bromeliad

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I have recently been accepted into USC's DPT program. Initially, I assumed that I would attend a norCal school over a soCal school no matter what. However, the more I look into USC's program, the more I get the uncomfortable feeling that I would be passing up on a great opportunity.

I humbly ask that current DPT students or alumni from this program provide as objective feedback as they can muster. Is the $160K cost worth it? The consensus seems to be that it doesn't matter where you get your DPT, because everyone gets the same license. Does this reasoning apply when considering the TOP ranked program, or is USC the exception to this commonly believed rule? I also hear, more rarely, that coming from a highly ranked program does help in more subtle ways (e.g., valuable network, bringing your resume to the top of the pile, better salary negotiating leverage).

Just for some background, by the time the program starts, I will be living with my husband who will be working to support the both of us. We've accepted that I will probably have to maximize financial aid loans. Debt does matter to me, to a certain extent. Neither of us are made of money, old or new. However, I don't mind having student loans to pay off for 10+ years, as long as the investment is worth it and I don't have to live on instant ramen for those 10+ years. So the only question to answer is.. was it worth it for you? I understand I'll get a lot of different responses here, so I would appreciate it if we all treat each others' input with respect :)
 
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DesertPT

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USC is the top ranked program largely because of their prominent faculty members and voluminous research output which stems from having more money with which to do said research than most programs, which is in part of course due to their large class size combined with high tuition allowing them to have a considerably larger faculty than most programs. From a strictly financial perspective I would personally say it's probably not worth it, but if you are interested in a research career it could be. Having a large class size and the corresponding large faculty has both pros and cons, which have been discussed repeatedly on this board if you're interested.
 

topher031888

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Honestly, if I received an application from someone who went to USC it would probably go to the bottom of the pile. Anyone who willingly paid that much for their degree (assuming they had other options) isn't someone I would care to hire. I have worked with several USC and USA graduates and nearly all of them have regretted their decision due to the amount of debt they accrued (I have met some who didn't, but they didn't pay for their own education). DesertPT described well why it is highly ranked, it has little to do with the education you will be receiving. That being said, there are ample research opportunities at many excellent and much more affordable institutions.
 
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bromeliad

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USC is the top ranked program largely because of their prominent faculty members and voluminous research output which stems from having more money with which to do said research than most programs, which is in part of course due to their large class size combined with high tuition allowing them to have a considerably larger faculty than most programs. From a strictly financial perspective I would personally say it's probably not worth it, but if you are interested in a research career it could be. Having a large class size and the corresponding large faculty has both pros and cons, which have been discussed repeatedly on this board if you're interested.
This makes a lot of sense. The program seems to be a tried-and-true, well-oiled machine. The 50 weeks of clinical exposure is one of the biggest selling points for me. I'm trying to approach it less from a strictly financial perspective, and more from an ROI perspective which is why I wanted to hear from the community in general as well as current and former students of the program. I've been combing the forums, both PT and pre-PT for anything mentioning USC, but I don't see a lot of actual Trojans chiming in. I've just talked with one current student and one alumni, so I really wanted to get a larger sample of feedback.

I definitely appreciate your input here! Thanks for taking the time to respond.
 

Azimuthal

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Honestly, if I received an application from someone who went to USC it would probably go to the bottom of the pile. Anyone who willingly paid that much for their degree (assuming they had other options) isn't someone I would care to hire. I have worked with several USC and USA graduates and nearly all of them have regretted their decision due to the amount of debt they accrued (I have met some who didn't, but they didn't pay for their own education). DesertPT described well why it is highly ranked, it has little to do with the education you will be receiving. That being said, there are ample research opportunities at many excellent and much more affordable institutions.
I hope you're greatly exaggerating. If that's the only reason to place a qualified candidate "to the bottom of the pile", then the applicants are better off elsewhere. That just demonstrates poor decision making skills and any manager who does so may benefit from some education in talent acquisition. EIM's president once said on Facebook that he would not hire anyone with large debt because in his experience, he can not pay new grads enough for retention. That's a more plausible reasoning, though also misguided.
 

