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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Jen* View Post
    That's terrifying! I'm fairly sure bankruptcy in the UK means losing everything you own, but wiping the slate clean. We're yet to see the effect of the changes in student fees here though.

    Can the loan be reduced at all in bankruptcy?
    I believe, although I might be wrong, that student loans are handled separately. If you want to get the debt reduced, you have to go through the student loan agency, not the bankruptcy court. The fact that student loan debt can't be erased by bankruptcy is often cited as one of the reasons that loaning agencies are disinclined to work with struggling debtors.

    OTOH, you can go through bankruptcy in the US without losing everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    I think some of the folks in the article just forgot to do their homework. Every successful person i know in a scientific field got there in one of two ways. Those who were set on research went straight through to PhD with financial support of fellowships and grants. Those who preferred the commercial side took entry level jobs in pharma, biotech, or medical devices and had their employers pay. The "struggling" ones seem to have taken out big loans with the expectation of a big payday with no evidence to back that up.
    I think that's very true. I thought that was especially true in the case of the first guy in the link, who got an MBA and another master's and then applied for jobs only in New York.

    Just on principle, I would expect someone with an MBA to make better business decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4rkidz View Post
    It depends.. for my daughter her grad school is getting paid for (science) but for me.. I was able to do it the same time as teaching part time and working full time so paying as I went didn't really cost that much..
    Personal experience always varies, but with all due respect, if you didn't get your master's in the US in this economy, I don't think your experience is particularly applicable to the situations faced by the people in the link.

    I think the same is true of undergrad education. I never know whether to laugh or scream when people here post things like "When I got my degree (30 years ago), I paid my own way by working summers and it was good for me and what's wrong with kids today who move back in with your parents because you can't stand to give up your big screen TV and free laundry?"

    College costs in the US have increased 1,120% in the last 30 years and it is much harder to get scholarships and aid than it used to be. That's a lot of what's wrong with kids today.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Jen* View Post
    Can the loan be reduced at all in bankruptcy?
    Not only can they not be reduced or forgiven via bankruptcy, but they often can't be reduced or forgiven by death! The student loan companies continue to go after the parents when the former student dies in many, many cases. (There are petitions all over change.org about this.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Not only can they not be reduced or forgiven via bankruptcy, but they often can't be reduced or forgiven by death! The student loan companies continue to go after the parents when the former student dies in many, many cases. (There are petitions all over change.org about this.)
    How is that possible? In most states, under Trust and Estates law, one cannot inherit a debt. Loan companies can sue the Estate of a decedant; however, if the decedant either has no Estate or no sufficient assets within the Estate to cover said debt, and the person is not a minor, the loan company would be SOL. The only caveat I can think of is if the parent co-signed the initial loan, in which case they agreed to assume that responsibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Not only can they not be reduced or forgiven via bankruptcy, but they often can't be reduced or forgiven by death! The student loan companies continue to go after the parents when the former student dies in many, many cases. (There are petitions all over change.org about this.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer
    OTOH, you can go through bankruptcy in the US without losing everything.
    Actually, I've checked and you can in the UK too, especially if there are kids involved or that some of your assets might help you claw your way out of debt in the future, i.e. tools for work. Many lenders will secure their loans in the first place so that they get money ahead of other creditors in bankruptcy but student debts, even at their new inflated value, are much lower than in the US so might be paid off at some stage.

    Of all the issues I have with my home country, I can't find much fault with the Australian education system. The secondary system is SO much better than the UK, and the tertiary system, at least at the time I went through it, meant I could defer payment of ALL my undergraduate fees and as long as I'm not working in Australia and paying Australian tax, I'm not paying it off. It's frozen. There's inflation, but no interest, and if were unemployed and broke it would be no big deal. The loan is from the government and they'd get it back from me when I was able to pay.

