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Categorized | Paying For College

5 of the Most Expensive College Degrees – Worth The Cost?

collegedegreeCollege is expensive, but some degree programs cost a magnitude more than others. Did you know that there are degree programs, both undergraduate and graduate, that cost well over a hundred thousand dollars?

Due to the prestige of the college, the intensity of the program or simply because of the high demand for the degree, these colleges charge exuberant amounts of money. To help protect your pocketbook, here’s a roundup of five of the most expensive college degrees:

Law School

According to US News & World Report the average law school program costs over $150,000 and the average law school student graduates with $93,359 in debt. Why is the price so high? Mainly because law school programs are typically taught by legal professionals who demand high salaries, but also because the law schools know they can get that much for their product.

Juris Doctorates (law degrees) are still widely considered to be one of the most respected credentials in American education, so law schools are able to put a premium pricing on their premium product. But it’s also important to note that some law schools charge significantly more than others, so choose wisely when it comes time to submit those LSAC applications.

Remember that some law schools also offer incredible financial aid opportunities, allowing you to earn your JD without racking up significant student loan debt. Before signing up for the full price of tuition and other fees, make sure to explore all available financial opportunities.

Medical School

Everyone knows that it takes many years, in some cases even up to be a decade to become a qualified doctor. As a result, the price sticker for medical school tends to be extremely high. Unless your parents are funding your education or you have a huge amount of money in savings, it’s normal to graduate from medical school with a substantial amount of student loan debt.

In 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median debt at medical school graduation was $150,000 for those graduating from public institutions and $180,000 for those graduating from private institutions. Again it’s important to note that there are some financial aid opportunities available for medical school students, but the cost of earning MD credentials is still oftentimes extremely high.

Fortunately, many doctors command high salaries, which makes paying off this debt in a reasonable time frame a realistic possibility.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

To make the most out of an increasingly competitive job market, many students are heading back to school during mid-career to increase their earning potential with an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Although this degree can help graduates land better-paying, senior positions, it also tends to be an extremely expensive degree to obtain.

The average cost of an MBA is around $60,000, while the average cost of an MBA program from a private school is well over $100,000. For example, if you want to attend Stanford University for your MBA, the total cost of your program (including average sacrificed salary) was recently calculated by Poets & Quants to be $351,662.

While there are some scholarships and grant options for MBA students, they are not as commonly available as with other types of graduate degrees. However, some companies reimburse their employees for the costs of their MBAs, so make sure to explore this option if you’re considering getting an MBA and want to avoid the mega-sized bill at the end of your program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Getting a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) takes many years, often requiring between 4-7 years of intensive study. As no surprise, completing a PhD program can be extremely expensive. Due to the huge array of PhD programs available in different fields, the exact average cost of a PhD is hard to determine, but the average PhD typically costs over $100,000 to complete.

Despite this high cost, many PhD students do get plenty of funding and scholarships, especially if they are studying a ground breaking subject or anything that will directly benefit the school which they’re attending. It is fairly unusual to come across academic PhD students that have no funding whatsoever, so this degree may not necessarily cost the student quite as much as it initially seems.

Private Undergraduate Programs

So far we’ve only taken a look at graduate programs, but virtually any undergraduate program completed at a private institution will cost a pretty penny. In fact, the average annual tuition cost of a private undergraduate program is $39,800! That’s $159,200 for four years of tuition, and all just to earn an undergraduate degree.

However, even though the sticker price is extremely high for programs from private schools, don’t forget that they are extremely generous in awarding financial aid opportunities too. While very few students end up paying the full price of their education at a private school, though even with those discounts, many still end up graduating with significant student loan debt.

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons  

Each of the above degree programs may be extremely expensive, but don’t forget that they’re also often viewed as the entrance price for earning one’s access to the best salaried jobs on the market.

While it may cost quite a bit to earn the credentials, the eventual pay-off can be even more massive. Ultimately, the choice of just how much to invest in your education is entirely up to you!

Now that you’ve seen some of the priciest programs in higher education– do you think they’re actually worth the cost?

Today’s guest article is provided by Kar Strout

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