bromeliad

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Honestly, if I received an application from someone who went to USC it would probably go to the bottom of the pile. Anyone who willingly paid that much for their degree (assuming they had other options) isn't someone I would care to hire. I have worked with several USC and USA graduates and nearly all of them have regretted their decision due to the amount of debt they accrued (I have met some who didn't, but they didn't pay for their own education). DesertPT described well why it is highly ranked, it has little to do with the education you will be receiving. That being said, there are ample research opportunities at many excellent and much more affordable institutions.
I've only been able to talk with a couple of Trojans about how they liked the program. They both love(d) it and believe they got what they paid for. Funnily enough, the one that paid his/her own way said it was worth the debt that is still being paid off 10 years later, and the one whose parents paid for it said that he/she probably wouldn't have accepted the admission if he/she had to pay his/her own way. If you know any USC students/alumni on the forums, please direct them to this thread! I'd love to get more feedback.

I can definitely understand why some people wouldn't even entertain the idea of spending so much on a program; it can be an incredible burden. One of the reasons I'm entertaining the idea is that I already know that my undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley has helped me get ahead well after graduation. The tech start-up where I worked for almost 3 years almost exclusively hired people from highly reputable undergraduate institutions. My experience with this benefit is what makes me wonder if the same could possibly be true for graduate school, even if people routinely dismiss it.

I will definitely take your experiences and opinions into consideration though. Your thoughts are appreciated!
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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I'm a die-hard Trojan.

2 degrees, 2 certificates I didn't pursue, currently accepted to MSW at USC.

I know absolutely nothing of the DPT program but I was a grad school resident advisor with someone in OT'; my co-staff member loved the program.

USC will always be worth it. In terms of connections, education, research, faculty, etc. I am, however, debating the financial burden of taking on an MSW (and whether I'd rather be a primary care physician or a social worker).

But USC does offer tons of need based and merit based scholarships. If I choose medicine, I'm probably going back there if I'm blessed enough to get in again. Fight on!
 

bromeliad

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I hope you're greatly exaggerating. If that's the only reason to place a qualified candidate "to the bottom of the pile", then the applicants are better off elsewhere. That just demonstrates poor decision making skills and any manager who does so may benefit from some education in talent acquisition. EIM's president once said on Facebook that he would not hire anyone with large debt because in his experience, he can not pay new grads enough for retention. That's a more plausible reasoning, though also misguided.
If you don't mind, could you expand on that very last part? It sounds like you don't hold the same views as topher031888 or EIM's president in regards to graduates shouldering large debt, and I'd love to hear your take on things.
 

bromeliad

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I'm a die-hard Trojan.

2 degrees, 2 certificates I didn't pursue, currently accepted to MSW at USC.

I know absolutely nothing of the DPT program but I was a grad school resident advisor with someone in OT'; my co-staff member loved the program.

USC will always be worth it. In terms of connections, education, research, faculty, etc. I am, however, debating the financial burden of taking on an MSW (and whether I'd rather be a primary care physician or a social worker).

But USC does offer tons of need based and merit based scholarships. If I choose medicine, I'm probably going back there if I'm blessed enough to get in again. Fight on!
Thanks for chiming in!

I'm just starting to look further into financial aid at the programs I applied to. Do you have personal experience with the need-based and merit-based scholarships there, or have you just heard from other students that these are pretty abundant? I'm pretty sure I'll be up there in the "need-based" group, so if there's a lot to go around I would definitely feel a lot better about the hefty $160K price tag :p

Good luck with your MSW vs medicine decision!!
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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I know from personal experience in 2 different fields at SC that scholarships are abundant. Have you looked into your program much? PM and I'll try to help. USC usually has scholarships for their programs listed, not exactly sure what program you're interested in.
 

Azimuthal

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If you don't mind, could you expand on that very last part? It sounds like you don't hold the same views as topher031888 or EIM's president in regards to graduates shouldering large debt, and I'd love to hear your take on things.
What? Large debt is a huge problem. If you attend USC without a large scholarship, it will burden you. Your dilemma comes from the fact that you have not seen your repayment plus accrued interest. It's a mortgage (in some cases, a mortgage plus a few cars, a motorcycle, and a boat) I'm a CA resident, I did not bother applying to USC, although I had a good portion of GI Bill left from my undergrad and masters. I was willing to attend more expensive schools due to the benefits I had, however, when I looked into it, USC was the most expensive in terms of tuition and fees at that time.