    I have an American friend who doesn't think she can have kids because she can't afford them with all her debt obligations. I find that pretty sad I'm glad I'm not in that position, because looking at 20 years of loan repayments for a degree like her is just frightening. By the time she's paid them off, most of my friends in Europe will have paid off their mortgages!
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    I'm one of the ones who got a college degree 35 years ago and while I agree tuition is higher now I'm curious as to why. One article I read said that schools are adding too much fluff such as sports teams, jacuzzis, health clubs etc. because the competition to attract students has increased.

    Rising administrative costs are also cited as a reason. I would think technology would help administrative overhead and yet it seems to have done the reverse.

    I also see colleges hiring many instructors as part-time independent contractors. That should reduce costs. It isn't increasing job opportunities for their graduates.

    Perhaps colleges and universities have become too big and are trying to offer too much. If they aren't affordable to the majority of students what good are they?

    The article also stated that easy availabilty of student loans is what has fueled the increased competition for students and the increased expenditures by universities to attract them.

    As a tax payer I am thinking that defaults on student loans is another debt crisis getting ready to explode.
    Last edited by aliceanne; 02-02-2013 at 08:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Not when you are in grad school. There is no financial aid for grad school, at least not for the vast majority. That's why the competition for those assistantships is so fierce.

    You can take out loans. You can get into a program that pays your way. You can get an assistantship. But you aren't going to get financial aid like you did when you were an undergrad.
    Some undergrads end up paying five-figures, six-figures for their bachelors. That is inexcusable. But yes, graduate school is even worse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Most people who have student debt do not have six figure student debt; it's mostly people who go to professional schools who rack up that kind of debt. And people who attend professional schools would be expected to make pretty good money--at least until very recently. Racking up six-figure debt just for a master's degree is unusual.
    One has to wonder what kind of research they did on the program. Owing $50-60K at the end of a master's is not unheard of (it often assumes that you weren't able to pay ANYTHING during the few years you were there), but twice that is just befuddling to me. I suppose there are always outliers (again, never know who might end up in the hospital and unable to go to school), but I agree it really is not normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    I think some of the folks in the article just forgot to do their homework. Every successful person i know in a scientific field got there in one of two ways. Those who were set on research went straight through to PhD with financial support of fellowships and grants. Those who preferred the commercial side took entry level jobs in pharma, biotech, or medical devices and had their employers pay. The "struggling" ones seem to have taken out big loans with the expectation of a big payday with no evidence to back that up.
    Exactly. I'm not sure which school the guy in the article went to, but they must have told him NOTHING about scientific careers.

    Quote Originally Posted by professordeb View Post
    As for a job, she's not sure what type of position she'd like to pursue. Probably research but unsure if she wants to try private sector, public sector or even something in the education realm. Since she's in her 3rd year of her Bachelor of Science, I am hoping things clear up for her soon.
    Determine if she likes going out in the field vs staying in and teaching. At many places, you can do both, but if she doesn't want to teach, she should go into industry right away. Sure, a PhD gives you more time to "figure things out," but if you decide to not go into academia, you're often overqualified (and thus unhireable) for anything else.

    Might be different in Canada though. I would still encourage her to take an internship somewhere, even if it's unpaid. Even when I was in undergrad and the economy had not yet gone down the crapper, most lab internships were unpaid. Experience doing science is extremely valuable if you're a fresh grad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Personal experience always varies, but with all due respect, if you didn't get your master's in the US in this economy, I don't think your experience is particularly applicable to the situations faced by the people in the link.

    I think the same is true of undergrad education. I never know whether to laugh or scream when people here post things like "When I got my degree (30 years ago), I paid my own way by working summers and it was good for me and what's wrong with kids today who move back in with your parents because you can't stand to give up your big screen TV and free laundry?"

    College costs in the US have increased 1,120% in the last 30 years and it is much harder to get scholarships and aid than it used to be. That's a lot of what's wrong with kids today.
    And it's harder in general to get into the schools which are need-blind and have enough money to give to their students as grants. And even those institutions who have that policy, have decreased funds too so they can't give as many grants as they used to. When I graduated in 2006, there was talk of a financial aid war (of sorts) between a lot of the top universities, to see who could give more grants to low-income students. Stanford even proposed that any student whose parents earned less than $60K would go to Stanford for free. When the economy went bust, of course that proposal did too.

