I’m wondering how other people on The Billfold have decided that going into debt for graduate…

I got my MBA to advance my career. I went to night classes at a local school because I needed to keep working at my day job. The program wasn’t a big name, but it was much more affordable than Harvard Business School, or similar. Originally my employer offered some tuition reimbursement that covered 3 classes a year. I used a yearly bonus to cover a 4th class, and paid out of pocket for a 5th class per year. I could have taken more classes, but that would mean more money each year. Eventually I was laid off and took out loans for about a year.

If you know that the degree will advance your career, and have the data on how much of a salary bump you can expect that would be the information I would focus on. If it costs you $50,000, but you end up making $100,000 a year — well it seems worth it. If the bump is more modest, but the new career options would give you added flexibility (in terms of where you can live, or increased job options, or more control over your time), and you would enjoy that job more than your current job, then I would also tell you to go for it.

At the end of the day, you need to reflect on why you want to go back to school, what you want to get out of it, and if those rewards are realistic.

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