Not hiring someone because of what school they went to while chanting "all licenses are the same" is asinine. That has nothing to do with clinical skills, personality, good setting fit, etc. That's like me saying that I will not hire someone from South College's online program. If they meet our requirements, they will receive the same interview and practical testing that all candidates go through.
 

bromeliad

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I know from personal experience in 2 different fields at SC that scholarships are abundant. Have you looked into your program much? PM and I'll try to help. USC usually has scholarships for their programs listed, not exactly sure what program you're interested in.
PM sent. Thanks for your help!
 

bromeliad

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What? Large debt is a huge problem. If you attend USC without a large scholarship, it will burden you. Your dilemma comes from the fact that you have not seen your repayment plus accrued interest. It's a mortgage (in some cases, a mortgage plus a few cars, a motorcycle, and a boat) I'm a CA resident, I did not bother applying to USC, although I had a good portion of GI Bill left from my undergrad and masters. I was willing to attend more expensive schools due to the benefits I had, however, when I looked into it, USC was the most expensive in terms of tuition and fees at that time.

Not hiring someone because of what school they went to while chanting "all licenses are the same" is asinine. That has nothing to do with clinical skills, personality, good setting fit, etc. That's like me saying that I will not hire someone from South College's online program. If they meet our requirements, they will receive the same interview and practical testing that all candidates go through.
I agree that the ultimate determinant of a job offer should be overall competency. My problem is that I don't really know if the program at USC will lend a significant amount to my overall competency as a clinician upon graduation, such that the price tag is rendered worthwhile. The 50 weeks of clinical exposure is what's mostly keeping me intrigued; no other program I applied to comes close. You're right though, debt is not a small issue. I've been strategically preparing my personal finances for 2 years prior to applications in order to soften the blow!
 
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jblil

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I love Trojans, er, I love the Trojans... Funny how one article can make a big difference! (I am male)

Kidding aside, here is one more thing you can do to help you make a decision: draft up a sample post-graduation monthly budget, and make sure to include your loan repayments and especially federal and local taxes. As for income, you can look at the "Starting Salary for new-grads" thread/survey. Even though I have graduated, I plan to keep the survey running. I have no idea what salaries are going to be like 3-4 years in the future, but you can look at today's numbers and make a guesstimate. Be realistic when drafting up your budget, and if you think you can live with the results, go for USC and the loans. I moonlight as an independent tax preparer during the tax season, and a lot of my customers bitch about the student loans they have to repay. None of those folks ever weighed the burden of repaying them, back when they took the loans out.

Lastly, and I think the point was mentioned in one of the other (numerous) threads about loans and prestige of schools: medicine and law are two fields where school pedigree is extremely important. Other fields, not so much if at all. On a personal note, I had the choice of going to Carnegie-Mellon or Va Tech for my engineering undergrad. I went with Va Tech for financial reasons, and I don't think it hurt my career at all. IMO as long as you go to a decent school for your DPT (i.e., not the Univ. of Phoenix), you'll be fine. Reflecting on the past 3 years, I am firmly convinced that you get out of the degree what you put into it.
 
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jchen707

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Honestly, if I received an application from someone who went to USC it would probably go to the bottom of the pile. Anyone who willingly paid that much for their degree (assuming they had other options) isn't someone I would care to hire. I have worked with several USC and USA graduates and nearly all of them have regretted their decision due to the amount of debt they accrued (I have met some who didn't, but they didn't pay for their own education). DesertPT described well why it is highly ranked, it has little to do with the education you will be receiving. That being said, there are ample research opportunities at many excellent and much more affordable institutions.
Isn't that a bit harsh? Bottom of the pile bc of the school they chose? Every school has pros and cons and intangibles. It comes down the individual and not necessarily the program in many ways. There will be good PT and bad PTs from every program but please don't discriminate based on the program someone chose
 

DesertPT

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And for the record my first post in this thread explaining the primary reason why USC is the #1 USNWR ranked school was only explaining just that. I did not say anything for or against the quality of education there, the opportunities available there, etc. Rankings in USNWR for PT are based on faculty surveys in which faculty essentially end up giving the most votes to schools where they have heard of the most names. Hence USC is #1 for the reasons stated above. Other than that I can't make any claims about the program (other than that I hate USC because I went to another Pac-12 south school, but that's another issue :p)
 

callmecrazy

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The 50 weeks of clinical exposure is what's mostly keeping me intrigued; no other program I applied to comes close.
There are programs out there that actually offer more than this, but I think there's a point where it becomes negligible. I attended one of those programs, and while I think it was great in many aspects, it's not necessary. I would have felt just as prepared had I just graduated months earlier. A semester less in the clinic, and a semester less in tuition, would have left me equally prepared to practice with less debt.
 

