UNIVARSITY.ORG | How to Know If You Should Get a Masters Degree
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08 Aug How to Know If You Should Get a Masters Degree

Are you thinking about pursuing an advanced degree? Continuing your education can help you achieve your professional goals as well as your financial goals, but it can also put you in a financial hole. Here are some important points to consider before deciding whether an advanced degree is a good match for you.

Are you thinking about pursuing an advanced degree? Continuing your education can help you achieve your professional goals as well as your financial goals, but it can also put you in a financial hole. Here are some important points to consider before deciding whether an advanced degree is a good match for you.

What is your plan?

It seems obvious, but after 7 years of working with potential graduate students, I discovered that it is not so common. In short, before deciding if you should continue your education, it is important that you have a definite reason to pursue a degree. “I always wanted one,” is not a good reason. Most people who said this to me never completed their training program. There are two main reasons that they don’t finish… time and money. In this article, we are going to focus on everyone’s favorite topic…money.

How much?

One of the main reasons why higher education should be approached with a clear plan is to come up with ideas for how you will pay tuition, fees, living costs, etc. Return on investment should not be specified only in terms of money, although that should be one of the most important points in your decision.

The cost of a Masters degree from a quality school that is regionally accredited can cost $ 10,000 and beyond. Far beyond!

Getting a Student Loan

One of the most common mistakes I see is that the student loan, is completely over used. According to studentaid.ed.gov, students may borrow up to $18,500 annually by taking out Federal Stafford loans.

Of the $18,500, only $8,500 can be subsidized, and interest rates are currently around 6.8%. The total amount of Stafford loan graduate students are able to take out is $138,500. It’s clear that student loans can add up quickly, especially if the loan is going towards the cost of living when you’re in school.

Since receiving federal financial assistance is quick and fairly simple, it can be tempting to justify entering into a lot of debt. According to Finaid.org, the average student graduates with $25,000 in loans. Many students are still carrying the loan for their undergraduate degree and stack up even more loans in grad school. It is clear to see how these loans can get people into a big mess if there is no plan in place.

Make sure you have a clear plan for what a degree means to you in terms of how much more money you can make, professional growth, and career opportunities. If you saved up for a master’s degree, congratulations, you’re ahead of the game. Otherwise, be creative and find a solution to pay all tuition and fees up front. It will pay off many times for you in the long term.

Training and ROI

If you have already invested, you know the term ROI or return on investment. Investors want to know what their return on investment will be and how long it will take for their return. If you are considering a Masters degree, you should do the same.

Here’s a quick exercise to determine the ROI of your education. This is not a magic formula, but at least it will put things in perspective for you.

1st – Write down what your tuition and fees will total. This includes: tuition, books and the cost of school resources that you may have to pay, including: parking, library fees, etc. (most candidates think only education in terms of tuition.)

2nd – Note how much money you plan to make on top of your current salary each year as a direct result of getting your master’s degree.

3rd – Divide the amount your education will cost by the amount of extra money you will earn.

Example: If your Masters degree and fees cost $30,000, and you will make $7,000 more each year as a direct result of earning a master’s degree.

$30,000 divided by $7,000 = about 4 and a half years to start earning a return on your education investment.

This is obviously a quick overview, so you have an understanding of what your degree can do for you and how long it will take to earn what you paid for your education.

Money is not everything!

As noted above, there is more to think about than money, but this is a good starting point for reflection and planning. What other things should be considered before starting a Master’s degree?



Drew Morgan

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