I decided to borrow money to go to grad school 16 years ago, so take all my advice with the understanding that it was a long time ago. I had a tuition waiver and additionally was paid about $800/month as a TA. That was not enough to live on, so I borrowed about $15,000 for each year of the three year program. I got an MFA in theater design and now I work in TV. My ROI was huge as the skills I learned and contacts that I made in grad school led to a salary about triple what I could have expected if I stayed on the non-grad-school path. Everyone’s situation is unique. My program was very rigorous, there was no way I could have had another job during the school year.
My loans have not been that big an impediment to my life. I bought a house in Los Angeles two years ago, I travel frequently, and although I don’t have kids, money is not the reason for that choice. At the same time, when I make that last loan payment I want to have a party with fireworks and I expect the heavens to burst forth in song.