According to education policy analysts, about 3 million Americans will enroll in graduate programs this year, earning a degree that isn’t always worth the money.
Many undergraduates earn a bachelor’s degree and go straight to graduate school, hoping to gain a new degree or skill that will make them more attractive to prospective employers.
“People go there for a reason,” said James Murphy, senior policy analyst at advocacy group Education Reform Now. “They go to get good jobs and make more money.”
However recent research 40% of master’s programs in the US show no positive returns.
“It’s not enough just to get that master’s degree, given the cost of attendance and time off work,” Murphy told CBS News.
In some cases, the return on investment is negative (-). This means that degree holders spend more money than they could reasonably expect to earn later in graduate school.
“You end up making less money with this degree,” Murphy added, “so that’s a very bad thing.” Complicating the matter is the fact that about 60% of degree holders take out loans to pay for their graduate programs and end up in student loan debt.
Murphy said the federal government is reckless in providing loans to students who owe more than they can repay. Meanwhile, colleges get rich with tuition.
“It’s the colleges that are seeing huge piles of money and grabbing them,” Murphy said.
About 9,000 new master’s degree programs have been created in the last decade alone. But other new job types are not.
“It’s essentially a university looking at the money there and getting it,” Murphy said.
He urged students to consider whether a master’s degree makes sense before enrolling in the program. First, ask yourself why you want to pursue a master’s degree.
“If your answer is to make more money and get a better job, and that’s your only answer, it’s probably not a good idea,” he said.
On the other hand, it may be worth the investment if you can point to specific data about the program you are interested in and marketable skills or credentials that could lead to higher paying jobs. For example, in many public schools, teachers with a master’s degree in education make more money than teachers who do not.
“If you’re going to make that profit, it makes sense,” Murphy said.
Also visit the site operated by the US Department of Education. college transcriptHe suggested comparing the cost and value of higher education institutions across the United States.
Beware of programs that Murphy promises only great networks and better communication skills.
“Find something you can’t do now that you can actually do in a year or two.”