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NYU's MPA in Public Management & Policy or Panthéon-Sorbonne MA in Public Affairs?

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Hi everyone! I'm a French student, currently doing an exchange program at NYU, as part of the first year of my MA in Political Science at Panthéon-Sorbonne University. While being there, I seized the opportunity to apply to NYU Wagner's MPA in Public & Non-profit Management & Policy, and got in. 

I now have to choose between finishing my MA in Political Science (and choosing the Public Affairs - Territorial Public Action specialization), or accepting NYU's offer

I applied to NYU because of my strong interest in urban, environmental, racial, and socio-economic inequality policies, and wish to work for the City of New York on the short-term: those three components being rarely combined in French Masters. I also chose to apply to NYU because my current French MA is really focused on theoretical administrative work, and doesn't provide tools for policy analysis, or in-depth minority/environmental/urban policy work. Therefore, though my short-term goal would be to work for the next 2/5 years for NYC, my long-term goal is to come back to Paris and put those theoretical insights and skills to its benefit. However, though I come from a working-class family, I didn't receive any scholarship for NYU's MPA. 

NYU Wagner argues that most of its graduates end up having an annual salary of $74,400. In France, the average annual salary of people graduating from Panthéon-Sorbonne is $20,100. As you all surely know, it's not that French people are extremely poor, but rather that, the French State being a wellfare state (contrary to the US), it is actually absorbing several living-costs (Healthcare, education etc.). Now, the main issue is that I have no idea of what is considered a "good" salary in the US, nor do I know what the usual costs one should expect to pay while living in NYC.

Therefore, considering the high probability of me taking a $60,000 loan to pay for NYU, would you say that a $74,400 annual salary would enable me to pay off my debt in 5 years (with a rhythm of 800$/month), while living "comfortably" in NYC? What are the other costs a foreigner should expect while living in the US (housing, commute, and food aside)? I honestly don't want to spend the next decade feeling anxious about paying off a degree which may not even allow me to be "well" paid. 

Thanks for your help everyone!! I have to give a final answer to NYU by May 15th, and am incredibly anxious about this!

Edited by alexiacel
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Congrats on getting into NYU for public administration which is a fantastic school and a fantastic program. A starting salary of around $74,000 for a graduate MPA, with perhaps the exception of Harvard HKs or Yale, is a very good starting salary. The only problem is that $74,000 is worth far less in NYC than in many other places in the U.S. and therefore the starting salary may be deceiving if you correct/control for living costs. In regards to getting a job in NYC in city government, you would probably have to network very hard to get a job, especially if you dont have dual French -U.S. citizenship and therefore need a Visa or resident status to stay in the U.S. A problem that many foreign nationals have when they go abroad for graduate school. How does a graduate degree from NYU look to employers in France? If something doesnt work out and for some reason you have to move back to France before your 2 to 5 year post graduation plan is implemented I would want to be reasonably sure that the NYU degree would be well received in France. Especially with 60,000 in debt. That's just my very limited two cents, and best of luck with your studies and career goals!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for the info. NYU is quite valued in France, but I admit I would have hoped to get both my Sorbonne Master's and NYU's MPA... And I do have to drop out of Sorbonne's Masters, if I want to be guaranteed to receive a scholarship from Wagner. In any case, thank you for taking the time to provide me some indications! 

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