49k/year] George Washington (Trachtenberg), MPA - $20k [COA: $44k/year] *COL portion taken from College Board to be consistent Other Factors: Minimizing debt is my biggest factor, and others seem to echo the same concern. Since I am unsure about where I expect to work after graduating (I plan to follow my partner's med school decision later), I hope to choose a program that has a large national network. My goal is to build up my limited quantitative background, though I feel that I can do that at any of these programs. As an update, Harris and Heinz increased their offers marginally, and LBJ offered in-state tuition which kind of threw a wrench in my lean toward Duke (since I may be able to live with family in Austin, reducing my COA at LBJ to ~$19k/year). How I'm Leaning: I think all of the programs offer strong/sufficient quant curriculums so I'm not too worried about that. But again, each program appeals to me for different reasons. I like Duke's small cohort and connections to DC. Harris's name and large network may allow flexibility if I have to up and move somewhere random for my partner. Austin has a much nicer price tag if I decide to live with family (albeit with a 1+ hour daily commute). I decided to eliminate Price, Trachtenberg, and Heinz from consideration at those price points, since I can't even fathom affording that amount in loans. Though Price offers a stronger network in CA which I had mentioned an interest in post-grad, I don't really want to throw all my eggs in one basket for that reason alone since I may decide to live elsewhere. I feel I can justify Harris's COA for its supposed prestige in policy analysis (and again, regional transferability). Let me know if I'm completely mistaken about my assumptions! Unfortunately, I am unable to attend any Admitted Student Days, so if anyone went to any (esp. Sanford, Harris, and LBJ), I would appreciate hearing your impression of the schools/programs/cities!
  5. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Decision time: share your dilemma

    Honestly, I think it was the better funding offers from Heinz and Trachtenberg that helped. But maybe it would also help to create a worksheet that outlined COA for each school, and, assuming it's cheaper overall to attend another school, you could use that for leverage. I'm also looking to appeal for more funding from Duke, but I'm not too sure how to approach it since it's by far my best offer. If anyone has any tips, I'd appreciate hearing it!
  6. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Decision time: share your dilemma

    @ke7312 Thanks for your response! I think you're right about this. I also pretty much applied because I wanted a DC option. Interestingly enough, when I applied the first time last cycle, I visited GWU, American, and SAIS as an admitted student and didn't really like the atmosphere of any of them. It either means I didn't like the programs, or DC, or both--I still haven't figured out which! I'm definitely attracted to both Heinz and Harris because they are both quant and policy-focused. Like you, I am indeed interested in public sector/nonprofit work/think tank research. While I'd like to build my management skills for the nonprofit sector, as someone coming from a liberal arts background, I certainly have many gaps to fill in terms of hard, quantitative skills. I have also heard that Heinz is very quantitatively intense. Have you negotiated for more funding from Harris yet? Last application cycle I was offered 40% from Heinz and $10k from Harris. After negotiating last year, they raised it to 50% and $20k, respectively (and then to $25k for this cycle).
  7. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Decision time: share your dilemma

    Thank you for your response @cactus_taco! I actually deferred my Harris app last year, so I had an earlier deadline this cycle to update my application for scholarship reconsideration. Therefore, I have technically already been considered for more funding (though prior to Duke's offer) and was given $5k more ($20k to $25k). I was told by Admissions that they generally don't allow a second reconsideration, but that they would pass this new offer along and see what they can do. (Fingers crossed!) I also asked for 10k more, but they seemed doubtful that they could increase it by that much. Thanks @bac! I appreciate your insight and follow-up about school visits. I do agree that the odds of getting more funding later on is pretty low, especially since I've already had a hard time getting relevant work experience without a master's degree. (A catch-22 indeed.) I did visit GWU last year (though not during Admitted Student Day) and wasn't that impressed, though mostly because of the equally unenthused students I received a tour from/talked to. LBJ's appeal is that I can possibly live with family in Austin to reduce costs, but I do think that USC is a better school. On the other hand, while Price's location fits better with where I'd like to live, I can't seem to stay in one place for one reason or another, so Harris's name appeals to me for it's supposed attractiveness to employers across the U.S. (though this may be overstated). Basically, I'm a ball of undecided angst! Since we have similar target programs and offers, I'm definitely interested in your personal thought process and ultimate decision later, if you're willing to share!:)
  8. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Decision time: share your dilemma

