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Columbia SIPA with $25K fellowship or Hopkins SAIS with $15K fellowship?


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It would help if we knew what the difference between those two acronyms was.

I'm quite certain most will tell you to take the Columbia offer; be aware though that a 15K fellowship in Bmore is worth about 23K depending where you like in NY (it is in fact 27K if you live near Columbia, which of course I doubt you would).

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Depends on what you want to do, there's no "right answer", both are amazing programs.

Apart from that, finances will probably come out to be the same, since SIPA is 46k in tuition, and living cost in DC is a little lower than in NY.

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I think that from the financial perspective you need to look at what the cumulative cost would be. Depending on how you frugally you live SAIS COA is $55-60K/yr, and when you include $15K/yr in fellowships then your debt burden will be around $90K ($60K-15K *2). SIPA is $70-75K/yr, so that makes its debt burden $90K-$100K.

Since the fellowships just even the playing field, I think that you should look at the academic/life perspective a bit more and base your decision off that. You say you like the programs equally; well, what specifically do you like about these programs and what do you think will be enhanced by the area you live in? If you like the World Bank, you might want to head for DC and SAIS. If you like the UN or a major NYC-based NGO, you might want SIPA. You might like the idea of being on a campus vs a satellite location (I've been to SAIS; the JHU DC location is a couple of buildings, no campus feel to it). Do you see a faculty member at either school you'd love to take a class from?

I would strongly suggest getting in touch with each school and asking to be put in contact with a current student that you can talk to about these factors. Since they've offered you merit aid, they ought to be pretty accomodating (congrats on that by the way; I've heard getting money from SIPA is like squeezing juice from a stone).

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