With the price tag on a college education continuing to steadily grow, many graduates inquire about the average cost of a master’s degree. Earning a master’s degree is helpful for improving your skills, advance your knowledge, and market your ability for leadership, but it’s an expensive investment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition cost is currently $10,408 at public universities and $23,698 at private colleges every year. That’s why it’s not unheard of for master’s-level students to graduate over $100,000 in debt. In the following article, we’ll present an overview on the costs of graduate school to determine whether adding a master’s degree to your resume is worth the price.
Factors Impacting Cost for Master’s Degrees
Of course, there are several important factors that can influence the total dollar amount for receiving your master’s degree. First, the subject you are studying can cause your tuition expenses to rise or fall dramatically. For instance, the average price for an accredited MBA is $40,000, but degrees in fields like education or art are typically much less. The prestige and size of your chosen university can influence the bucks you’ll need to spend. Attending Ivy League schools like Harvard will cost a pretty penny. Whether you’re earning your master’s degree online or on-campus is another important factor. Online students often pay less on out-of-state programs and save bundles on transportation. The length of your master’s program will also establish how many semesters you must finance.
Return on Investment from Master’s Programs
Although all those zeros beyond the dollar sign may scare you, it’s clear that investing in a master’s degree now can be smart for certain career paths later. Master’s degrees can be the perfect way to build on your experience and background to fine-tune skills for lucrative senior management jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graduates with a master’s degree make an average of $1,326 weekly, which is about 15 percent more than those at the baccalaureate level. The unemployment rate for master’s graduates is also significantly lower at just 3.4 percent. Your return on investment (ROI) will vary based on your chosen career though. To make sure that a master’s degree will pay off in your career, use this grad school calculator from LearnVest.
Ways to Make Your Master’s Degree Affordable
One of the best ways to reap good value from your master’s degree is to shop smart when comparing your graduate school options. Look for accredited master’s programs that offer good financial aid benefits or cheaper tuition rates without compromising on the quality of education. You may need to apply for Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, or private loans, but keep your borrowing limited to avoid mountains of debt. Take advantage of university financial aid, grants, scholarships, military benefits, and other tuition assistance programs because these won’t need to be repaid. Also, many full-time master’s students make their degree less expensive by taking on graduate assistantships or fellowships.
When deciding whether to enroll in a master’s program, your first priority should be to determine if it’s the best move for opening new career opportunities. However, you must also play the numbers game to make sure you can afford the degree and have access to viable funding options. Now that you’re aware of the average cost of a master’s degree, you can make a well-informed decision on attending graduate school to protect your future financial health.