In my last post, I wrote this illustrious blog about attending Columbia and achieving my dreams. Indeed, I visited the school, fell in love with the program, the city and the people, etc. I was all set to go, until I received an e-mail from the University of Maryland- College Park, offering me a full ride.
While everyone else was happy for me, and saying “Girl, You got good problems,” I was emotional wreck. Columbia is my dream school, but it also comes with a 70K price tag on top of my undergraduate loans which, together, would average out at about 100k and that is not including interest.
Is the program worth 70K? Yep. The School administers the freakin’ Pulitzer Prize. The Alumni network is a beast. The actual program is standard, up to date and on point. NYC is their laboratory, and some of the best and brightest in the field walk through their doors regularly. (sigh)
However, there are some pretty heavy negatives simply because of the price tag.
1) Journalist in general start out making 30-40k, maybe 45k with a masters and experience. The median salary for a person with 10-15 years of experience is around 50 k. Thus, I will have that loan for the rest of my life.
2) Journalism is a field where you don’t “need” a masters degree to get into the field, it’s all about your talent and network. There is a large chance that I could go to Columbia and end up in a field other than journalism, simply because I have to pay back this huge debt.
Furthermore, the University of Maryland isn’t bad.
1) Free ride means, I don’t have to worry about how I am going to eat, pay rent, etc.
2) I don’t have to work which leaves time for internships, networking and study time.
3) When I graduate, I can take a low paying job to get experience with out worrying about the debt.
4) My boss is friends with the President of the University. Only great things can come of it. Lol
5) I am really talented so I can thrive at any school, especially Maryland because I am debt free.
6) To be in DC, during the Obama administration!!!! Super, Super, Super cool. lol
This week I had to make a big girl decision. Choosing between what I need vs want. For a week straight, I did everything I could to try to leverage Maryland for Columbia and they weren’t having it. Endowments are down, and this economy has done a number on everyone including our distinguished educational establishments.
Then I took a poll and overwhelmingly, everyone said “Go to Maryland.” Grudgingly, I agree.
Sigh… Looks like I’ll be debt free in D.C. (((SMILE)))