Is Grad School Worth The Money?

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Is Grad School Worth The Money?

Postby Jack » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:48 am

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Re: Is Grad School Worth The Money?

Postby Rich Douglas » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:22 am

Yes, it depends. When answering the question, can one....

....predict future earnings (and, thus calculate an expected ROI)?

....calculate the opportunity costs (what you would have gained with that money had you not spent it on school)? the intangible benefits (pride, sense of accomplishment, appreciation by others, etc.)?

For example, let's take a look at opportunity costs. If you took the money you'd spend on graduate school and spent it elsewhere (or invested it), what would it get you (or earn)? This is complicated by the fact that so many graduate students obtain loans--loans not available for use in this scenario. Not much opportunity cost if you wouldn't have had the money without going to school.

Any investment involves risk. But if you're not willing to invest in yourself, does that say something about you and your prospects elsewhere?

Let's take a guy who went to work out of high school, never attending college. He's 50 now, what would he be earning? Let's say he had a pretty good blue collar career and was now, say, a grocery store manager. What am he making? According to a Wikipedia article, about $50K. Instead, his education led him (so far) to a GS-15 (step 10) on top of a military retirement. That's, um, a lot more. Just one hypothetical example.
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Re: Is Grad School Worth The Money?

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:25 pm

Money really isn't everything.

I think that the sole really solid reason to pursue academic (as opposed to professional) graduate education is an abiding fascination with the subject matter coupled with an intense desire to learn more about it, whatever it might be.

The ROI model works better in connection with professional education but even there, money isn't everything. Don't even think about getting a J.D. if money is very important to you; investment banking with an M.B.A. is far more lucrative than practicing any sort of law at virtually any level. Always has been and always will be.
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