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NYC based switching academic paths: would like advice

Apr 12, 2018
    Thought I wanted a clinical PhD in psych, got a BA and MA in psych and am ending up realizing I should do an MSW instead.

    Looking into programs in my area obviously some are knocked off right away for tuition reasons, and I'm pretty much left considering applying to Fordham and CUNY MSW programs.

    I love the Fordham program but the tuition is somewhat high, 35k for the 2 years before any funding. I currently have about 70k in debt with interest from my previous 2 degrees.

    I think Fordham would offer me the best opportunities and most satisfying schooling for me compared to more affordable options, but I wonder if around 100k debt is just unreasonable for a social worker? Salary around here is around 70k so theres that. It feels like its doable but I'm just wondering what other peoples thoughts are who are in the field.


    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Feb 7, 2015
    1. Non-Student
      I think a lot of it just has to do with how averse you are to debt. I'd have to be really confident that there would be a markedly different outcome for me if I go with the more expensive option. But I can't provide any insight on that because I don't know the programs.


      Full Member
      5+ Year Member
      Sep 8, 2015
        Just generally speaking, master's level salaries aren't that great...usually 40s-60s is standard (median about $50K), but of course it depends on the area and role. I'd be surprised if you started at $70k newly-licensed (this is after the very underpaid internship to get licensure hours). In my opinion, $100k debt is high for social work at the master's level.

        A little math: $70K in loans will still accrue interest while in school, so expect to walk out with $105K + ~$15K interest (assuming 3 years of not paying loans back because you likely have to defer/forbear an extra year after graduation when being underpaid on internship to become licensed). So ~$120K when you fully join the work force. At 10-15% of your income, you're looking at payments of $600-$900/month out of your $70K income. Your interest will accrue at ~$700/month, which means you will never make any headway unless you pay over the interest accrual rate (I estimated a 7% interest rate for $120K divided by 12 months in a year). Your payments may be lower based on adjusted gross income rather than full gross, but that won't help you pay your loans down due to the interest accrual rate being so high. If you pay the bare minimum, you'd never pay off your loans and the balance would increase slowly. If your interest rate is lower than 7%, you'd be a little better off, but not by much.
        This assumes you don't take a cent out more than the $35K tuition, which is not likely. How would you pay for living expenses?

        Only you can decide if it's worth it knowing these numbers, but this looks like a tough path to carve out for yourself and you might want to reconsider if it's truly worth it to stay in NYC metro area if you are going to be saddled with so much more debt just to do so. You could always move back after grad school...


        Masters Level Clinician
        10+ Year Member
        Jun 2, 2010
        1. Pre-Psychology
          Just to confirm, is your masters not license eligible? Some states may allow you to become an LPC if your degree covered the core content areas. However, if you did not complete a practicum or internship than you likely would not be eligible.
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