One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether it’s worth the cost of tuition to get an advanced degree. A few posts on that topic:
- Is business school worth it?
- Do you regret getting an MBA?
- Get a job or a second degree?
- The benefits of life application
- Paying down student loan debt through volunteering
Now a recent survey about Millennials and Debt sparked the discussion again The survey conducted by WellsFargo shows that paying off student loan debt is the top concern of millennials. More than half of millennials (64%) say they financed school through student loans as compared with only 29% of boomers who financed through loans…so for many it is truly a unique definer of today’s 20-something life.
It’s not surprising with total student debt now topping $1 trillion. Anu Mather, an Associate at Neuberger Berman and member of the Highwater Women Leadership Council, added her perspective to the conversation as a millennial who aspires to higher education but is not going to apply due to the financial burden that comes with it. Is debt turning around the trend to advanced degrees? Would love some more opinions. Chime in on the comments or via the submit a story link in the right column.
Graduate Degrees in the Era of Rising Debt – by Anu Mathur
Obviously pursuing a graduate degree depends on your industry and career choice. While a graduate degree is something I’ve always aspired towards, my fear of getting into overwhelming student debt is definitely a top reason for not pursuing higher education at this time. Instead I’m studying for a rigorous professional certification which in my industry (asset management) is just as highly regarded as a graduate degree and is thankfully a fraction of the cost.
While I believe that education is knowledge and knowledge is power, I find it hard to justify spending upwards of $100,000 on tuition. And let’s not forget that it’s not just the tuition; there’s the expensive standardized test prep courses, the applications, travel costs to visit schools, room and board, plus the opportunities to travel and make memories with classmates – all of which cost a lot of money. Add that list to the tuition rates and 1-2 years of forgone wages, and the whole experience could cost you several hundred thousand dollars. That price tag is definitely beyond my personal comfort zone.
For those like myself choosing not to go to graduate school right now, we also must face the realty that while it may be fine to forgo the opportunity for the time being, but when it comes to searching for new career opportunities in the future, a master’s degree may be a minimum requirement, and that’s when we may be kicking ourselves.”
A great resource on Student Loan Debt. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau