Tree of Eden

What Is a Master’s Degree Worth? – Room for Debate Blog –

Posted in Uncategorized by T.Salami on July 1, 2009

I have a few comments in response to this blog about the worth of Masters degrees (M.A.s). First, the following caption:

A number of economists and education researchers say that the student debt problem, while real, has been overblown by the press and loan-forgiveness advocates, and that most students do not graduate with too much debt.

…does not apply to me. Second, I believe this that an:

…M.A. degree is neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat.

Like Kanye said “school is for fools.” Education is should matter not credentials. Third, sadly the ‘system’ slants in favor of credentials and:

M.A.’s also allow their owners to check the right box on corporate personnel forms and similar documents used by the armed services, N.G.O.’s, schools and public agencies that like their civil servants credentialed.

So what are you supposed to do when ideally one should go after knowledge and not credentials?

Fourth, a consideration before deciding against the credentials in favor of just ‘Education’ is that, it now widely accepted that:

People with associates’ degrees tended to earn a lot more than those whose educations stopped at high school.

And also that:

Degree inflation increasingly obliges more degrees to compensate for the devaluation of earlier degrees. Jobs that once were filled by high school graduates and later by college graduates today often require a master’s degree.

Evidently if you can’t beat them and want a decent job you have a better chance by placing yourself above the rest by getting an M.A.  It is:

…largely optical, but one deals with the world he or she lives in. Still, just as the double and triple undergraduate major is a form of gilding the lily, a form of product enhancement, meant to seduce the hiring partner or the human resources director, the growing interest in the M.A. reveals the inadequacy of the baccalaureate.

In a bad job market does it make sense for students to seek a safe harbor and earn a master’s degree? Absolutely: if they can afford it; if the debt from their previous academic work is not too great; if someone else is paying; if they seek to reinvent themselves. If, if …

…only if all the aforementioned scenarios applied to me…*sigh* Still would I do an M.A.? Why, Yes I would! Because I believe that:

Universities are, after all, wonderful magical places, and learning something new is the greatest of pleasures.

Some practicalities to consider before taking a loan are the results of an analysis of  “…economic costs and benefits of various degrees” conducted “several years ago” by Liz Pulliam Weston a personal finance columnist for MSN Money and include that:

Bachelor’s degrees, particularly those earned at lower-cost public universities, also tended to be worth the investment.

This person was never told that!!! On the flip side, I knew the following too well and that is:

Professional degrees in law or medicine were costly to get but clearly offered a big enough payoff. Not such a slam dunk: Master’s degrees.

Ouch! To do an M.A. or not to do an M.A.; that was the question. This article, I thought would make that decision easier. Instead it paints a bleak picture by saying:

In some fields, such as business or engineering, a graduate degree typically boosted income by more than enough to justify the cost. In others — the liberal arts and social sciences, in particular — master’s degrees didn’t appear to produce much if any earnings advantage.

This really is not making this decision any easier. Especially when she adds:

you could quite literally spend the rest of your life scraping to pay off your debt. Student loans typically can’t be erased in bankruptcy court, and student lenders have extraordinary powers to pursue borrowers, up to and including taking a portion of their Social Security retirement checks.

I hear from too many readers who have six-figure student loan debts and $40,000 incomes. They can’t save for retirement or buy a home; some can’t even pay the minimums they owe on their debt.

It is going to painful experience repaying student loans.

Bottom line — and much of this is about the bottom line — consider your needs carefully, research your options thoroughly, don’t believe everything you read or hear and invest your time and money prudently.

What Is a Master’s Degree Worth? – Room for Debate Blog –


One Response

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  1. Esserfows said, on July 25, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    uhm. i dont think so…

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