Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Graduate School The Right Path For You?

By Kaitlin Lanier

Many college students believe that graduate school is the smartest path to take after graduation. Are they right? With the sluggish economy in a raging recession, is graduate school actually worth the investment? According to Beth Ingram, a professor of economics at the University of Iowa, students that attend graduate school will probably end up with higher salaries in the long run. She continued by saying that graduate degrees definitely pay off in terms of income, although students should not expect to receive significantly higher salaries the moment they graduate.

There has been much debate about the impact of a graduate degree, resulting in the Graduate Management Admission Council sending out a study that says MBA graduates average a starting salary of $70,000, a $20,000 difference from the $50,000 average earned before the extra years of school. However, even if graduate school pays off in the long run in terms of income, there is still a lingering question: are the extra years in school and potential extra money worth the outstanding costs?

The cost of graduate school has risen drastically, forcing potential students to consider all of their options. Depending on the school and the type of degree desired, a year in school can cost somewhere from $38,000 to $241,000. According to the Virginia-based American Medical Student Association, the typical medical-school graduate will start his/her career about $150,000 in debt and spend 20 to 30 years paying it off. Therefore, the decision to attend graduate school should not be a quick decision. Students interested in continuing school should be very focused on what their future plans are and proceed into graduate school with clear intentions and forceful purpose. It is such an expensive risk, so having specific goals can save money in the long run. Therefore, graduate school should be considered carefully, with a student’s future in mind.

Graduate Degrees Pay Off in Higher Salaries by Sara Faiwell
Betting on Grad School by Shelly Banjo
Your Education: Is Graduate School Worth It? By Matthew Paulson
Are Graduate Studies Right For You? By Indiana University

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