bromeliad

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I love Trojans, er, I love the Trojans... Funny how one article can make a big difference! (I am male)

Kidding aside, here is one more thing you can do to help you make a decision: draft up a sample post-graduation monthly budget, and make sure to include your loan repayments and especially federal and local taxes. As for income, you can look at the "Starting Salary for new-grads" thread/survey. Even though I have graduated, I plan to keep the survey running. I have no idea what salaries are going to be like 3-4 years in the future, but you can look at today's numbers and make a guesstimate. Be realistic when drafting up your budget, and if you think you can live with the results, go for USC and the loans. I moonlight as an independent tax preparer during the tax season, and a lot of my customers bitch about the student loans they have to repay. None of those folks ever weighed the burden of repaying them, back when they took the loans out.

Lastly, and I think the point was mentioned in one of the other (numerous) threads about loans and prestige of schools: medicine and law are two fields where school pedigree is extremely important. Other fields, not so much if at all. On a personal note, I had the choice of going to Carnegie-Mellon or Va Tech for my engineering undergrad. I went with Va Tech for financial reasons, and I don't think it hurt my career at all. IMO as long as you go to a decent school for your DPT (i.e., not the Univ. of Phoenix), you'll be fine. Reflecting on the past 3 years, I am firmly convinced that you get out of the degree what you put into it.
That's a great approach to estimating my level of debt aversion. Though I do love excel spreadsheets as much as the next person, I'll probably make some time to meet with my financial advisor before making any commitment to programs over $100K in tuition.

As for the debt vs prestige debate, my inclination is to agree with you. While prestige might (though not guaranteed to) give you a little something extra, that little something extra is useless if there's nothing of substance that it's being added onto. But an little extra $50K in your pocket is a large amount no matter what :p Appreciate your input!
 

bromeliad

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There are programs out there that actually offer more than this, but I think there's a point where it becomes negligible. I attended one of those programs, and while I think it was great in many aspects, it's not necessary. I would have felt just as prepared had I just graduated months earlier. A semester less in the clinic, and a semester less in tuition, would have left me equally prepared to practice with less debt.
I really appreciate your insight here. I get pretty nervous when I think about how unprepared I might be to actually go out into the world to treat the masses, but I'm understand this is a common anxiety when first starting. Accredited programs are accredited for a reason. I've just been waiting a long time to get back on track for DPT, and I don't want to mess up this chance. The thought of not being able to give patients the best care I can after graduation is a bit frightening, even though I know in my head that the real learning starts after graduation anyway.
 
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I'm trying to approach it less from a strictly financial perspective, and more from an ROI perspective....
For maximizing nonfinancial ROI (?), I'd prefer less debt that allowed me to do a residency or work somewhere with better mentorship after school. With boatloads of debt, you may have to work someplace less than ideal just to get by. But then you can fondly remember those extra weeks of working under someone else's license while not getting paid.
 

bromeliad

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For maximizing nonfinancial ROI (?), I'd prefer less debt that allowed me to do a residency or work somewhere with better mentorship after school. With boatloads of debt, you may have to work someplace less than ideal just to get by. But then you can fondly remember those extra weeks of working under someone else's license while not getting paid.
I wouldn't mind working extra weeks under someone else's license for free if it meant I would be better prepared as a clinician. The same goes for paying a higher tuition if it becomes worth it in the long run. My issue has been not knowing if these would be the case. Again, the unknown ROI is why I wanted to hear from more USC PT students/alumni. However, tons of people have provided valuable insight here, so I'm getting a better picture!
 

jesspt

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I wouldn't mind working extra weeks under someone else's license for free if it meant I would be better prepared as a clinician. The same goes for paying a higher tuition if it becomes worth it in the long run. My issue has been not knowing if these would be the case. Again, the unknown ROI is why I wanted to hear from more USC PT students/alumni. However, tons of people have provided valuable insight here, so I'm getting a better picture!

