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How much is too much to take out in loans??


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Hi guys! I am stoked to plan my future after being accepted into a graduate program, however I am getting a little nervous with the amount of loans I realistically have to take out. Personally, after completing my program I estimate to be in debt about 70k (including housing and other expenses not just tuition). Unfortunately I wasn't awarded any scholarships/grants. I am curious, is this typical? I hear other students say to stay away from expensive schools, where does 70k land on the scale? I was also accepted to another school that will probably cost me 35k-45k total, but it is not in an appealing location and I am not in love with the program. I'm wondering if people think it's worth sucking it up for the sake of student loan debt, or if a more expensive, desirable school is worth the cost. Thanks!!

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If you're looking for a personal opinion and not something objective... for me it would depend whether it's 70k for a MA or PhD. 70k for a MA (which I assume is 1 or 2 years) would be too much for me. While for a PhD (which is average 5~6 years), although 70k is still a lot, I could at least try to mitigate by finding TA/RA positions during my time there.

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I think this depends entirely on what the degree is in and what you expect to be doing - and how much money you expect to me making - after you graduate.

If this was an MBA or an MPP or an MPA, I'd say that $70K isn't bad. That's how much good programs in those fields cost; they're prestige-driven fields, which means that a prestigious (expensive) degree can translate into a better job and higher earnings. But most importantly, I think a new graduate in those fields can expect to make a salary that's at least in that general range, and so would be able to repay that kind of salary without going hungry. An MBA from Harvard or Columbia or Chicago, for example, could expect to make $100-150K+ depending on where they go afterwards, with a good salary outlook from there on. MPA graduates from top schools can expect $70-80K to start.

But if it's an MSW, or an MEd? That changes things. The typical social worker, even with an MSW, may start in the $45-55K range, and may struggle to repay a $70K loan balance. A teacher with a master's degree is also probably not going to be making $70K for several more years - and if they are, they're probably living in some of the more expensive cities in the country. Those are also not fields that care overly much about prestige, so getting a Columbia MEd may not net you a higher salary or a better job than getting one from your local public university (with the exception of teaching at prestigious private/independent schools, perhaps).

 
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2 hours ago, juilletmercredi said:

I think this depends entirely on what the degree is in and what you expect to be doing - and how much money you expect to me making - after you graduate.

If this was an MBA or an MPP or an MPA, I'd say that $70K isn't bad. That's how much good programs in those fields cost; they're prestige-driven fields, which means that a prestigious (expensive) degree can translate into a better job and higher earnings. But most importantly, I think a new graduate in those fields can expect to make a salary that's at least in that general range, and so would be able to repay that kind of salary without going hungry. An MBA from Harvard or Columbia or Chicago, for example, could expect to make $100-150K+ depending on where they go afterwards, with a good salary outlook from there on. MPA graduates from top schools can expect $70-80K to start.

But if it's an MSW, or an MEd? That changes things. The typical social worker, even with an MSW, may start in the $45-55K range, and may struggle to repay a $70K loan balance. A teacher with a master's degree is also probably not going to be making $70K for several more years - and if they are, they're probably living in some of the more expensive cities in the country. Those are also not fields that care overly much about prestige, so getting a Columbia MEd may not net you a higher salary or a better job than getting one from your local public university (with the exception of teaching at prestigious private/independent schools, perhaps).

 

To second that, it depends on what your likely career outcomes are. If you have job security + low income job... it probably isn't a good idea. I don't know enough about audiology grad programs (I think that is your grad program). If it is sub 65K out of grad school, 70K is probably a bad idea. If it is more than 65K, it might be okay. However... this depends on your job security potential as well. As in is your likely job recession proof?

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  • 3 weeks later...

My two years of grad school will have a similar price (60k at the absolute most) because I will be staying on campus for at least the first year. I’ve seen people talking about their loans and yours is similar to others. The SLP program I chose was the cheapest option and the only one I was able to visit and really get to know. The school I LOVED because of location, I didn’t get to know because of COVID so I just threw up my hands and went with the cheaper option and the school I already liked. I went to an undergrad that I hated with everything in me and I really didn’t do well. That’s why I say pick the school you like the most if you’re ok with 70k in loans. If you can do the 45k school and be fine then of course do that. You know yourself so you know what you’re capable of. We have a good job outlook and if you work part time that’s even better.

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