Is Graduate School Worth the Cost?

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The pandemic is causing labor force tumult the likes of which we have not seen. We really don’t know where this is going. But what we do know is that something is shifting, and standing pat is not an option. Perhaps graduate school is in order so that you can gain more skills and raise your competitive profile.

However, in addition to the time it takes to complete a graduate degree, education is not cheap. In fact, the cost of higher education, in general, has dominated lots of headlines lately. You can easily pay $100,000 for a two-year full-time graduate program.

So, is a graduate school worth the cost? Let us see.

Just What is Graduate School?

A graduate school awards advanced academic degrees generally to those who already have a college degree.

What is Expected of a Grad Student?

It’s fair to say that since grad students have college experience, more is expected of them in general. The bar will be raised. For example, remember all those undergrad prerequisites of various and sundry subjects? Well, in grad school, for better or worse, you get to train all your attention on a specific subject. That means that you’re expected to not only take in information and become more knowledgeable, but also to perform investigations, make novel discoveries and be a top-shelf scholar.

The other side to this is that grad school doesn’t involve exploring what you might be interested in as a career. So, if you’re unsure what you want to do, perhaps advanced education isn’t right for you, at least not right now. This is not the time for dabbling.

What About Debt?

Students typically must borrow to be able to pay tuition and living expenses. In fact, according to US News, grad student loans account for 40% of all federal loans issued annually. The good news is that graduate student loan interest rates are lower with services like Juno, which negotiates with lenders for the best terms.

Students can also try for scholarships, grants, academic fellowships and help from their employer. But chances are, you’re not going to be able to get around borrowing, so make sure you get the best rates possible.

What About Potential Earnings?

It is true that if you have an advanced sheepskin, you’ll likely make more than those who don’t. Two years ago, a bachelor’s degree would net you a full-time job that paid a median of $66,536 annually. That figure leapt to $81,636 for a master’s degree and $113,578 for a doctoral degree. Those with a professional degree such as in law or medicine received median earnings of $127,487.  Check out this grad school Reddit article for more insight on the subject.

Will a Grad Degree Help Me Get a Job?

If you are a pandemic victim – you got laid off or lost your job, say – your first instinct may be to get an advanced degree to put me in a better position to land another job, and possibly a better one, at that. While employees overall have long gone back to school to learn new skills during times of disruption, the pandemic has sped all of that up.

So, is graduate school worth the cost? It depends on your situation, but overall – yes. It’s certainly beneficial to be proactive in today’s wild and wooly business environment. So, getting an advanced degree could be worth the money – and time. And if tuition is an issue, we recommend giving Juno a shout.

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