If you've used the search function, you'll know that the vast majority of practicing clinicians would advise you against taking on more debt than is necessary. So, my question to you is why are you soliciting opinions for clinicians who are more likely to be biased toward obtaining more debt because they went to USC.

My opinion, FWIW, is that you are crazy to spend $160,000 on a school that is unlikely to prepare you significantly better for PT practice than many other less expensive schools. The number one complaint I here from new graduates is regarding their student debt.
 
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bromeliad

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I actually have used the search function and read the several posts arguing that less debt trumps school rank in most cases. The reason why I started the thread was because if I knew more people in my life that went to USC for DPT, I would ask them, "Was it worth it for you?" Now could those hypothetical friends be biased? Sure. Does that risk of bias increase by asking strangers on a forum? Absolutely. But it remains that I would ask, which is a pretty natural inclination in my opinion. I would hope that if someone regrets their decision to go to USC for financial reasons and reads my thread, that they would be honest about it. Is it naive or a waste of my time to ask here? Possibly. But I figured it wouldn't hurt.
 
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engmedpt

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Going to USC is a terrible decision.

The market is good at the moment. Go cheapest with highest pass rates. If something happens with fed funding, the for profits and privates will be hit first with funding changes.

FWIW some of the top schools have research output, excellent rankings, and alumni bases and the professors intentionally have not raised the price of tuition to the point where you will never be able to pay it back because they actually know how bad we have it trying to break in.

The head of the APTA just commented on social media that she is afraid the higher ed system is the next "bubble to burst."

....It's actually not for economic reasons I won't go into (everyone thinks higher ed and housing mirror each other perfectly and they don't).......don't did yourself a hole.

....I will have five figs debt very close to realistic projected starting salaries.

I hope you're greatly exaggerating. If that's the only reason to place a qualified candidate "to the bottom of the pile", then the applicants are better off elsewhere. That just demonstrates poor decision making skills and any manager who does so may benefit from some education in talent acquisition. EIM's president once said on Facebook that he would not hire anyone with large debt because in his experience, he can not pay new grads enough for retention. That's a more plausible reasoning, though also misguided.
......ya. Love how that factoid got circulated around the community and is tagged onto his reputation now. Fantastic character discriminating against those for which a system is essentially rigged for getting into jobs where there is a need.

Sadly I imagine this will actually be a thing someday...
No. It won't. The South U DPT by EIM's prez was meant to address the cost of education. His reputation and track record are the reason why it got accreditation I believe. I'm still expecting it to be a mess.

That's a great approach to estimating my level of debt aversion. Though I do love excel spreadsheets as much as the next person, I'll probably make some time to meet with my financial advisor before making any commitment to programs over $100K in tuition.

You shouldn't go to any programs charging 100k tuition.

As for the debt vs prestige debate, my inclination is to agree with you. While prestige might (though not guaranteed to) give you a little something extra, that little something extra is useless if there's nothing of substance that it's being added onto. But an little extra $50K in your pocket is a large amount no matter what :p Appreciate your input!
Your salary is tied to market forces completely unrelated to your degree. Your prestige would only give you connects and a peanuts sign on bonus compared to the extra debt from "quality education." This isn't business or law school. The market is tied to the target population and prevalence of need for your practice which is becoming overwhelmingly geriatrics (Hi! Neuro!) as well as the structure of the healthcare system and demand which is leaning more towards prevention, cost effectiveness and control (yikes for surgery) and addressing an insanely large population tied to CMS and insurance (nobody knows much about ACA yet as it continues to weave its way around the system in the coming years).

I really appreciate your insight here. I get pretty nervous when I think about how unprepared I might be to actually go out into the world to treat the masses, but I'm understand this is a common anxiety when first starting. Accredited programs are accredited for a reason. I've just been waiting a long time to get back on track for DPT, and I don't want to mess up this chance. The thought of not being able to give patients the best care I can after graduation is a bit frightening, even though I know in my head that the real learning starts after graduation anyway.
You will learn more in your first semester than anything compared to undergrad in an even remotely similar amount of time. It is a firehose. You also aren't learning random science factoids that don't build on each other next semester. The application starts from day 1 if your school is good and your faculty care.
 
