Paying for Graduate School

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Paying for Graduate School

Post by asb » Thu May 31, 2012 10:42 am

It seems common that people say you shouldn't pay for graduate school. Besides the financial burden, are there any other reasons why this is the case? I am just curious. Thank you!

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Re: Paying for Graduate School

Post by yoyostein » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:21 am

I think financial burden is the most significant reason.

Also, the fact that most US graduate programmes give stipends makes it unlikely that someone would want to (willingly) pay for graduate school, unless he/she has no other options.

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Re: Paying for Graduate School

Post by apap » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:40 am

Think about it in terms of opportunity cost as well. If you're a proactive recent graduate at an American school with a math major you'll probably get a job that pays 40k per year or more. In 5 years time you will have received around 250k (with raises etc). Now if you would have to pay for grad school, say 50k per year (although this would usually be more) you would spend 250k in 5 years time. So instead of earning 250k you would spend 250k. It would simply be foolish to choose grad school in this scenario no matter how math-inclined you are. Except of course if you are very rich.

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Re: Paying for Graduate School

Post by Chris » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:06 am

It's not $250k in spending, it's $250k in investing. Because, IF you manage to complete it, do well, AND find a job afterwards, it will most likely pay more than $40k allowing you to pay the loan back quickly, plus, it will generally, be much more profitable in the long run.
I agree it's a very risky investment though. Nobody said math was easy or did not take tons of hard work and determination. The competition is fierce and there's no guarantee that you will succeed, no matter how hard you try. That's why most people don't start a PhD with no funding at all. This is true even in Europe where most universities have low (to non-existent) fees (for EU citizens at least).

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