‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off (1 Viewer)

itsallhappening

Well-Known Member

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Our own @Patrick Clement was quoted in it:

That was the case for Columbia film MFA student Patrick Clement, who attended community college in California before transferring to the University of Kansas for his bachelor’s degree.

"As a poor kid and a high-school dropout, there was an attraction to getting an Ivy League master’s degree," said Mr. Clement, 41. He graduated in 2020 from Columbia, borrowing more than $360,000 in federal loans for the degree. He is casting for an independent film, he said. To pay the bills, he teaches film at a community college and runs an antique shop.

It is a staggering amount of debt. The worst part is that the balance keeps getting bigger because of interest.

Bush screwed us with that bankruptcy law change. It motivated universities to jack up the prices as it's "guaranteed" to be paid back. Boo. If they faced the possibility of bankruptcy and default because their degrees wouldn't provide the income to pay them off this wouldn't happen. Sigh.

Borrow safe out there
 

Clementine

New Member
For any incoming students into the Columbia program, is there anything that can be done for them after the release of this article? Something that could hold the school accountable for this level of tuition and make them offer higher scholarships or lower tuition? How can any incoming students fight back against this while still being able to attend?
 
There's an article from the WSJ that's been making the rounds, particularly among a lot of the screenwriters I follow on twitter, about how much debt people are accruing on Master's degree. It specifically points to Columbia and NYU as two examples of this: ‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off

(Same article, not behind a paywall: ‘Financially hobbled for life’: The elite master’s degrees that don’t pay off)

Any thoughts?
Thrilled that I didn't get an interview from NYU or Columbia now.
 

abu2030

Active Member
For any incoming students into the Columbia program, is there anything that can be done for them after the release of this article? Something that could hold the school accountable for this level of tuition and make them offer higher scholarships or lower tuition? How can any incoming students fight back against this while still being able to attend?
Organize and threaten to walk away en masse. Programs like these are cash cows, they need your tuition $$. if all the incoming students threaten to walk away after it’s too late to accept other students, I imagine they would be pretty nervous about that…
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Our new article with some tips on saving money for film school is up. If you have other tips and ideas please send them our way!

How to Save Thousands on your Film School Degree

How to Save Thousands on your Film School Degree

If you're trying to decide on whether or not to go to film school, especially for a master's degree, affordability likely plays a major role. The high cost and less predictable ROI on a film degree makes some aspiring students nervous to apply. Take the Wall Street Journal's recent report that...
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
This article is a must-read for MFA applicants. It's not just Columbia and NYU, of course. A degree from USC, AFI, Chapman will run you into similar figures. Some quotes that stood out to me:

"Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000.
Yet two years after earning their master’s degrees, half of the borrowers were making less than $30,000 a year."

"Zack Morrison, of New Jersey, who earned a Master of Fine Arts in film from Columbia in 2018 and praised the quality of the program. His graduate school loan balance now stands at nearly $300,000, including accrued interest. He has been earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year from work as a Hollywood assistant and such side gigs as commercial video production and photography."

"In about a dozen Columbia master’s programs, the majority of recent graduates weren’t repaying the principal on their loans or took forbearance, according to data released for the first time this year."

- i.e.: Students can't pay back their loans. They don't have the money.

"Matt Black graduated from Columbia in 2015 with an MFA in film and $233,000 in federal loans. ... With interest, his balance stands at $331,000."

- That means that in 6 years, they added $100,000 dollars to his loan balance. One hundred thousand dollars.


The one thing this article doesn't mention is that even repayment plans that are supposed to forgive (aka, cancel out or forget) your debt after 20-25 years don't actually do that, according to this article: The U.S. already has student debt forgiveness—but barely anyone gets it

"The National Consumer Law Center estimates that while approximately two million student loan borrowers have been in repayment for more than 20 years, just 32 borrowers have ever qualified for loan cancellation through the federal government’s income-driven repayment program."
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Matt Black graduated from Columbia in 2015 with an MFA in film and $233,000 in federal loans. ... With interest, his balance stands at $331,000."

- That means that in 6 years, they added $100,000 dollars to his loan balance. One hundred thousand dollars.
Yes.... That interest aspect is certainly crazy. Be careful with loans.
 
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