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ptisfun2

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I actually have used the search function and read the several posts arguing that less debt trumps school rank in most cases. The reason why I started the thread was because if I knew more people in my life that went to USC for DPT, I would ask them, "Was it worth it for you?" Now could those hypothetical friends be biased? Sure. Does that risk of bias increase by asking strangers on a forum? Absolutely. But it remains that I would ask, which is a pretty natural inclination in my opinion. I would hope that if someone regrets their decision to go to USC for financial reasons and reads my thread, that they would be honest about it. Is it naive or a waste of my time to ask here? Possibly. But I figured it wouldn't hurt.
I think you are doing the right thing....talking with people who graduated from that school. USC is a great school (I do not work there, but lots of applicants we have also apply there) with FANTASTIC clinician-teachers. You will get a very good education there, but only you can figure out if it is the BEST FIT for you.
I am not in favor of student tuition used to fund faculty research, but what I have seen, experienced, and heard about, USC is not the worst at this...not by far. They have some well-funded researchers, and students may have no contact with these people. But they are externally funded, so students should not have contact with them....someone other than USC is paying their salary.
I have helped fill out the USNWR survey for PT schools (we completed it at a faculty meeting), and research productivity is not the only thing evaluated.. not by a long shot.
 
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engmedpt

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I think you are doing the right thing....talking with people who graduated from that school. USC is a great school (I do not work there, but lots of applicants we have also apply there) with FANTASTIC clinician-teachers. You will get a very good education there, but only you can figure out if it is the BEST FIT for you.
I am not in favor of student tuition used to fund faculty research, but what I have seen, experienced, and heard about, USC is not the worst at this...not by far. They have some well-funded researchers, and students may have no contact with these people. But they are externally funded, so students should not have contact with them....someone other than USC is paying their salary.
I have helped fill out the USNWR survey for PT schools (we completed it at a faculty meeting), and research productivity is not the only thing evaluated.. not by a long shot.
What are the criteria for USNEWS?
 
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I can only speak on the fact that I've only been at USC for a semester, but I definitely don't regret my decision. The financial debt weighed heavily on my mind, but from speaking with people that were part of the program and faculty prior to deciding, I really wanted to work with some of the top faculty and leaders in the profession. The faculty is great and they actually do care about us learning and doing well. We have a really big class size, but there's a really good student to faculty ratio and that gives us a lot of different perspectives as well. In our clinical skills class, we are split into groups of about 9-10 and have a faculty leader for our groups, but we get to interact and work with all the different faculty group leaders. My opinion may be different than yours, but no matter what school you're interested in, you should go check it out yourself and see if that school is a good fit for you. Hope this helps a little.
 
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bromeliad

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If something happens with fed funding, the for profits and privates will be hit first with funding changes.
Is it the general consensus that PTs should highly anticipate such changes? Also, pardon my ignorance, but what kind of changes could these be?
 

bromeliad

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I think you are doing the right thing....talking with people who graduated from that school. USC is a great school (I do not work there, but lots of applicants we have also apply there) with FANTASTIC clinician-teachers. You will get a very good education there, but only you can figure out if it is the BEST FIT for you.
I am not in favor of student tuition used to fund faculty research, but what I have seen, experienced, and heard about, USC is not the worst at this...not by far. They have some well-funded researchers, and students may have no contact with these people. But they are externally funded, so students should not have contact with them....someone other than USC is paying their salary.
I have helped fill out the USNWR survey for PT schools (we completed it at a faculty meeting), and research productivity is not the only thing evaluated.. not by a long shot.
I really appreciate the unique insight you have to offer. Thanks for sharing! When I started the thread, I was aware of USNWR's questionable methodology (as described by several in the forums). And while I understand that opinion of faculty at other programs was not a very scientific way of establishing rank, it's still hard to dismiss because if other programs can speak so highly of a competitor, it should carry some meaning. Could you share a little bit more about your experience in filling out the survey, or is that prohibited? No worries if you can't! Thanks anyway, again, for your 2 cents.
 

bromeliad

2+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2015
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Physical Therapy Student
I can only speak on the fact that I've only been at USC for a semester, but I definitely don't regret my decision. The financial debt weighed heavily on my mind, but from speaking with people that were part of the program and faculty prior to deciding, I really wanted to work with some of the top faculty and leaders in the profession. The faculty is great and they actually do care about us learning and doing well. We have a really big class size, but there's a really good student to faculty ratio and that gives us a lot of different perspectives as well. In our clinical skills class, we are split into groups of about 9-10 and have a faculty leader for our groups, but we get to interact and work with all the different faculty group leaders. My opinion may be different than yours, but no matter what school you're interested in, you should go check it out yourself and see if that school is a good fit for you. Hope this helps a little.
This actually helps a lot, thanks for sharing your first hand experience. From actual Trojans, I've heard nothing but praise for the actual program. I get mixed reviews on how they feel about the cost. Could I possibly PM you, and learn a bit more about how you're managing the financial burden? If it's too busy a time or you'd rather not discuss, I totally understand.
 

