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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Grad school: Big investment, little return

    Graduate school is no longer a viable option for the majority of people. One of the first reasons to choose graduate school is for “greater economic security,” according to a presentation by Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean of the Graduate College.

    That’s not true.

    It’s expensive and no longer a guarantee for a good job. Graduating from grad school doesn’t mean economic security. For the majority of undergraduates, it would mean economic ruin. At this point in time, graduate school only makes sense if a company or the government is willing to pay for your tuition.

    Many parents can barely afford to pay for the first four years of college, and most students will apply for or need some type of financial aid. Add graduate school and new student loans and students are graduating with mountains of debt. New policies were put into place to forgive certain student debt solely because it’s a growing and rampant problem in America.

    Students need to realize that spending more money than they have is not a smart idea. Hell, most Americans need to realize that.

    A bachelor’s degree is the modern high school diploma. It’s a necessity and without it, getting a decent job is next to impossible. But, a master’s is just superfluous.

    Two more years in school, thousands of dollars more and for what? A piece of paper that doesn’t guarantee you a job any more than a bachelor’s degree does.

    College graduates should spend that time focusing on finding a job and would be smart to spend their money on moving to a place where they can get hired.

    For the first time since 2003, the number of people who enrolled in graduate school has declined, according to data from the Council of Graduate Schools.

    “With this recession going on for so long, people who have a job are less likely to want to leave it to go back to school, because it’s not at all clear that there will be a job for them at the other end,” Debra W. Stewart, the council’s president, told The New York Times.

    Until the economy actually improves, not just the government saying it has, getting a bachelor’s degree, finding and keeping a job is far more important than getting a master’s degree.

    In Tucson, only around 22.9 percent of people 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the 2010 US Census. This is less than in the rest of the state, where 23.5 percent of people have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

    Our focus should not be on getting people into graduate school, it should be on just getting students to graduate. Our focus should not be on whether or not graduate school is declining. Rather, our focus should be on freshmen retention and increasing the graduation rate of bachelor’s degrees.

    Let’s face it, graduate school is only for the elite, or those who can get others to pay for it. The UA should be focused on retaining the undergraduates it has, not trying to advertise its graduate program.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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