    So I think many institutions understand that it's difficult to pay for college now, and want to help, but the economy has affected them as well. It sucks all around.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by escaflowne9282 View Post
    How is that possible? In most states, under Trust and Estates law, one cannot inherit a debt. Loan companies can sue the Estate of a decedant; however, if the decedant either has no Estate or no sufficient assets within the Estate to cover said debt, and the person is not a minor, the loan company would be SOL. The only caveat I can think of is if the parent co-signed the initial loan, in which case they agreed to assume that responsibility.
    Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

    The vast majority of student loans are co-signed by a parent because the vast majority of students have no assets or income. But most parents aren't thinking "this means I have to pay this loan off for 10 years if my kid dies" because who thinks their kid is going to die? You figure you are signing in case your kid is out of work for a while and you might make a few payments until he gets another job, not 10 years of payments for a dead kid, every month you write the check being reminded that you outlived your child and that you are paying for something he's never going to use.

    It may be legal, but I think it's inhumane.

    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I'm one of the ones who got a college degree 35 years ago and while I agree tuition is higher now I'm curious as to why. One article I read said that schools are adding too much fluff such as sports teams, jacuzzis, health clubs etc. because the competition to attract students has increased.
    Don't believe everything you read.

    When I was in school, it was emphasized over and over that our tuition didn't even begin to cover the real costs of our eduction. The difference was made up through alumni contributions, government grants, corporate donations, etc. Those sources aren't what they once were and tuition has to be raised to make up the difference.

    This isn't to say that colleges are perfect and don't waste money. But the institutions I'm personally familiar with certainly aren't country clubs that are wasting tuition money right and left. Most of them are struggling.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post

    Personal experience always varies, but with all due respect, if you didn't get your master's in the US in this economy, I don't think your experience is particularly applicable to the situations faced by the people in the link.

    I think the same is true of undergrad education. I never know whether to laugh or scream when people here post things like "When I got my degree (30 years ago), I paid my own way by working summers and it was good for me and what's wrong with kids today who move back in with your parents because you can't stand to give up your big screen TV and free laundry?"
    I wasn't commenting in reference to the link but to the other poster.. but I do have a question.. can't students today do their degree or your master's part time (thus pay as they go) ? I did (technically don't graduate till the spring) my Master's part time in my 40's .. my undergraduate part time in my 30's and my diploma part time in my 20's .. college costs all over the world have increased - fair enough not as much as in the States.. but when I'm hiring social workers I would much rather the staff have a BSW and years of experience than MSW with no experience.. I'm not as familiar with the education field having joined it fairly late (6 years ago).. but I don't see a graduate school education paying off so much in Canada (well other than keeping teachers in jobs ).. the exception being the science field where the field is constantly changing..
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Jen* View Post
    .
    Can the loan be reduced at all in bankruptcy?
    Maybe:

    So for the time being, Reynoso's hope hinges on a narrow provision in the bankruptcy code called a hardship discharge. The bar for proving "undue hardship" is high, but Reynoso still hopes for the best as he waits for a ruling from the bankruptcy judge.
    The linked article on hardship discharge gives some actual examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts to get the bankruptcy court to discharge student loan debt under this provision. (So likely bad news for MacMadame's ex-boyfriend, were he to have filed for bankruptcy because he was struggling financially and wouldn't take a job with the tobacco industry, because the court could tell him to suck it up.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Student loans are usually very easy to get. And the interest rates are usually very low.
    Even when they're not low from private lenders, with rare exceptions, the interest is compounding while it is deferred, unless the interest is paid during the deferral period. Here's one example from an online interest calculator.

