Graduate school is notoriously expensive. In fact, someone with a master’s of science will walk away with an average of $50,400 in student loans. While getting an additional degree may help your earning potential, an increased salary isn’t always a guarantee.
But if you’ve been wondering “how much does a master’s degree cost?” and if it’s worth it, it’s important to know that there have been some major shifts in the industry. A well-known and respected university has begun offering a master’s degree program for just $7,000.
Find out more about the program and how to determine a master’s degree worth.
How much does a master’s degree cost?
The cost of a master’s degree can vary widely, depending on your course of study and where you go to school. The average master’s degree costs between $30,000 and $120,000, and that’s on top of any money you spent on your undergraduate degree.
But there are ways to get your master’s degree much cheaper — without sacrificing the quality of your education.
Georgia Institute of Technology’s program
In 2014, Georgia Tech launched a new program. Students could go to school online and get a master’s degree in computer science for just $7,000. The master’s in computer science was the first of this “massive online” format.
Cheap online degrees aren’t new, but most have been from little-known schools or for-profit institutions. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, is a large and well-respected university. They rank No. 7 among public universities in the nation and have the ninth-best computer science graduate program according to the U.S. News & World Report.
Similar programs at the University of Southern California and Syracuse University cost about $57,000 and $43,000, respectively. Georgia Tech’s program is just a fraction of what other schools charge. And while schools like Syracuse offer online versions, too, their programs cost the same as their residential programs.
Initially, Georgia Tech accepted only a small group of students, about 500 in all. Two years later, the first students are graduating from the program, and the school is looking to expand its online degree offerings.
Georgia Tech’s program is intensive. Course videos are high-quality and well-produced and an external company monitors exams remotely.
Should I get a master’s degree?
At just $7,000, Georgia Tech’s program is a bargain compared to getting a master’s degree elsewhere. But it’s still a lot of money to spend outright. Before pursuing a master’s degree with Georgia Tech — or anywhere else — it’s important to consider your degree’s return on investment (ROI).
In some fields, and in some locations, a master’s degree is just not necessary. Getting one will only add debt. But in other cases, a master’s degree can be a lucrative investment.
One of the biggest factors to consider when deciding whether or not to get a degree is the difference in salary. PayScale is a great resource for seeing your potential ROI. You can see what other people in your area, at your level, and with similar education earn.
For example, let’s say you’re a computer programmer in Philadelphia and you have just one year of experience. If you had a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech, you could expect a salary around $65,000.
But if all of that information stays the same and you boost your degree to a master’s from Georgia Tech’s computer science program, you salary jumps to $74,000. In this case, a $7,000 investment in your education gets you a $9,000 return, netting you $2,000. The salary increase alone would pay off your education costs.
Pursuing a master’s degree
When figuring out the cost of a master’s degree, make sure you look at all of the factors. Checking your ROI on any education decision is an important step to take before enrolling in a program. It can help you decide if it will pay off in the long run or if will cause you to be in debt.
If you’re thinking about going to graduate school but need more information, we’ve got you covered. Check out this article to find out if graduate school is worth it.
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