in which i try and pay for my Master's degree

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by shecky, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    for those of you who have or are in the process of getting your master's degree, i am curious as to how you are paying for it? i am looking at a private institution (versus a state school) for my MFA in the fall and i am starting to get more than a little freaked out about how to cover tuition + expenses. (tuition = $31K; expenses about another $20K per year x 2 years) i am particularly curious in what merit-based scholarships/grants/fellowships/etc people have gotten; there are so many out there i do not want to miss anything. I want to try and do this without incurring any additional debt as i am already in the hole for $100K for my BFA. i suppose i could live with the graduate stafford/perkins loan of about $20K/year but i still need to find another $31K!

  2. DrStrangelove macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2006
    I applied and was chosen for a "graduate assistant's" position at my university. 18 hours a week of work and tuition was paid for. It may be easier (as it was for me) if you're trying to get a GA at the same school where you did your undergraduate (I was VERY active and had a lot of connections), but it isn't necessary.

    If you've got a high enough GPA going in and you're moderately responsible you probably have as good a shot as any. After I got my master's (again having continued to build a rep and support base at the university) I got a teaching job (adjunct) at the same place. It was a great experience.

    Good luck!
  3. shecky thread starter Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    actually i am planning on getting the MFA at the same place i got my BFA so an assistantship (as they call it) is practically guaranteed; unfortunately it maxes around $10,000 per year (i think). i also was extremely active and am very close with all the faculty, so i am hoping to work my connections and get a good package offered to me.
  4. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    Thats my plan too
  5. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    first of all, congrats on graduating with your bachelor's and from an elite eastern school

    originally, this post was supposed to be a PM where i may not have been too sympathetic with anyone getting a master's if they already had 100k in student debt...from my experience, i have seen artists, even great ones, have a hard time paying off loans from getting an elite bfa education from a private college (like NYU, yale, sva, etc)

    my wife also went that route and it took her 20+ years to get it paid off

    my music recording buddy got his mfa in film from usc and he has huge debt and has never had a high paying career

    that and me getting my training as an mba in arts administration which does push more for the pragmatic

    so when my wife got home, she jumped all over me for "discouraging" an artist...


    so here's her point of view, as an artist, which i am not:

    hi shecky

    i think all this angst about student loans is a waist of your precious education that paid for it, i know this stems from being a graduate and wondering what direction your talents will take you....i think getting out there and see where your ambitions take you in the wide open field of design is overwhelming, but the most important thing to do after spending time and money in the safety of school. I say go for it and get your book out there-you have a book don't you-i am curious what you studied etc. I am proposing this alternative to going back to school right away-since you are still young you can go to masters studies when you are more focused or have a better estimate where your career will take you.
    I had this dilema - i am not sure if i am speaking out of turn here, but man you gotta get your feet wet....the other option is yes continue with the masters degreee, maybe it will spur you on to the job you need/want to pay off the bill? Even if you do you will still have to start from the same place you are now and that is Where do i start?? Good Luck
  6. letsgorangers macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2006
    i took out a loan to get my through the first year. but during the first week, i was offered a 20 hour GA position. it pays my tuition, as well as a bit of money on the side. i do still use some of the loan money, because well, the stipend isn't THAT great after rent/utilities/etc.

    you'll work it out. enjoy it! grad school can be kinda fun (sometimes....).
  7. grafikat macrumors 6502a


    Dec 5, 2003
    Ugh, MFA questions!

    I have been going back and forth about getting mine. Since I just started a new, fulltime job on Monday, that has been placed on permanent hold.

    I had a very interesting talk with a professor about getting my MFA. He's the head of a department in Colorado, and took the time to speak with me extensively about my expectations, etc, even though I would not be enrolling in his school. Basicly he said that an MFA will really only do you good if you want to teach. He also said that the likelyhood of getting a teaching position is akin to getting on to a major league team. Actually, tougher (there are more positions open in baseball :eek: ). There is one "online" school that is always looking for instructors, which is one of the schools I had considered. Let's just say that a certain school in Savannah does not have a great reputation in the academic world.