    For example, if you put in the maximum federal unsubsidized loan for freshman-

    $5500
    defer it for 51 months (12 months for the 1st year; 12 months for the 2nd year; 12 months for the 3rd year; 9 months for the 4th year (graduation in May); and 6 months grace period)
    at 6.8% and
    compound it quarterly

    -you get added interest of $1825.19 and a total balance due at repayment of $7325.19 on that original $5500 loan. Do the amounts for each year's loan on the calculator (remember that the limits change) and then add them together. And then realize that repayment of interest while in school, is always an option on any loan (Check the loan interest payment calculator!)and that it does not negate your deferment.
    From the article above, for a private loan,

    UBS extended nearly $160,000 in credit to Freddy Reynoso, and projected that if he made all payments as scheduled, the loan for his music education would end up costing him $279,000.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    People who are struggling to pay can apply for relief or deferments. The debt cannot be erased, however, even in bankruptcy.
    This is critical, because lenders for other things know that there's someone above them in the pay-back hierarchy, if the borrower has financial issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    Why are institutions lending this sort of money if the return isn't there? Isn't there a requirement to be able to pay back and it be a percentage of living costs? How long do most have to pay these loans?
    For the private loan in the article above,

    In 2005, after Freddy was accepted to Boston's Berklee College of Music, his father co-signed on his hefty private student loans, making him fully liable should Freddy be unwilling or unable to repay them. It was no small decision for a man who made just over $21,000 in 2011, according to his tax returns.
    Not only was the co-signer someone who made $21K/year as a gardener, they loaned money for an education in music, not a profession that generally has particularly high salaries that would support the equivalent of a mortgage payment before an actual mortgage payment or rent without a high-earning spouse, independent wealth, or inheritance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Not only can they not be reduced or forgiven via bankruptcy, but they often can't be reduced or forgiven by death! The student loan companies continue to go after the parents when the former student dies in many, many cases. (There are petitions all over change.org about this.)
    I'm not sure what the regulations are for all types of student loans, but the petitions I saw used Reymoso case as a call to action; here, the father co-signed the private loan, and struggled with the help of lawyers to find out how much his son owed and to whom. Co-signees normally aren't absolved of debt if the other co-signer(s) die, unless there are specific provisions. From the Reymoso article linked above:

    One of Freddy's student loans was cancelled after his death without a problem: his federal loan. That's because the government cancels student loans if a student dies.

    But the bulk of Freddy's loans were private student loans, which typically offer less favorable interest rates and fewer consumer protections. Only a few private student lenders offer debt discharges in the event of the borrower's death, though public outcry over specific cases has swayed lenders to grant occasional death discharges.
    I'm guessing the private student loan lenders who do offer debt discharges have default insurance in place in case of the death of the student, and I suspect this is built into the loan rate.
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    Basically what I'm taking away from this thread is that there's no point in getting any advanced degree unless you are 100% guaranteed you've got a job waiting for you once you've got that diploma. Or unless you are so financially well-off that you can absorb those costs regardless of field of study and can sit back and enjoy the learning process.

    I got my bachelor's degree 15 years ago but am wanting to make a career change because what I'm doing now is no longer personally fulfilling. I have been considering going back to school to get a second bachelor's but after reading all the posts here why bother? The economy blows, I have no desire to get thousands of dollars in debt only to discover there are no jobs available, or get (or keep) a job in something I do not like or enjoy just so I can keep a roof over my head. That thought is so soul-sucking depressing. It doesn't help when I see friends and family losing their jobs because of downsizing or "corporate restructuring" or just closing their doors altogether. I'm not going to lie, I'm not seeing a lot of positives for the future and that's frightening. So when I read about people saying their advanced degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, why should anybody bother?

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    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    Basically what I'm taking away from this thread is that there's no point in getting any advanced degree unless you are 100% guaranteed you've got a job waiting for you once you've got that diploma. Or unless you are so financially well-off that you can absorb those costs regardless of field of study and can sit back and enjoy the learning process.