engmedpt

5+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2014
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Is it the general consensus that PTs should highly anticipate such changes? Also, pardon my ignorance, but what kind of changes could these be?

Not PT's...........society.

The government tried to incentivize everyone to go college to create a more educated society. Lending started occurring in order to allow people to obtain degrees. At this point in time, the federal government currently offers the best lending service and has a monopoly on the lending market for school.

Unfortunately, it is irresponsible and the same loans were offered for degrees that don't have economic value. Rather than offering loans for degrees with job shortages and keeping them subsidized, the fed just allowed anyone to take out the funds. With a massive population going to school and devaluing the bachelor's degree, more people went to grad. At the same time, tuition has outpaced inflation and in our case reimbursements. Schools continually raise tuition every year rather than adjusting it to reflect future market value. The government cut subsidized lending for grad students a few years ago in order to save money (likely when you were in undergrad and unaware that this happened).

A little over a year ago students from for profit diploma mills decided to refuse to pay back their loans from a massive chain of schools who swindled them into taking financial aid and going through coursework for AA and bachelor's degrees that had NO value in employer's eyes. Think of all those online degree programs that nobody cares about. They couldn't get hired and realized that the administrators were lining their pockets with 'financial aid' non-dischargeable to bankruptcy using the students as debt surrogates. Emails were found showing that the administrative staff were targeting students with low self esteem who were trying to make their lives better.

The chain is now imploding and those students are getting debt relief. In addition to this, the fed is now tightening for profit schools and how much they charge since student debt strikes are cropping up across the country.

While this doesn't necessarily directly relate to the PT school education, the lending system and changes don't necessarily follow logic and arent in line with lending for degrees for jobs based on the BLS and HRSA projections. If the system changes, then it is likely to change everywhere regardless of the degree one is going through.

We have for profits, private schools, and state funded schools. State funded receive subsidized taxpayer money and therefore have lower tuition usually. Whether that tuition is differentially hiked from supply and demand and the fact that they know they can get financial aid I cannot make definitive statements but assume it occurs occasionally.

If federal cuts in aid as well as changes and stipulations start to occur more with our lending system, then everywhere else besides public universities since those receive taxpayer money would most likely be affected first. This is my personal guess but I'm expecting the fed. lending service to follow some type of logic.


This actually helps a lot, thanks for sharing your first hand experience. From actual Trojans, I've heard nothing but praise for the actual program. I get mixed reviews on how they feel about the cost. Could I possibly PM you, and learn a bit more about how you're managing the financial burden? If it's too busy a time or you'd rather not discuss, I totally understand.
Parents I assume. If not then I think OP should be aware that many students are having their parents support them with living expenses while students are building credit scores to refinance their loans as soon as they get out. Spouses support each other in my program as well. We have a few GI bills too.

I cannot imagine taking the living expense debt from that area but everyone's situation is different. If you are doing it on your own, then that is ultimately your decision, but that is heavy.
 
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engmedpt

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Mar 31, 2014
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I think you are doing the right thing....talking with people who graduated from that school. USC is a great school (I do not work there, but lots of applicants we have also apply there) with FANTASTIC clinician-teachers. You will get a very good education there, but only you can figure out if it is the BEST FIT for you.
I am not in favor of student tuition used to fund faculty research, but what I have seen, experienced, and heard about, USC is not the worst at this...not by far. They have some well-funded researchers, and students may have no contact with these people. But they are externally funded, so students should not have contact with them....someone other than USC is paying their salary.
I have helped fill out the USNWR survey for PT schools (we completed it at a faculty meeting), and research productivity is not the only thing evaluated.. not by a long shot.
That is price gouging in my opinion and should not exist. If student tuition to fund faculty research is done at a pace that vastly outpaces inflation and students cant redo 2 yrs of prerequisities or jump into an accounting firm to start making a living with a different degree then it is abusive. They aren't happily accepting the new price....they HAVE to. When it occurs mid program....it is even worse.

