Thank you so much for your writings on the blogs of McCombs. It is very entertaining and informative to read! [You're absolutely welcome. Glad you like our blog!]
I’m really excited to be accepted into the Texas MPA program [Congratulations!], and I know this is a great prestigious program that prepares you well for a career in accounting. But it is so costly! I’m from out-of-state, and have previous degrees in [omitted], so must pay $54,858 in tuition. My other option is to attend the 1.5 years MPA program with full-tuition remission at [another university], which is where my parents live. [The other university] does not have nearly as good placements for graduates as the top accounting schools.
What is your advice? I want to get the CPA after graduation, and am not sure where I want to work yet (probably in [the state I'm currently living in]). Does the prestige of my MPA program matter? Or should I take out a loan, make the investment and go to UT? How do you feel about being in debt? It must be very uncomfortable.
Thanks, and good luck to you and your wife.”
Answer: I received this excellent question from an admitted student who is trying to make the final decision of whether to attend UT or not. Here are my thoughts on the matter [Disclaimer: Take my thoughts for what they're worth, which might not be that much.]
I agree that tuition is expensive. Really expensive. And taking out student loans to cover tuition costs has been emotionally burdensome. My wife and I have never gone into debt before (besides our current home mortgage and car loans quite a few years back), and instead of paying loads in tuition to complete our degrees we could have chosen to just keep working and making money. Going to school is a double whammy in that you’re not only paying tuition, you’re also sacrificing the income you would be making if you weren’t at school. Depending on your situation, that opportunity cost can be considerable. It was for me.
It sounds like you also have at least two schools to consider as options. So did I, but the tution difference wasn’t as huge as yours seems to be (partly because I’m paying in-state tuition, and partly because I didn’t have another option that would pay all of my tuition). Free is something I rarely pass up.
That said, this situation could be one of those rare instances. It all depends on your goals and which program will help you accomplish those goals. In the end, debt can be paid off (fairly rapidly if you’re dedicated to it), whereas your first job out of college can’t be changed, nor can your graduate school experience or the degree on your resume be changed.
If you will be able to accomplish your academic and career goals by attending your local college, I recommend you attend school there. But if you believe that UT will give you a much better academic experience and is much more likely to open doors to your desired career, I highly recommend you attend the University of Texas.
I don’t like debt. But in the end, the debt will be gone, and I’ll have no regrets since I’ve had an excellent experience, have made great friends with impressive people from around the country (who enrolled in this program for its excellence), have gotten the job I wanted, and am well posed to accomplish my short and long-term career goals.
Good luck making your decision!