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aslabchu

Indiana University Bloomington SPEA 2016

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Figured I'd make a thread. Who's been admitted and is thinking about attending?

I suppose I'm in that group, myself, but I need to hear back about funding first. It's a three-way battle between IUB, Evans, and AU for my heart (which is conveniently located in my wallet for this analogy). I do like that IUB has tons of different funding options between Service Corps, a bunch of fellowships, what sounds like a bunch of assistantships, non-assistant jobs with tuition remission, and the usual scholarships. Who knows how those actually pan out, but there's a lot of potential there.

Edited by aslabchu

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I've been admitted with a fellowship. I applied early--way back in November--and I originally heard about my admission offer in December. I'm a bit hesitant to accept their offer however for two reasons: UT Austin's full tuition offer when combined with an assistantship is likely to leave a smaller financial gap, and I'm still deciding between two fields to enter straight out of undergrad.

For your information, while some admissions officers say that a 75% tuition remission is their typical highest offer, the "75%" seems to be thrown around loosely. I called them about my offer and they said that the two-thirds tuition remission might technically be their higher offer this year--they really mean to say that "roughly 75%" is their highest offer apparently. I'm not sure if that's actually the case as there may have been other students given higher awards that the representative wasn't aware of, but she subsequently noted that 75% remission is "pretty close" to the two-thirds remission that I received, indicating how 75% is just a rough guideline.

Best of luck to you on the merit aid and admissions process!

Edited by AAAAAAAA

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I was wondering if anyone knows about the MSES side specifically? I know that SPEA itself is highly regarded, but without the MPA specialization, does anyone know about rankings, quality, regard for later employment, etc for the Environmental Science focus alone? Any information at all would be super helpful! Thanks

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I'm deciding between IUB and UT (for a program outside of the LBJ school). I'm particularly attracted to the fact that you get 2.5 years of work experience with the Service Corp Fellowship since my primary objective is to find a job after graduation. But besides that I didn't get a whole lot of aid so I'm going to try negotiating with them on Monday using another offer where I got full tuition coverage + GRA. I'm also still waiting to hear back about funding from UT.

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Just accepted my offer. Anybody else coming to Bloomington? There have got to be a couple of you. It's kind of odd how unpopular SPEA is on this forum, really.

Edited by aslabchu

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17 hours ago, aslabchu said:

Just accepted my offer. Anybody else coming to Bloomington? There have got to be a couple of you. It's kind of odd how unpopular SPEA is on this forum, really.

If one looks at metrics, it makes sense. SPEA is attractive for in state applicants with Indiana goals. The out of state tuition rate makes it more expensive for non-residents and they think twice given other options. Incidentally, SPEA's funding is problematic compared to other better funded public research schools (LBJ, Ford, Humphrey, Wisconsin). Students with federal government goals or IR interests gravitate towards high profile D.C, New England and NYC programmes.

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1 hour ago, CakeTea said:

If one looks at metrics, it makes sense. SPEA is attractive for in state applicants with Indiana goals. The out of state tuition rate makes it more expensive for non-residents and they think twice given other options. Incidentally, SPEA's funding is problematic compared to other better funded public research schools (LBJ, Ford, Humphrey, Wisconsin). Students with federal government goals or IR interests gravitate towards high profile D.C, New England and NYC programmes.

What metrics are you looking at? And which schools is SPEA more expensive than? It's certainly not more expensive than Humphrey, for example, which is virtually the same cost, and it's a damn sight cheaper than those east coast schools you're referencing. I'm wondering if you're confused as to how much SPEA costs. It's about 54k in tuition for both years. From my experience this cycle, I'd say that's average, and potentially on the low end. For example, Washington Evans is actually 72k, and a not insignificant amount of schools follow that pricing scheme, unfortunately.

That's not even getting into cost of living, where Bloomington's is really low—and the others are virtually all quite high. Also, I had no problems getting funding, and my application was by no means the strongest, so I'm not sure I'm convinced there. My suspicion is that other people got some pretty good offers, and asking around has seemed to bear that out.

That said, I have midwest-type goals, so SPEA makes sense for me. I don't want to work in Indiana, but I want to work in a neighboring state whose best program was too policy-minded for my goals (the Ford school, actually, which doesn't fit with my goals very well. I have essentially zero interest in policy, whereas they seem to have little interest in admin). I could see how people who want to work in the east or west wouldn't want to go to IU, though. But Humphrey and Wisconsin should really be in that same boat, so I'm curious as to why you endorse them over IU. Is it really just because they're better-funded, in the absence of other factors?

