Should I take a loan to get into the top ranked schools?

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by dawkapte, Apr 26, 2004.

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Should I take a heavy loan to get into a top ranked univ?

Poll closed May 1, 2004.
  1. Yes - it is justified and can be easily paid off

    5 vote(s)
    62.5%
  2. No - its not worth the effort

    3 vote(s)
    37.5%
  1. dawkapte

    dawkapte MPH applicant

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    I have been accepted into 6 schools so far for the MPH course (mostly IH)- JH, Harvard, Michigan, Columbia, Yale, Pittsburgh. I am hoping to get admits from Iowa and St Louis also (and probably Alabama). Unfortunately none of them are talking about aid / waivers or assistantships.
    I am a post grad doctor from India and have been working with the WHO in India for the past 4.5 years.
    I have been looking at the costs of these schools and it is clear that I do need some help financially if I am to attend. So, I am now thinking - should I go for the reputed schools - with higher costs - so I have to borrow heavily, or should I go for the lower ones - cheaper - but which I could manage wihtout too much financial burden. I am not sure if taking a loan of about $50k would be a good idea - esp since I plan to work outside USA mostly in IH after MPH - where the pay may not be so godly. I got some advise saying that since I have a medical background and sound work experience, not going to top ranked schools wont really kill my chances of a good placement later.
    The deadlines for communicating acceptance to schools are 3 days away.
    And I am still thinking...
     
  2. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    If you don't think you'll end up in a position where you can reasonably pay back the loans, I'd lean towards a less expensive program, especially since you don't think it'll make a difference in your job placement.

    My entire MPH cost me about $5,000, so it is hard for me to fathom $50,000 for it.
     
  3. dawkapte

    dawkapte MPH applicant

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    only $5000? that is cool...
    that is part of the question... would an MPH at the ivy league schools get me jobs with high enough pay packets to get the loan off my back in a reasonable amount of time? some ppl i talked to suggested that with my medical background and work exp with WHO the school may not be the most important thing for me and i could still get good offers after an MPH from a middle level school. remember that i am not from the US and some things like expected payscales and stuff are things i am not really conversant with
     
  4. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    Sure, there are opportunities out there with good enough pay to cover those loans, but I think that a mid-level school would be able to offer you the education without the higher tuition.
     
  5. dawkapte

    dawkapte MPH applicant

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    Thats good to hear - thats probably whaht i was waiting to hear from ppl. when i talk about johns hopkins harvard etc - ppl tell me i should try to get into these whatever the cost.

    It makes a huge difference in cost - esp once you consider that 1$ = 50 Rupees

    Thanks...

    PS my yahoo ID is doc_apte
     
  6. jp_md2004

    jp_md2004 Membership Revoked
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    Personally, I wouldn't even consider programs outside of the top 10. If you can't afford one of these, then don't do one at all.

    Also, it's important to remember who you are conversing with on these boards. You sound like you are on quite a different level than DrMom. A $5K MPH from a junior college in the midwest that no one has ever heard of may be useful for gaining admission to the local DO school, but it is more likely to be a black mark on your resume if you have any other plans.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  7. bocai

    bocai Junior Member
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    I would like to add in that big MPH debts are not as easy to erase as other professional degree debts ... I remember on the first day of orientation (at my big name MPH school) that they flashed up a stat saying that the average college graduate (with no advanced degree) made on the order of a few thousand more than someone with an MPH (who on average had over 30k in debt from said degree) ... now granted my school's alums tend to research or non-profit work (although I do have a some former classmates making over 80k per year consulting and with pharma straight out of school), but that's something to consider
     
  8. dawkapte

    dawkapte MPH applicant

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    I know what you mean. Except that I was thinking top 20 instead of top 10... all the schools in my 'wannabe' list are in the top 20.
    interestingly, there is a huge difference in between the costs there too... Johns hopkins projects 60k (tuition and other costs) - iowa projects 25k.
    these are no 1 and 19 respectively in US news last year
     
  9. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    Wow, i would be hard pressed to pay that much for an MPH. I spent 6k in tuition for mine at UC Berkeley. I turned down hopkins michigan and columbia b/c i couldnt justify paying that much for a MPH degree. If you go into traditional public health, it will be very hard to pay off those debts. If you go into health management, maybe you'll make enough to pay those off. I know several classmates that landed near six figure jobs in health management after they finished, and many more that got there after working a few years. In such an instance it would be easy to pay off the loans.

    If you're going to pay private school tution, you might as well go to the best school (hopkins), so you get your money's worth. I would explore other options. Maybe you can defer a year and find some sort of program where you can do research and take the public health classes part time. I think you mentioned none of those schools offered that?

    Just as an example though, I thought the program at UC Berkeley was exceptional. They're like #7 on the "rankings" but I wasnt too concerned about rankings anyway. The tuition, even for out of state, was still significantly below any private school. Like drmom said, any accredited school should provide you a quality education, so think of that before you plunk down a BMW at a private school.

    Sorry, thats all the advice i have.
     
  10. Heal&Teach

    Heal&Teach cogito ergo sum
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    Comments from a person that spent $40K on tuition:

    Yes, I went to a school that ranked well, but that certainly didn't factor into my decision at all. What did factor in was the fact that the school gave me a small scholarship, which as you see, didn't place that much of a dent in my student loan acquisition. I could have easily went to my state school, paid little or no tuition, and I'm sure that I would have been fine, but I wanted to leave NY state and have the opportunity to interact with people from all over the US, and the world.

    Having said that, the school you go to should depend moreso on what you are planning on doing with your degree and the kind of field that you want to go into. If you're looking for a high paying job, well, I'm not sure that simply having a "name school" will get that for you. While going to a "better" school may help, you still need to get the most out of the program in terms of experience and information. You should contact the schools that you have gotten into and find out where their alumni have gone, and maybe this will give you a better idea of whether or not a specific school is a good match for you.

    There are plenty of great MPH programs outside the top ten or twenty schools, and you have to make the best of your education no matter where you are. Wherever you may go, I think that you'll be a great asset with your WHO experiences, and that prior experience will factor into your post-MPH employment opportunities. The MPH is a helpful degree, and like med school, the person who graduates last in their class from the so-called "worst" school will still have a MPH. Public health is not nearly as competitive as law, medicine, or business, so don't think that you absolutely must go to a top ten for your degree, contrary to other opinions expressed in this thread.

    Best,
    H&T (fan of fellow MPHers DrMom and exmike) :D
     

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