Average Cost of a Master's Degree

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by soupbone, Jun 19, 2010.

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  1. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    I've searched the forum and found very little addressing the average cost of a master's degree so I did a little searching. Surprisingly it's a bit difficult to find any real solid information.

    I have several reason for searching for this information. Most importantly (to me anyway) is that I think I may be bonkers for narrowing down my degree search to Saint Louis University MS in Biosecurity/Disaster Preparedness --> Institute for Biosecurity - Saint Louis University - About the Institute (I really like Epidemiology)and Penn State's MPS in Public Health Preparedness --> Penn State | Online Master of Homeland Security in Public Health Preparedness.

    The St. Louis program is $28,000 (I'm pretty sure without books), and Penn State is roughly $25,000 (also without books). You can't argue with the name recognition or quality of these programs but are they really worth it? This is the question I've been racking my brain with for several weeks now.

    So I decided I would search for the average cost of a master's degree and see if I'm really nuts or not. What I've found so far according to this article The next step: Real world or grad school? - Opinion/Editorial the average cost is between $28,400(public schools) to $38,700 (for private).

    I find this to be absurd when I know I've seen many for a lot less than that. The article lists moneywatch.com as the source but looking on that website I can't find anything that relays this information. The closest thing I found on that website says master's degrees cost between $5000 and $38,000 --> Graduate School: Should You Get Another Degree? - CBS MoneyWatch.com

    I guess this may be due to the different types of programs out there and how different many of them are. Plus if you add into the mix that there are some 30 hour programs and some 48 hours programs you will end up with a wide discrepancy.

    So I figured this might be a good place to list any sources on the average cost of a master's degree plus get your thoughts on if you think what I'm considering is too high for the ROI.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2010
  2. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    My master's was $21K. As for ROI, if you are young and could make even an extra $2K a year with a master's, it would only take you about 12 or 13 years to break even. I'm factoring in the time value of money, here. Plus you have the personal satisfaction of having the degree and the added chance for promotion, which can't really be quantified.
     
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    My MS-ITM cost me $6,750 ($750 per class for the military discount / 9 classes). I was able to complete it in 15 months. My ROI was pretty plain to see - I need a masters to teach online so now that I am teaching, the pay back was pretty quick.

    My UF program cost $800 per class and it was three classes. When I signed up for the degree program that was created from the interest in the certificate program I only needed something like 8 more classes since all three carried over. BUT the cost went up to $2,400 per class. In the end, that program would have cost me $21,600 if I had stuck with it.
     
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    You have gotten yourself one of the nicest deals I have heard of in awhile. You are also doing that on your doctorate, right? Talk about a good ROI and an easy break-even point!
     
  5. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    Thanks I don't feel too bad now. It's crazy that there isn't a whole lot of info out there on average costs. I might be taking a huge leap but I think it really has to do with what program you are interested in.

    Would a master's degree in neuroscience cost more than one in underwater basket-weaving? I think so but there really isn't a whole lot out there unless you go through each individual program and compare.

    I've done this and found out that while I thought HLS degrees were somewhat generic, there is actually a good bit of different paths. I believe the two I'm interested in are on the high end of the spectrum but I've found that the ones with public health attached to them are more costly.
     
  6. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    That PhD in Underwater Basket Weaving sounds pretty solid. :)
     
  7. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    They don't offer PhD's....yet.

    I really think I've answered my own question:
    1. I'm not nuts and what I'm considering is a little high, but reasonable.
    2. It's very difficult to define "average cost" with such a wide variety of degrees offered by both public and private schools.

    The better question might be related to average costs but make it a specific degree path comparison.
     
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    Well, I am lucky enough to get tuition assistance. I paid $1,100 out of pocket for the TUI degree and $2,200 + books out of pocket for my NCU program.

    I did pay $2,400 out of pocket for the UF certificate and $3K out of pocket for the extra TUI MBA classes. I guess I really have nothing to complain about...
     
  9. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    My MBA was roughly $85k. That was tuition, books and living expenses were extra.
     
  10. eilla05

    eilla05 New Member

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    I think all things considered a little of the cost factor comes from what you feel your degree will be worth in the end and how it will pay you back (i.e higher salary, satisfaction from having it etc).

    I struggle with this exact thing and have decided to get the WNMU MAIS for my first masters and then work for awhile and then decide what other masters I want.

    Sounds like you have your answer so I say go for it!

    Allie
     
  11. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    Wow I don't feel so bad now and the more I've been reading $15,000-$30,000 is about as average as you can get. Sure there are ones that are on the extreme ends ($5000 and $40,000) but there seems to be a middle ground (average) that hovers around $15,000-$30,000). I really believe cost = what type of masters you pursue. *EDIT*--Just wanted to add that an MBA from Vanderbilt is a hell of a degree...great school!



    I think I'm all ok now. Penn State or St Louis would be fine choices and I'm very comfortable with the prices. Tulane has this one--> Disaster Management Programs that I really like and is within a quick drive from me. The price tag at $38,000 is a bit more than I'm comfortable with though. There is one other potential negative about the Tulane program. They require you register through a credentialing service like the LSAC for law school.

    Normally that wouldn't be a problem except Tulane also wants transcripts as well. I have so many schools with transcripts that I would go broke sending them all. :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2010
  12. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    I've got transcripts from all over too. I only mention or send transcripts for the schools I completed my degrees in. I probably have 15 or 20 units floating around from three city colleges and an aborted MBA at Cal State Long Beach, yet I never bother reporting them, even when an institution states that they want all transcripts. It doesn't affect anything and it's more trouble and expense than reporting them is worth.
     
  13. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    Interesting. I guess I could have done that and taken the chance but I just assumed that most schools would be very strict about that sort of thing. I may consider it for the heck of it and see what happens.
     
  14. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Nobody ever seems to bother to check and, in my case, the extra units are inconsequential. So why bother? I might get dinged for it someday, but I doubt it.
     
  15. SoldierInGA

    SoldierInGA New Member

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    Damn. And I thought that I was lucky to find the FIU MBA that awards a $20K scholarship for active duty military and use the TA to lower out of pocket cost to roughly $13K + books from an original price of $42K.

    I'm also eyeballing the Northwestern MPP at $34K, but the wife is talking about saving up for a down payment on a house in 3-4 years. She's pragmatic like that lol.
     
  16. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    I know the $80k+ seems like a lot, but the cost is pretty much in-line with comparable programs. I only paid about $60k out of pocket and less than half of that was paid via student loans.
     
  17. guitarmark2000

    guitarmark2000 Member

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    The other factor is if you work for a company who provides tuition reimbursement as a benefit. In the US, the first $5,250 is generally not taxable to the individual if it helps maintain or improve job skills - it's like free money if available.

    For a $21K masters over 4 years the net cost is close to zero. Even if the company pays half that's a huge benefit.
     
  18. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Plus, the name recognition of that degree will earn you more money for the rest of your career, if you play your cards right. I've often thought about trying for one of their certificate programs just to get the word "Harvard" on my resume.
     
  19. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    Most of the schools here offer certificates through exec ed. HBS, HKS and HLS all offer courses that grant a certificate upon completion. There are also numerous courses offered through the Program on Negotiation. PON is a consortium of several schools; Fletcher (Tufts), Kennedy (Harvard), Sloan (MIT) and HLS. There are courses ranging from one day to 12 weeks and they are substantially less money than the exec ed/certificate programs offered by other schools/departments at the university. Unfortunately, nothing offered online. It's unfortunate for employees because you can't use your tuition assistance for them.

    Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread.
     
  20. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Hey, all threads get hijacked before they are done. :)
     

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