    Universities are VERY political. The policy at many Colorado schools is they won't higher someone who got *any* degree from them! These same institutions frown on highering someone who got their master's from the same school as your BFA. They want *diversity*. The university system is VERY competitive.

    I had wanted to go back and study art after 20 years. I was told that the Vermont online program is the best distance learning option, and I may revisit this option after I'm setting in my new design job.

    Sorry if this post sounds kind of negative. Just passing along info that I've gathered....Cheers!
  8. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    my wife just read this post and she was told the same thing about a masters, in the realm of art

    i also had a friend who had a plan A and plan B approach to this from his 20s..first he became a great rock and roll guitarist and got his bfa in music composition and then worked his tail off in the music industry for the next decade trying to land that elusive record contract

    when that didn't happen, he went back to graduate school in his mid 30s and then got his mfa and then his phd and for quite some time now, he has been the guitar professor as the junior college which actually does not pay bad in california and is like winning the lottery compared to being an unsigned band in hollywood or san francisco

    he's a little older than me and in his 50s and he has no regrets...he basically got to have his cake and eat it, too (many years of veteran rock and roll club experience in big cities and getting a graduate education in music and getting to teach others)

    my other friend, who is my age in his 40s, wanted to be a rock and roll musician but he went to college for eight years straight and finished his graduate education, but every time i talk with him, he seems to yearn about what he could have done as a rock and roll least he has his degrees in music, but it's interesting to see the void in his life by never having done the rock music lifestyle thing while in his 20s

    moral of the story...heck i don't know, but go out and do your art in the big world and get post bachelor's training, too (not necesarily a degree, either since there are oppotunities to work in art workshops with legends)

    what i would like to do, if i can find the time, is to do one of those with david wilcox, or similar artist, at a songwriter's camp for adults
  9. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2002
    It's all a big scam. Teaching positions abound, as I have two very close friends with MFAs in Painting and Sculpture and they attest to this. They said they had this "scarce jobs" line pummeled into their skulls whilst pursuing their MFA and have found it to be quite the opposite.

    As for what an MFA is worth, well it depends on your field of study. The aforementioned painting and sculpture, you'll get more respect from galleries if you are self-taught than if you have a BFA. Every MFA I've ever spoken with, says despite their best efforts, they end up looking down on people with only a BFA. And having a BFA myself in sculpture, they speak the truth.

    An MFA will also help an artist to develop and refine their talents. To increase their "vocabulary". Make more connections, meet more people, etc. Very important if ones goal is a studio artist.
  10. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    i also know baseball is hard to get into...statistically speaking :)

    but one guy in town, our small, ignorant redneck town, was not told this...he went to college and broke more records than any player in college history, and then went to the pros and was a star there, too and made a boatload of cash (and i hear people always hit him up for cash even though there are richer, but more incognito, people in town)

    at one point he complained that toward the end of his majors career, that he only made 350k and the whole small town over here almost casterated him for that dumb statement...he he
  11. Teh Don Ditty macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

    Jan 15, 2007
    I just started my MBA in Management/HR and it's going to cost me about $40k to complete it. (48 credits, part time) I'm paying for it via student loans and all that happy nonsense. My employer has tution reimbursement, so every little bit helps.

    Best of luck to all that are working towards their Masters!
  12. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    An old thread but interesting topic. I had mine paid for with a salary in addition to free school
  13. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    I finished my BFA from a public university in 2012... Thankfully I graduated with not too much in the way of loans, and have a decent, salaried job in my field.

    If one can earn a decent living without the masters, don't waste the money - you won't make it back in income for a great long while. Unless it's a guaranteed payoff, which nothing in the fine arts is, it's likely going to cost you far more than the initial investment.
  14. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    I got some scholarships, my employer had tuition reimbursement and my parents helped out a little bit. I don't recall the total bill, but I paid for whatever was left out my own pocket as I worked full time and went to school simultaneously.

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