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Hi all, I posted this in the decision thread as well but nobody seems to be replying over there. Maybe you guys can give me some advice :)

 

Hi everyone,

 

Just received admissions decisions for all the Fall 2014 MA programs I applied to, and I'm having a really tough time deciding between Columbia SIPA (I got into the MIA and MPA in Development Practice), and University of Denver's Korbel School (MA in International Development).

 

SIPA offered me $20,000 for the first year (is it safe to assume I'd be offered the same amount or more for the second year?), while Korbel is offering the full tuition Sie fellowship. Assuming I receive the same $20,000 for my second year at SIPA, the difference in total cost between the two programs would be $60-70,000 over two years.

 

Columbia is my first choice, and its ranked higher than UD (not to mention the fact that my girlfriend and I currently live in NYC), but is it worth spending that much more money on a degree from SIPA when I have a full tuition offer on the table at another very strong program?

 

Help! I need advice

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Take the money.

 

My feeling is that students generally overestimate the importance brand name and underestimate the effects of cost. This is doubly important when considering a degree in a lower paying field like development. $70,000 on your back is likely to severely curtail your job choices post graduation.

 

UD is a strong program and if you are a motivated student, you should be able to get just as good an education there. This isn't a comparison between University of Alaska and Columbia after all. 

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