I understand NIH and NSF research is tight........but if these programs are meant to produce quality clinicians that can move the profession forward and implement better interventions and critique prognostic and diagnostic strategies better in the healthcare system currently undergoing market corrections from other providers gaming the insurance industry from the last few decades, then the current charging system is failing everyone.
 
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engmedpt

5+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2014
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Honestly, if I received an application from someone who went to USC it would probably go to the bottom of the pile. Anyone who willingly paid that much for their degree (assuming they had other options) isn't someone I would care to hire. I have worked with several USC and USA graduates and nearly all of them have regretted their decision due to the amount of debt they accrued (I have met some who didn't, but they didn't pay for their own education). DesertPT described well why it is highly ranked, it has little to do with the education you will be receiving. That being said, there are ample research opportunities at many excellent and much more affordable institutions.

While I discourage anyone from going somewhere that they won't ever be able to pay back and would instead tell them to get a different career, this attitude is discriminating against someone because of their debtload. That is like saying that since someone has a mortgage that they will never pay off, you wont hire them even though they are perfectly capable of fulfilling the job. That is a hiring strategy that isn't based off of evaluation for competency or what that person may be able to offer the clinic.


Considering the amount of debt that people have from their mortgages......a lot of people won't ever pay their mortgage off.....so ya.
 
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Azimuthal

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Jan 29, 2012
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Physical Therapist
This actually helps a lot, thanks for sharing your first hand experience. From actual Trojans, I've heard nothing but praise for the actual program. I get mixed reviews on how they feel about the cost. Could I possibly PM you, and learn a bit more about how you're managing the financial burden? If it's too busy a time or you'd rather not discuss, I totally understand.
I hate to be the one that brings this up, but s/he is a first semester student. If this student is not externally funded (an extended family member of mine is a USC PT alumni - parents funded), then this person has not actually had the experience of "managing the financial burden" with a PT's salary. Though, I do admit, PT's in CA can start off near the national median in acute, more so in SNF. COL is horrible, however.
 
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starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
1,022
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Physical Therapist
I think there is a little bit of economics at work here. If you purchase an expensive product (USC education), you are more likely to rave about the quality and benefits of it in order to justify your dollar spent and defend the "high quality". (Ever seen the study when people are presented with an "expensive" bottle of wine and a "cheap" bottle of wine? As part of the study, the wine is the same but everyone ranks the expensive bottle as superior). I think a valid strategy is to turn the question on it's head and ask "are students dissatisfied with their cheap program"? Those students would be more likely (in theory) to gripe about poor quality programming, knowing they have the cheapest product (i.e. "low quality"). I, personally, haven't found that to be true. Both from classmates, friends in various programs and the forum, I don't know of many complaints about cheap state schools. I attend a very affordable program and overall, I put the student satisfaction as high. (I've included 2 very light reads describing some of it. I'm not any kind of economics expert, my stance is opinion and social media readings)
http://www.livingrichcheaply.com/2013/08/01/higher-price-better-product/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022121908.htm
 

Azimuthal

7+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2012
1,518
720
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Physical Therapist
I think there is a little bit of economics at work here. If you purchase an expensive product (USC education), you are more likely to rave about the quality and benefits of it in order to justify your dollar spent and defend the "high quality". (Ever seen the study when people are presented with an "expensive" bottle of wine and a "cheap" bottle of wine? As part of the study, the wine is the same but everyone ranks the expensive bottle as superior). I think a valid strategy is to turn the question on it's head and ask "are students dissatisfied with their cheap program"? Those students would be more likely (in theory) to gripe about poor quality programming, knowing they have the cheapest product (i.e. "low quality"). I, personally, haven't found that to be true. Both from classmates, friends in various programs and the forum, I don't know of many complaints about cheap state schools. I attend a very affordable program and overall, I put the student satisfaction as high. (I've included 2 very light reads describing some of it. I'm not any kind of economics expert, my stance is opinion and social media readings)
http://www.livingrichcheaply.com/2013/08/01/higher-price-better-product/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022121908.htm
Same with 7 jeans. They're automatically more comfortable as a justification for the individual who paid the price. A blind comfort test debunked that whole notion.
 
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