Edited by aslabchu

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1 hour ago, CakeTea said:

If one looks at metrics, it makes sense. SPEA is attractive for in state applicants with Indiana goals. The out of state tuition rate makes it more expensive for non-residents and they think twice given other options. Incidentally, SPEA's funding is problematic compared to other better funded public research schools (LBJ, Ford, Humphrey, Wisconsin). Students with federal government goals or IR interests gravitate towards high profile D.C, New England and NYC programmes.

I don't think OOS tuition is as big a factor as the lack of an international relations program anywhere near the strength of other top MPA/MPP programs. There are plenty of SPEA grads in DC though, as it has the largest alumni network of any public affairs program. Beyond the IR angle, SPEA (along with Georgia) can come across as a fish out of water when listed next to the likes of HKS, WWS, SIPA, Ford, Maxwell, etc. The program will always be fighting an uphill battle against the programs it is peer-ranked against, and it is typically easier to get into than most of the other top ranked programs as it favors demonstrated public sector work experience over hard admission numbers, but the quality of the program itself from a domestic angle is very strong and prepares students just as well as these other schools. And just as importantly, the faculty is top rate. Beyond the program itself, IU has the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, founded by Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, and SPEA's graduate program just received a hefty donation from graduate and former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. 

MPA/MPP rankings are a bit hard to quantify due to the lack of IR consideration (by US News), and how some programs like IU do not offer an MPP, but instead offer a more quant-heavy MPA. Every school tackles their government affairs programs differently, so what a person may be looking for may be found in one school's MPA program, at another school like GWU (which has Elliot and Trachtenberg) it can be split up fairly differently. I wouldn't get too caught up in the rankings, as I think just about everyone would objectively put WWS first due to the overall strength of its student body, brand name, COA, and admissions criteria, but you also have to keep in mind that there are non-brand name schools with programs that can compete with the top schools in the country in a given area. SPEA fits into this category, and regardless of where it truly fits in a ranking, the program has more than done enough to warrant itself as a top public affairs program. 

More importantly than the brand name of the school is how the specifics of the program align with your individual goals and how the COA factors in. . 

Edited by Mr. Government

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11 hours ago, aslabchu said:

What metrics are you looking at? And which schools is SPEA more expensive than? It's certainly not more expensive than Humphrey, for example, which is virtually the same cost, and it's a damn sight cheaper than those east coast schools you're referencing. I'm wondering if you're confused as to how much SPEA costs. It's about 54k in tuition for both years. From my experience this cycle, I'd say that's average, and potentially on the low end. For example, Washington Evans is actually 72k, and a not insignificant amount of schools follow that pricing scheme, unfortunately.

That's not even getting into cost of living, where Bloomington's is really low—and the others are virtually all quite high. Also, I had no problems getting funding, and my application was by no means the strongest, so I'm not sure I'm convinced there. My suspicion is that other people got some pretty good offers, and asking around has seemed to bear that out.

That said, I have midwest-type goals, so SPEA makes sense for me. I don't want to work in Indiana, but I want to work in a neighboring state whose best program was too policy-minded for my goals (the Ford school, actually, which doesn't fit with my goals very well. I have essentially zero interest in policy, whereas they seem to have little interest in admin). I could see how people who want to work in the east or west wouldn't want to go to IU, though. But Humphrey and Wisconsin should really be in that same boat, so I'm curious as to why you endorse them over IU. Is it really just because they're better-funded, in the absence of other factors?

No, I am not confused at all, just look at the numbers. I looked at SPEA and it does not work for me. Total out of state tuition:

Humphrey charges out of state students $50,700 total. Twin Cities are more urban and offer more internship and networking opportunities.

TAMU Bush has the policy to give all admits out of state waiver, this makes it $22,000 total. This was confirmed by the admissions manager. Possibly the most affordable MPP.

UTexas LBJ: $49,600

Uni of Georgia: $50,000

Even UCLA Luskin costs $56,000.

In some previous posts, admits at SPEA and similar programs would receive same or even more generous funding at peer school.

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43 minutes ago, CakeTea said:

UTexas LBJ: $49,600

 

At the LBJ school, the MPAff degree requires 48 credits. To complete 12 credits in a semester, out of state students must pay $10,267, which amounts to $41,068 in tuition over four semesters.