    I got my bachelor's degree 15 years ago but am wanting to make a career change because what I'm doing now is no longer personally fulfilling. I have been considering going back to school to get a second bachelor's but after reading all the posts here why bother? The economy blows, I have no desire to get thousands of dollars in debt only to discover there are no jobs available, or get (or keep) a job in something I do not like or enjoy just so I can keep a roof over my head. That thought is so soul-sucking depressing. It doesn't help when I see friends and family losing their jobs because of downsizing or "corporate restructuring" or just closing their doors altogether. I'm not going to lie, I'm not seeing a lot of positives for the future and that's frightening. So when I read about people saying their advanced degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, why should anybody bother?
    It depends if you need the degree to make that career change. I'm making a career change too, but my new field (graphic design) does not require a specific degree. You only need to prove experience and the ability to do the work. Now, if I wanted a position at a renowned design firm, a degree from RISD or SVA would be preferable, but it's only a shortcut to get my foot in the door. If I put in enough time and prove myself with my work and network out the wazoo, I probably wouldn't need the degree even in that case.

    Now, if your career change involves being a doctor or lawyer or some other position where you need to have the degree/certification to practice, obviously you have no choice. But most people do have the choice, and the degree no longer guarantees anything. Ability, experience, networking, and referrals will get you MUCH farther than a degree will.

    I'm still taking classes because I think I need to learn more about design, and more practice is always better. If you feel you need to learn more, you should take classes at a community college to learn the basics. But IMO another bachelor's isn't worth it. There isn't enough real-world practice in a bachelor program to make it worthwhile. And I sure am not going to shell out $100K to get another bachelor's at an art school. Not when I'm 10 years behind the graduates already.

    It doesn't have to be depressing. You just have to choose well and be adaptable. Alf has quit jobs twice in the past 4 years, and now he's freelancing. Now, his current chosen field is booming and pays a good wage even for fairly inexperienced freelancers, and not everyone can do it (he's a iPhone app programmer), but it is possible and the future doesn't have to look so bleak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    So when I read about people saying their advanced degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, why should anybody bother?
    Because not everyone is a stoner who blames their inability to get job interviews on having got a masters in science?

    Seriously, there are people out there finding jobs and there are people out there losing jobs. If you want to change careers, you need to find people who have done it and figure out what they did that is different from the people in this article. And learn from any mistakes that the people who lost jobs or didn't change careers successfully might have made.

    One thing that is different is that most of them don't go into massive debt. That doesn't mean they don't go into any debt or their re-education was free. But they are realistic about what the new career pays and use that to guide their educational choices.

    Another thing that is different is that most people who are successful at changing careers get a lot of work experience in the new career as part of the change-over even if they have to do unpaid work via volunteering or internships. Sometimes they can even convince their current job to give them job duties that get them closer and closer to the new career as well.

    Or you can bitch and moan about how impossible it all is and let fear keep you from making any move at all. Right now that's the choice I'm making but I figure I'll start job hunting again soon enough.
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    An alternative to getting a master's degree after completing the bachelor's is to go to a junior college to get a certification in a field you want to work in. This is a pretty cheap way to get additional training or to be re-trained. My daughter did this to get a veterinary technician certification after her bachelor's in biology, and she worked full time as a vet assistant at the same time. Sometimes it makes sense to get a certification in something so you can get hired. If she had stayed at the vet clinic instead of starting vet school, she would have made an additional $5/hr just by being a certified vet tech. The bottom line is that you may need to get a license or other credential in your field in order to get hired. Having only a bachelor's degree doesn't automatically make you qualified for jobs in many fields.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    Basically what I'm taking away from this thread is that there's no point in getting any advanced degree unless you are 100% guaranteed you've got a job waiting for you once you've got that diploma. Or unless you are so financially well-off that you can absorb those costs regardless of field of study and can sit back and enjoy the learning process.
    Well, it depends on how much the degree is going to cost. As people have mentioned, graduate school in many of the hard sciences is "free"....you will be supported as a teaching assistant or a research assistant, which involves the department or your research advisor paying all your tuition and giving you a stipend on top of it. That stipend is going to be small, but you can live on it, as long as you don't have several kids and a spouse who is not working.

