financing doctorate degree

Archived From: Finance
  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
getting my doctorate starting this september. its $5000 per semester. my work will reimburse the tuition after each semester. meaning i need to pay $5000 for my first semester upfront.
any suggestions on best ways to finance this?
a student loan or something else?
dont want to use savings.
combined salary with wife is around $170,000

whats the best fw strategy?

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Always depends on circumstances. I've only done undergrad EE and was paid ~$25/hr half-time the last year of that. So, a... (more)

Bend3r (Aug. 11, 2016 @ 11:49a) |

Experience:  If you want work experience, then work.  If you want school experience, then go to school.  Giving up work ... (more)

Infinion (Aug. 11, 2016 @ 12:02p) |

Well I was just extrapolating based on my no-degree pay vs grad school when I'd have a full BS degree, so I'd assume the... (more)

Bend3r (Aug. 11, 2016 @ 12:49p) |

Staff Summary
  • Also categorized in:
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

$5,000 for three or four months?  Honestly, just write a check.

also thinking maybe do 2 credit card sign up bonus's with 0 apr...

mephrules said:   also thinking maybe do 2 credit card sign up bonus's with 0 apr...
  Most colleges charge a convenience fee for CC transactions. The CC bonuses should exceed that the fee, but it won't be free.

what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?

as stated it is free. i just have to pay first semester ahead of time.

it would be worth it even if i had to pay as it will substantially increase my salary upon completion.

rufflesinc said:   what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?
  One where it looks like OP is and will continue to remain employeed full time. You have to essentially work (I.e. research, teaching, TA, etc.) to get a "free" doctorate.

im going to take a guess and say OP is a public school teacher with dreams of becoming a principal.

how much are you making on your saving? 1%? it would cost you $25 to float $5000 for 6 months, how much effort do you want to put into saving that amount? Its one thing if you couldn't afford it and needed help financing it without going to the mob, but for someone with a combined salary of $170K I'm sure you can figure it out.

Has no one noticed that they are making 170k and not willing to pay the $5k tuition off from savings? My fw strategy is to use saving and pay cash. Regradless what trolling reason OP has not to touch savings.

Did you check to make sure the doctorate is worth it? In most cases, getting one won't help your career at these income levels.

By the way, is anyone else noticing that credentials inflation is now causing people to get doctorates they don't need? Before everyone was going to grad school for a master's they didn't need. Now I guess we've all done that, and the next logical step is doctorates?

sclantw said:   Has no one noticed that they are making 170k and not willing to pay the $5k tuition off from savings? My fw strategy is to use saving and pay cash. Regradless what trolling reason OP has not to touch savings.
  There's a 50% chance OP can't float the money, and a 50% that OP is trying to leverage FWF tactics to make money.

If it's to make money, the only real strategy is to find the biggest CC signup bonuses you can and pay the CC convenience fee (usually 3% or $150) and reap the net between the bonus and the fee. Some of those cards may also have a 0% introductory rate to float the $5K as well.

Wait, making 170K and looking at floating 5K for 3 months? Do you have a HELOC?

magika said:   Did you check to make sure the doctorate is worth it? In most cases, getting one won't help your career at these income levels.

By the way, is anyone else noticing that credentials inflation is now causing people to get doctorates they don't need? Before everyone was going to grad school for a master's they didn't need. Now I guess we've all done that, and the next logical step is doctorates?

  say an employer gets 50 resumes, narrowing them down to the top 10%.  all five look pretty much the same.  four have master's degrees.  but one has a doctorate.  the hiring mgr. needs a reason to pick somebody from a pool of similarity.  what's he do? select the guy who's got a significant differentiating factor?  (I'm not saying that's what should be done.  but that's what I've seen happen).
 

Have you inquired about teaching assistantship? If available, they usually pay tuition plus a stipend. It's a great way to meet the faculty.

Troll

Daddio1949 said:   Have you inquired about teaching assistantship? If available, they usually pay tuition plus a stipend. It's a great way to meet the faculty.
Reading comprehension continues to plague FW.

Why are so many people missing the fact that his employer IS PAYING HIS TUITION?  

mephrules said:   as stated it is free. i just have to pay first semester ahead of time.

it would be worth it even if i had to pay as it will substantially increase my salary upon completion.

Side note - depending on your situation, you may end up paying income tax on this "free" education for anything in excess of $5250 per year.
https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch11.html

cepoxi said:   
magika said:   Did you check to make sure the doctorate is worth it? In most cases, getting one won't help your career at these income levels.

By the way, is anyone else noticing that credentials inflation is now causing people to get doctorates they don't need? Before everyone was going to grad school for a master's they didn't need. Now I guess we've all done that, and the next logical step is doctorates?

  say an employer gets 50 resumes, narrowing them down to the top 10%.  all five look pretty much the same.  four have master's degrees.  but one has a doctorate.  the hiring mgr. needs a reason to pick somebody from a pool of similarity.  what's he do? select the guy who's got a significant differentiating factor?  (I'm not saying that's what should be done.  but that's what I've seen happen).

