NYT special issue on graduate education;
Dr. Carnevale concludes that grad school is “the best place to ride out a recession” for those who can afford it and are young enough (under 35) to reap the long-term benefit, or who are in fields like health or social work where a master’s or certification is critical to advance. For new college graduates, he says, entering the current job market with a diminished starting salary and job description could compromise a lifelong career and earnings trajectory.
Think of grad school as a 40-year investment, Dr. Carnevale says. Over time, it can move you out of the rank and file into elite positions. The key is determining where the jobs and compensation are. Consider, in your calculation, these variables: institutional quality, tuition costs, debt incurred, and the economic outlook over all and for particular specialties. So-called opportunity costs — lost wages and possible career advancement had you stayed in the job market — also change the cost-benefit picture...
The rule of thumb for borrowing, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of finaid.org, is that debt should never exceed starting salary. Ideally, he adds, it should be half that.
“I’d be the last person to say not to pursue a dream,” Mr. Kantrowitz says. “But do it with your eyes open.”