Edited by AAAAAAAA

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14 minutes ago, AAAAAAAA said:

At the LBJ school, the MPAff degree requires 48 credits. To complete 12 credits in a semester, out of state students must pay $10,267, which amounts to $41,068 in tuition over four semesters.

Thanks for the correction, my fault. This makes LBJ even more affordable.

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Most of these programs offer merit-based aid, credit for work experience, financial-based and credit-based research positions, university employment, etc. If you're paying full tuition for the maximum required credits at any school you're doing something wrong.

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I want to circle back to my primary objection: SPEA is $54,000 at sticker price. That's very much comparable to those other programs. So if you're going to argue that people shouldn't attend SPEA, that cannot be your main point. After all, if SPEA is too much at 54, surely that makes several of those other schools you've listed too much as well. 

Also, SPEA is a mpa program, but yet you seem primarily interested in mpp programs. Could that be the source of your discontent? Mpa and mpp programs generally have different focuses. Personally, Ford's policy-minded focus turned me off; there weren't enough professional development type courses for my liking. On the other hand, SPEA has relatively few mandatory policy courses, and that's very appealing to me.

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13 minutes ago, aslabchu said:

I want to circle back to my primary objection: SPEA is $54,000 at sticker price. That's very much comparable to those other programs. So if you're going to argue that people shouldn't attend SPEA, that cannot be your main point. After all, if SPEA is too much at 54, surely that makes several of those other schools you've listed too much as well. 

Also, SPEA is a mpa program, but yet you seem primarily interested in mpp programs. Could that be the source of your discontent? Mpa and mpp programs generally have different focuses. Personally, Ford's policy-minded focus turned me off; there weren't enough professional development type courses for my liking. On the other hand, SPEA has relatively few mandatory policy courses, and that's very appealing to me.

Some programs offer MPAs (public administration) and MPPs (public policy). SPEA offers one MPA degree (public affairs) that allows students to focus in policy analysis, essentially making it an MPP if you choose to go that route.

Browsing CakeTea's posts, it looks like he(?) is aiming for international affairs at Elliot, which isn't even an MPA/MPP program at GW, but it is at Bush. CakeTea's goals rightly do not align with what SPEA offers, but your goals similarly do not align with CakeTea's. Bad fit =/= bad program.

Since you're asking about other students, I'm transitioning into SPEA's MPA program full-time from a part-time SPEA Connect student to do a focus in energy. I'll have gotten the core classes out of the way and will be focusing entirely on energy when I get there. I've spoken with people in the energy consulting field and ran SPEA's energy focus curriculum past them, and they said it checks out very well. So in my case, an international affairs program is completely useless for my goals.

Edited by Mr. Government

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On 3/28/2016 at 0:55 AM, Windmills said:

Anyone attending the SPEA Experience Day this Friday?

What were people's impressions from Experience Day? Did it make or break things?

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5 hours ago, aslabchu said:

What were people's impressions from Experience Day? Did it make or break things?

I thought they represented various areas of study within the program well and the potential for success in those concentrations after graduating. I wasn't particularly blown away or anything, but I did get a good impression from the day about the program and the community and felt like I could be successful and fairly happy there.

My only personal issue is that I don't like the small college town feel from what I saw of Bloomington, especially compared to the other, larger cities of other programs I was accepted to. I do think SPEA's program is probably the best program for me—but maybe not necessarily by a landslide, though I have no plans on staying there after graduation whereas I can see myself settling down in another city where I was offered admission. 

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10 hours ago, Windmills said:

I thought they represented various areas of study within the program well and the potential for success in those concentrations after graduating. I wasn't particularly blown away or anything, but I did get a good impression from the day about the program and the community and felt like I could be successful and fairly happy there.

My only personal issue is that I don't like the small college town feel from what I saw of Bloomington, especially compared to the other, larger cities of other programs I was accepted to. I do think SPEA's program is probably the best program for me—but maybe not necessarily by a landslide, though I have no plans on staying there after graduation whereas I can see myself settling down in another city where I was offered admission. 

I was a little surprised at how small Bloomington feels. If you live even remotely close to downtown, it truly feels like your entire world is about 4-5 miles across. But then I look at the stats and see Blooming has 70,000 people. I wonder where they're all hiding.

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