  I hire and help hire for entry-level to mid-level positions. People with too many degrees are a red flag for me.

rufflesinc said:   what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?
MD
DO
PharmD
DMD
PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering

gavinbelson23 said:   PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering
Typically free.

gavinbelson23 said:   rufflesinc said:   what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?
PharmD


Not worth it anymore unless your close relative or friend is a big wig who will hire you or want to live in rural Idaho. Too many schools opening every year, tuition goes up 10% for no reason, more pharmacists than jobs. All desirable places to live are super saturated. There's only 2 chains left that swallowed up all the competition and new hires only get 30 hours/week instead of 40. Lots of stores closing (hospitals too) and cutting hours. Hospitals only hire per diem without benefits. VA, mail order and long term care jobs are all taken by lifers who will never leave.

gavinbelson23 said:   
rufflesinc said:   what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?
MD

 

  No one calls an MD a doctorate. If you were getting an MD, you'd say MD or medical school.

gavinbelson23 said:   
rufflesinc said:   what doctorate is worth getting that's not free?
MD
DO
PharmD
DMD
PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering

  These are considered professional degrees, not doctorates:

MD
DO
DMD

I have the same situation for my MBA - what I do is I go online to the school's website on the Bursar section. Then where it says 'Pay next semester's bill' I enter my bank details and submit for an ACH payment.

See, then it's paid.

stanolshefski said:   
cepoxi said:   
magika said:   Did you check to make sure the doctorate is worth it? In most cases, getting one won't help your career at these income levels.

By the way, is anyone else noticing that credentials inflation is now causing people to get doctorates they don't need? Before everyone was going to grad school for a master's they didn't need. Now I guess we've all done that, and the next logical step is doctorates?

  say an employer gets 50 resumes, narrowing them down to the top 10%.  all five look pretty much the same.  four have master's degrees.  but one has a doctorate.  the hiring mgr. needs a reason to pick somebody from a pool of similarity.  what's he do? select the guy who's got a significant differentiating factor?  (I'm not saying that's what should be done.  but that's what I've seen happen).

  I hire and help hire for entry-level to mid-level positions. People with too many degrees are a red flag for me.

I got a cousin: Ivy undergrad I think took them more than four years to graduate.  Never got a real job after graduating.  Did some volunteer work of sorts then got into an Ivy similar law school.  Never got a real law internship instead spent summers working for politicians (ie: a U.S. senator) or travelling to Africa to "learn about their legal system".

Now near 30, has never worked a real job in their life.  They'll probably do PhD next just so they can defer the payments on their mountain of student loan debt (their parents are NOT rich nor close to it, but too white and middle class to get a free ride).

Beware people with scant experience but a ton of time in academia--these aren't people that ever wanted to put in the work & start at the bottom and learn valuable business skills from on the job training/real life experience.  Instead they're the people who snub their noses at the starting pay and want to enter at a six-figure+ salary and often times the interpersonal communication skills simply aren't there.  Lacking interpersonal skills isn't punished in academia, it's more par for the course for grad school & beyond.

Not going into whether OP's doctorate is worth it or not. In some fields, if you want to have a shot at being a project lead or R&D area head, you're very unlikely to get a sniff at it if you don't have a Ph.D. So gonna assume that evaluation has been done. If OP's company pays for it, chances are it's required for OP's career path.

But it's kinda hard to believe that OP could not float $5k with $170k HHI. And then contemplate getting a student loan at like 8% instead of temporarily tapping savings that are likely earning a lot less.

jagec said:   
gavinbelson23 said:   PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering
Typically free.

  
Yeah, no one pays for those.  If someone does, they're making the wrong choice, or have money to burn and just don't want to be in the real world.  In STEMs fields, the game is to find what school/program will pay *you* the most, with the least hassle, while getting your advanced degrees.  

Infinion said:   
jagec said:   
gavinbelson23 said:   PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering
Typically free.

  
Yeah, no one pays for those.  If someone does, they're making the wrong choice, or have money to burn and just don't want to be in the real world.  In STEMs fields, the game is to find what school/program will pay *you* the most, with the least hassle, while getting your advanced degrees.  

  Paying with labor is not "free"....  At the least you're giving up opportunity cost of the wages you'd get in place of the time you're spending working for the school.  This can easily add up to more than the tuition costs would be without working for them for "free" tuition.

Bend3r said:   
Infinion said:   
jagec said:   
gavinbelson23 said:   PhD in ChemE or Electrical Engineering
Typically free.

  
Yeah, no one pays for those.  If someone does, they're making the wrong choice, or have money to burn and just don't want to be in the real world.  In STEMs fields, the game is to find what school/program will pay *you* the most, with the least hassle, while getting your advanced degrees.  