    I also hope we can get this thread going! I've been completely in my head these last few weeks trying to decide which school to choose, and I even wonder if I should choose one at all. The amount of loans I expect to take out, even with some funding, just boggles my mind. If anyone has an opinion about this, I would appreciate hearing it. Coming from: Bay Area, California; but I am currently doing a Fulbright overseas until July. I plan to study Social Policy, specifically education and welfare policy. I hope to work in nonprofits/public sector or research think tank after graduation. Deciding between: Duke (Sanford), MPP - $32k + $4k assistantship U Chicago (Harris), MPP - $25k Carnegie Mellon (Heinz), MSPPM - 50% tuition USC (Price), MPP - 50% tuition George Washington (Trachtenberg), MPA - $20k UT-Austin (LBJ School), MPAff - No $$ Other factors: Unfortunately, since I am overseas, I won't be able to attend any Admitted Student Days. Honestly, my biggest deciding factor is minimizing debt, but I almost want someone to convince me otherwise. I have no family support and little savings, and I expect to take out the full cost (minus scholarships) in loans. I am still trying to negotiate funding for some schools, but it doesn't look too promising. Since this is my second time applying, with marginal increases in funding, I am considering pushing off graduate school until maybe years down the line, but I expect it to be more expensive, more competitive, and perhaps I won't get as much funding. How I'm leaning: I believe these schools all have strong MPP/MPA programs, and each appeal to me for different reasons. Harris appeals to me for its name and transferability across the U.S.; Heinz for it's strong quant/data science curriculum; Price for it's location on the West Coast (I prefer to be in the Bay Area post-grad); Trachtenberg for it's location and network in DC (where there are more orgs/nonprofits/gov't jobs); and Duke, obviously, for the stronger funding package. With no funding, I don't plan to attend LBJ. If anyone can provide some insight on comparing these programs, or whether these funding packages are competitive, or if you've visited these schools and especially liked/disliked them, or pretty much any opinion at all, I'd appreciate hearing it!
  9. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Duke Sanford 2019

    According to their 'Financial Aid Policies and Procedures Manual': "Pre-Award Appeals: Because we have limited scholarship funds available at the school, appeals of the scholarship award decisions are not applicable. If you feel you would not be able to join our program due to financial constraints you may send a letter explaining the situation to the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Admissions and Scholarships, and the Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and Student Affairs for consideration. Triggers for appeals typically involve involuntary loss of employment by the student or spouse, high medical expenses, or child or elder care. Students are instructed to provide documentation of the change in income or out-of-pocket expenses for a particular time period (typically a calendar year for income and academic year for expenses). Students would be notified of appeal decision by email or appointment. Any change to a financial aid award would be available for view on ACES as well." https://sanford.duke.edu/sites/sanford.duke.edu/files/images/mpp/MPP Financial Aid Manual 2018-19.pdf
  10. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Re-applying vs. Deferring

    Very cool! I'll have to ask around to see if there are similar opportunities in Taiwan. (And U of I as in Iowa? Just curious because I'm from Iowa lol.)
  11. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Heinz or Harris

    Just posted this in another thread, but I am wondering if anyone knows whether Heinz or Harris's deferrals are binding or not. I will likely re-apply next year to both, but if they are non-binding deferrals (like GWU Trachtenberg) then it may be less work for me to defer than re-apply.
  12. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Re-applying vs. Deferring

    I just received clarification from GWU Trachtenberg about their deferral process. Apparently theirs is non-binding with no deposit fee. I also do not have to pay an additional application fee next year. (I only have to re-submit my recs.) Which is great as it is less work for me! I believe I will have to reapply for the other schools though.
  13. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Re-applying vs. Deferring

    Thank you! I'm quite excited about it. What sort of extracurricular activities did you and your cohort participate in? I would consider volunteering, but I am also interested in something more academically enriching.
  14. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Re-applying vs. Deferring

    Thank you for your responses! After talking to each school about deferral vs. reapplying, they all have said that funding is not guaranteed either way, and that it depends on the pool of funds for the respective year as well as the incoming applicant cohort. Though GWU and Heinz did hint that they have never reduced a prospective student's funding offer in cases of deferral. I'm sort of (blindly) hoping that this is the same with reapplying. Either way, perhaps I can negotiate for at least the same amount of funding next year. After visiting each school (except Harris), I believe my plan will be to do the Fulbright and reapply to: Harris, Heinz, JHU SAIS, and Berkeley (maybe I can get in next time lol). Another concern I had was the time investment. Since it will take three years with the Fulbright and grad school, I will be 27 years old by the time I enter the work force (with no prior full time work experience since I have only been doing internships). With friends concerned about my 401k and starting salary level late in the game, I'm just trying to tell myself that when I'm 60 years old, I'll never wish that I had worked more. I'll only think about missed opportunities, like teaching abroad.
  15. MPA/MPP Applicant

    Re-applying vs. Deferring

    Hi everyone, I am currently in a rut thinking about my options for the Fall (as I am sure many of you are). If anyone has any advice regarding this, I would really appreciate hearing it. I have been accepted to these schools and programs, with the following financial aid funding per year: - CMU Heinz, MSPPM (50%, ~$24k) - Chicago Harris, MPP ($20k) - Johns Hopkins SAIS, MA IDEV (no funding) - GWU Trachtenberg, MPA ($20k) -American SPA, MPA ($10k) I have also been accepted for a Taiwan Fulbright ETA for the next year, so I am leaning toward either deferring a program or reapplying altogether. While it is appealing to defer and not have to worry about applications again (while in Taiwan), I am wondering if I might be more competitive for more funding if I reapplied to a few of the schools next cycle (and possibly renegotiate) as a candidate with the same profile PLUS a Fulbright ETA under my belt. I would rather not have to take out $80k+ in loans in the coming years, so any advice is appreciated!

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