grad school

That is depending on what you’re going to school for, of course. A new study done by the  New America Foundation shows that students are drowning in debt because of grad school. As someone who has gone through grad school, I was fortunate enough to have done it while working at a university and receiving a free education. But I can’t imagine leaving school with a MBA and $80K worth of debt and living off of ramen noodles for years.

From the Wall Street Journal:

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The typical debt load of borrowers leaving school with a master’s, medical, law or doctoral degree jumped an inflation-adjusted 43% between 2004 and 2012, according to a new report by the New America Foundation, a left-leaning Washington think tank. That translated into a median debt load—the point at which half of borrowers owed more and half owed less—of $57,600 in 2012.

The increases were sharper for those pursuing advanced degrees in the social sciences and humanities, versus professional degrees such as M.B.A.s or medical degrees that tend to yield greater long-term returns. The typical debt load of those earning a master’s in education showed some of the largest increases, rising 66% to $50,879. It climbed 54% to $58,539 for those earning a master of arts.

According to the Department of Education, 63 percent of  graduate borrowers that entered repayment in 2012 chose  a 10-year repayment plan, with the balance of borrowers repaying over a longer time-frame.

10 years!

And if you’re lucky, you’ve secured a job after finishing school, and even luckier if you don’t end up on the unemployment line shortly thereafter.

Education isn’t cheap in the United States, and it’s a crying shame.

Clutchettes, are you currently in debt because of grad school? Do you think your degree was worth it?

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  • This is one of the reasons why after getting my Bachelor’s degree I didn’t want to go on to grad school. I didn’t want any more debt. I am already in enough debt now. With grad school or any college degree you have to ask yourself if you go through the program and take on this entire debit will it pay off in the end because if it does not then you can be paying off student loans for the rest of your life. Also that income based repayment plan is such a trap.

  • 1Love

    Student loan debt disproportionately affects the Black community. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed regardless of education level, so we need to reevaluate the price of our education.

    My solutions are as follows:

    #1 – Everyone should apply to an HBCU for undergrad (All of us can’t go to HBCUs, but we can all apply and review the financial positions before selecting schools. Many of us turn down substantial/ full rides from top notch HBCUs to go to white schools – big mistake.)

    #2 – Big names are not worth it
    (Most employers do not care what school you attended. So why buy a big name that you do not need?)

    #3 – Your network can be more powerful than a graduate degree. (Spend more time networking with all groups of people and leverage that to get a new position. It is less costly than an graduate degree.)

    #4 – Get certifications rather than advanced degrees.
    (Certifications can be low to no cost with self-study and open just as many doors as another degree.)

  • velociraptor

    Just like the author, I earned my masters while working for the university. All of my tuition was waived and I only had to pay for class and registration fees. If anyone is thinking about going to grad school you better work for the university, get a graduate assistantship,etc.

  • harriet

    As a current grad student, I am very concerned about debt, however, I needed a grad degree in order to earn more money in any field. I went to grad school because most professions require an advanced degree if you want to make more money and move up. I kept my costs relatively low by going to public university and by moving to a state with a very low cost of living.

    Education is an investment and I think that it is worth the cost. Rising costs are related to the huge cuts that have been made to educational funding by the state and federal government. We also need to reform the student loan system. It’s ridiculous that Wall Street businesses and banks pay less interest on federal loans than students.

    My last comment is that if we want to change the media narrative about African Americans (men and women) then we need public scholars. WEB DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, bell hooks. We need advocates in the academy. Black Studies as a discipline came out the University of California and has had a huge impact on curriculum at all levels.