  Paying with labor is not "free"....  At the least you're giving up opportunity cost of the wages you'd get in place of the time you're spending working for the school.  This can easily add up to more than the tuition costs would be without working for them for "free" tuition.

  
Most people I know that went in EE/CoE/CS fields TA'd for a year or so while they took real classes.  After that the 'work' was mostly just research, which was just preparation for the dissertation or final project.  Why would they be giving up the opportunity costs for wages?  They get paid too.  Most of the datapoints from people exiting undergrad with me were making around 40k their first year.  Add that to tuition, and it's at best a wash.  
 

mephrules said:   getting my doctorate starting this september.

combined salary with wife is around $170,000  
 


Then why bother? Unless you get a guaranteed pay increase upon completion.

Infinion said:   
  
Most people I know that went in EE/CoE/CS fields TA'd for a year or so while they took real classes.  After that the 'work' was mostly just research, which was just preparation for the dissertation or final project.  Why would they be giving up the opportunity costs for wages?  They get paid too.  Most of the datapoints from people exiting undergrad with me were making around 40k their first year.  Add that to tuition, and it's at best a wash.  

Always depends on circumstances. I've only done undergrad EE and was paid ~$25/hr half-time the last year of that. So, a TA or similar position would have been tough to replace the $30k income plus not provided equal "experience".

I guess some schools might overpay and only have a few hours of work for TA and overpriced tuition... I haven't done grad school but would assume they'd be giving up $30-$50/hr, good point on the research doubling for degree requirements. I'm pretty sure I'm never going back for a PHd, althought might get a Masters (GT OMSCS is only ~$6k total tuition). Even the time investments for that (The tuition is negligible vs the time, plus almost all employers will cover that fully...) seem hard to fully justify if I don't plan to work full-time to 65.

It may make much more sense and cheaper to pick the TA/work-for-school option rather than tuition, but it's still not "free" is my point.

Bend3r said:   
Infinion said:   
  
Most people I know that went in EE/CoE/CS fields TA'd for a year or so while they took real classes.  After that the 'work' was mostly just research, which was just preparation for the dissertation or final project.  Why would they be giving up the opportunity costs for wages?  They get paid too.  Most of the datapoints from people exiting undergrad with me were making around 40k their first year.  Add that to tuition, and it's at best a wash.  

Always depends on circumstances. I've only done undergrad EE and was paid ~$25/hr half-time the last year of that. So, a TA or similar position would have been tough to replace the $30k income plus not provided equal "experience".

I guess some schools might overpay and only have a few hours of work for TA and overpriced tuition... I haven't done grad school but would assume they'd be giving up $30-$50/hr, good point on the research doubling for degree requirements. I'm pretty sure I'm never going back for a PHd, althought might get a Masters (GT OMSCS is only ~$6k total tuition). Even the time investments for that (The tuition is negligible vs the time) seem hard to fully justify if I don't plan to work full-time to 65.

  
Experience:  If you want work experience, then work.  If you want school experience, then go to school.  Giving up work experience isn't an excuse for gaining school experience.  Plus, depending on the research/projects, the school experience might be pretty close to industry experience.  In fact, sometimes, they are one in the same.  (I'm a consult, and we often work in conjunction with university graduate programs.)

Pay:  You were making $50k/yr with, roughly, and undergrad degree.  Someone makes $30k plus tuition, and it's pretty close to a wash, if that's the desired outcome, the degree.  What makes you think someone would be giving up $50/hr by going to grad school when you were making $25/hr?  In the bay area or some other high pay tech centers? Sure.  But the rest of the country, you're not making $100k straight out of undergrad STEM fields.  

Justification:  Rarely do people justify STEMs graduate programs (especially PhD) solely with financial return.  Why?  Because it's not costing them much (or anything) in the first place.  Secondly, the study or degree is aligned with what they want to do.  They want to teach, they want to consult, they want to study forever.  

Infinion said:   
Pay:  You were making $50k/yr with, roughly, and undergrad degree.  Someone makes $30k plus tuition, and it's pretty close to a wash, if that's the desired outcome, the degree.  What makes you think someone would be giving up $50/hr by going to grad school when you were making $25/hr?  In the bay area or some other high pay tech centers? Sure.  But the rest of the country, you're not making $100k straight out of undergrad STEM fields.  

Well I was just extrapolating based on my no-degree pay vs grad school when I'd have a full BS degree, so I'd assume they'd either command a higher pay or get benefits which have a $$ value.  That's true $100k is too high an estimate, I should have thought more on the estimate.

I see where it can usually make sense. Like you mention, if the TA/etc position "pay" plus "tuition waiver" is > expected pay somewhere else for same amount of work, it makes sense. It also makes sense when the "paid" school position overlaps with their degree requirements, and/or the institution is operating as a for-profit business using students as employees.
(Didn't mention but my undergrad was all merit scholarships.. so the "+tuition" would have had a value of $0 during that time.  Sure, that slanted the potential cost/benefit analysis at the time.)



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017