    As for the 100% guarantee of a job....that's not available for anyone in any field, really, unless you have a relative who is hiring and doesn't mind nepotism. Even in the hard sciences, grad students have to realize that you will have to apply to many companies/schools/whatever and be willing to relocate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I'm one of the ones who got a college degree 35 years ago and while I agree tuition is higher now I'm curious as to why .
    It depends on whose argument you most believe, but I think all would agree that it is a combination of factors. Some blame government aid, some blame admin cost, some blame retirement and benefit packages for faculty, some blame student demand, some blame the cost of technology, etc., etc. All colleges are suffering from a drop in non-tuition funding, whether it be endowments or state funds. Education is expensive at all levels, but the higher the level, the higher the expense.

    Issues also vary from school to school; some are administered better than others. One of my friends used to teach for a private college that charges very high tuition, but she was always having to watch her cash flow carefully because the same school often couldn't meet payroll.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    The vast majority of student loans are co-signed by a parent because the vast majority of students have no assets or income. But most parents aren't thinking "this means I have to pay this loan off for 10 years if my kid dies" because who thinks their kid is going to die?
    Well, you may not be thinking that, but you sure should be thinking "I will have to pay this off if for any reason my kid can't--or won't." Death is not the only reason that student loans don't get paid and if you co-sign, you are on the hook.

    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    Basically what I'm taking away from this thread is that there's no point in getting any advanced degree unless you are 100% guaranteed you've got a job waiting for you once you've got that diploma. Or unless you are so financially well-off that you can absorb those costs regardless of field of study and can sit back and enjoy the learning process.
    Or you can find someone else to pay your way through. Or you think the odds are in your favor and you will earn more. Or you can afford to take the hit if the degree doesn't translate into more money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4rkidz View Post
    can't students today do their degree or your master's part time (thus pay as they go) ?
    It really depends on the program. There are quite a few graduate programs in Canada that you can attend part-time, but in some of them you're paying up front, or a good chunk of the payment up front, regardless of how much of the program you're actually doing at the time.

    But I don't see a graduate school education paying off so much in Canada (well other than keeping teachers in jobs ).. the exception being the science field where the field is constantly changing..
    I don't know if you're talking about graduate programs in education or graduate programs generally. But despite the stories in the article, IMO in Canada there are a lot of fields where a graduate degree is really helpful. And not just to have some letters to stick after your name. And even in education specifically, there is a lot more changing than just science, e.g. online learning, administration skills.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    Basically what I'm taking away from this thread is that there's no point in getting any advanced degree unless you are 100% guaranteed you've got a job waiting for you once you've got that diploma. Or unless you are so financially well-off that you can absorb those costs regardless of field of study and can sit back and enjoy the learning process.
    I disagree. There is value in getting a master's degree if you want to pick up more education in a different field (e.g. to combine two disciplines like science and writing), or if you want to further your knowledge in a specific area. Not all undergraduate degrees prepare you for a specific career, like dietician or physical therapist. In those fields, you have to go on to get more education after the bachelor's degree. In psychology, you have to get a PhD to practice as a clinical therapist.

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    Thanks, professordeb and 4rkidz, for the helpful information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by professordeb View Post
    I live in Ontario, my daughter is studying Marine Biology @ Dalhousie in Halifax, New Brunswick.
    Sorry to be picky, but Dalhousie University is in Halifax, NOVA SCOTIA

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    I must admit, the photo of the guy in the last story on p. 2 (the chemist who is making furniture) - seriously? There's a story on a major website about your troubles getting a job, and you can't even be bothered to provide a semi-professional looking photo of yourself? If that's how much effort you put into presenting yourself as a credible potential employee, I wouldn't hire you either.

    And the first guy in the story - I work in a post-secondary business school program, and I've never heard of either of those schools or their master's programs. When school reputation/visibility plays a BIG part in the impact of a business-related master's degree on your career/earnings....I feel bad for the guy being $120K in debt, but I also can't help but feel that maybe he didn't do enough research on these schools before shelling out that kind of $$$. Both of his programs might have been really good programs, but if the schools/programs are not well known, that's a lot of wasted money.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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