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I have been accepted to two MFA programs and am facing a dilemma in deciding between the two. I would love to hear any advice anyone has to offer. The first program is an MFA in Interaction Design from the School of visual arts and the second is an MFA in Design+Technology from Parsons.

SVA is my dream school and definitely has the upper hand in terms of quality of faculty, and student work.

Parsons on the other hand offered me a scholarship worth 50% of my tuition. It is still a good program, but i have some serious reservations about it, namely its size (90 per class as opposed to 15 for SVA) and that i have been somewhat underwhelmed by the quality of the majority of student work.

My current employer has been kind enough to offer me a part time position so i can at least count on covering a good portion of my living expenses while at school.

Part of me thinks i should just bite the bullet and go for SVA. The prospects of landing a well paying job right out of school are very high, and the faculty there are truly some of the best practitioners in the field today.

But then again, 40K in student loans sounds a lot better than 70K in student loans

Any thoughts?

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It may be different for theology because, depending on your interests, you may not be a good fit for certain schools. Personally I have been offered a similar scenario: 60% scholarship at a school that is NOT my dream program nor is a good fit, 22% grant at dream program (if I get unwaitlisted). If I get off the wait list for my program I will go despite the scholarship difference and I am in theology.

Granted, my situation already includes an outrageous amount of undergraduate debt for myself and my wife so we were always planning on being on the income-based repayment anyways. Extra debt makes no difference on repayment unless you make a tremendous amount of money and are actually able to pay the entire debt off.

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I would email SVA telling them about your other offer and see if they can give you some funding. You could also ask your POI at SVA if she/he knows of any RA positions to further offset the costs.

If SVA is unwilling to give you any funding I would not advise becoming so in debt for grad school. Actually either option seems to require more debt than I would ever advise. I guess you have to ask yourself if you see the MFA from either school giving you the earning potential to pay off these loans quickly.

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I responded to you on the freakout thread before i saw this.

I will probably be attending the Parsons program. I'm really attracted to the focus on social justice/public engagement that the new school seems to apply to every program. Normally I'd say go with the money since both are great programs, but the fact that you say "much more" makes me think you might regret going to Parsons if it's that clear to you that SVA is a better fit. Maybe tell SVA that Parsons gave you money and that you really want to attend SVA but you're not sure if you can make that decision financially. This depends on your financial situation obviously, but I probably wouldn't worry *too* much about the money. Unlike other MFA programs, you probably won't have too much trouble finding a job in your field after this one. Where are you from? Can you visit NYC easily?

After reading this longer post I'm even more inclined to go with SVA for you. Years from now after you pay off that 30k difference, do you think you'll regret choosing SVA? It doesn't sound like it. I would just ask their admissions people about getting financial aid, and also visit both schools again to be sure.

Edited by minderbinder22
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