Expensive Grad School vs. Low-Paying Job

You know, after our Nancy Goes to Maryland and Elizabeth Goes to Harvard posts, I was thinking you guys might be tired of these dilemma, “What should she do?” types of posts.

But the more mail and comments I get, I’m thinking you guys are pretty fond of ’em. Hey, I love them, so I’m going to shoot you a few new ones over the next few days that I’ve got sitting in my inbox.

Today we feature Marijane’s dilemma, and like some of our previously featured students, she’s in education. I’ll let her tell you the rest:

Dear Judge Josh,

I, like many other recent college graduates, am at a crossroads with quite a dilemma.

I have been accepted to the graduate program in education at New York University. Although it is prestigious it was my last choice school because of its whopping private school cost: $61,000 a year, and $48,000 of that are in pure loans. They did offer me a $10,000 scholarship and $3,000 of work-study, but it is a drop in the bucket.

Looks like NYU justified its position at the bottom of your list. I don’t know anything about your grades and test scores, of course, but I know they were good enough to admit you, get you excited about going there with a nice little welcome packet, and then dangle a bare minimum of financial aid to keep you interested in taking an arm and a leg in loans. Same story I’ve heard many times (and experienced myself, with Columbia University, actually).

The program would take a year and a half to complete. By the way, I already have $26,000 worth of school loans from my undergraduate education. This could leave me in over $100,000 in school debt. My dream would be to attend Stanford or a University of California program that generally offers more aid to low income students like myself.

I’m also not sure exactly what it is you’d like to do with your degree, but I’m guessing you want to teach, right? If I’m wrong then this advice may change slightly, but having said that: It makes zero economic sense for someone who wants to be a primary or secondary school teacher to incur $100,000 in student loans.

No one can convince me that this is ever a good decision. I mean, if someone out there wants to try and make a case for it in the comments section, I’m willing to listen (skeptically), and if Marijane wants to be a principal or a superintendent or something, then that may change my advice, too. But right now, if what you want to be is a teacher, then you need not take out anywhere near $100,000 in loans to do so.
At the same time I have been offered a position as a school adviser in a public middle school.

Work experience in public schools is highly favored by Stanford, and I may be able to reapply after working a year or so in the field.

You can definitely re-apply any time you want; again, it just depends on what you want to do with your professional life. In any case, yes, professional experience of any kind can’t hurt you, wherever you go to grad school.

There are two downsides: The pay is low- $27,000 annual salary.

True, that’s low; however, at least it’s money going INTO  your pocket, rather than the NYU program, where it’s coming OUT of your pocket. Look at it this way — there’s an $88,000 swing between taking that middle-school job and going to NYU ($61,000 you save NOT attending, plus the $27,000 you will make working the job).

Additionally, NYU does not allow deferrals so if I take this path I may find myself in a position where Stanford does not accept me and I have missed my chance to go to NYU.

Personally, I think you should tell NYU to kiss your ass and then move on to greener pastures (figuratively, I mean…probably not much good will come from picking up the phone and doing it literally). I promise you that you will actually learn MORE about the educational system working in the middle school than you will at NYU or anyone else’s graduate education program. Practice beats theory every. Single. Time.

Now, I know — that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a master’s, because obviously teachers who get their master’s make a lot more money than teachers who don’t, and the sooner you get the master’s, the sooner you can get the bigger paychecks. I totally understand and appreciate the importance of that.

However, in every school district I’m aware of, the pay scale does not require that master’s degree, or master’s plus 60, or whatever it is — to be from an Ivy League university. Or a “prestigious” university. It just has to be from an accredited university. So again, in most places, speaking purely in financial terms, a $61,000 master’s degree from Stanford and a $10,000 master’s degree from Palookaville State Teacher’s College are gonna earn you exactly the same salary (please correct me if I’m wrong, education-types in the audience).

None of this, of course, addresses the non-financial aspects of why one should or should not get a graduate degree or go to a prestigious university — the whole intellectual enrichment, personal-development issue. I won’t go into these a great deal because it’s a whole different issue on which there are a ton of different perspectives, and mine would take too much space to write. I’ll say two quick things on these matters, though:

1) Regarding prestigious schools/private schools (I know not all prestigious schools are private, but I’d say a majority are): Just be sure that what you’re paying the extra money for is a real, tangible, demonstrable benefit. World-class teachers, superlative networking opportunities, one-of-a-kind speakers, pipelines to companies and jobs that no one else has, etc. That kind of thing. If it’s just name recognition and social prestige, don’t pay for it.

2) Intellectual enrichment absolutely can be gained from a college degree, undergrad or graduate; but it definitely can be gained just as easily without it. Especially today. Entire courses from the world’s top universities are available for FREE, right now, on iTunes U, on MIT’s Open Courseware, and other sources. Other education companies sell giant DVD and CD sets of courses given by those same professors at those prestigious universities. And of course, there are also those antiquated things called libraries, and my personal favorite, the Internet. If you want knowledge, you absolutely need NOT pay tens of thousands of dollars to acquire it.

OK, I’m stopping there before I get off on too big of a tangent.

Look, Marijane, the romance of NYU is going to wear off. It does. I promise. And here’s the important part that I hope someone in your life is telling you: this is just the beginning for you, not the end. If you were smart enough to get into NYU once, you can get into other programs later on, whenever you’re ready. If NYU doesn’t want to pony up the cash and they don’t want to let you wait beyond this year, then tell NYU to piss off. Seriously — other institutions in this country will happily take you, and pay much more of your expenses.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Warm Regards,

Well, that’s mine, but I’m sure the other folks in the audience have a lot of their own opinions to share, too. Let her have it, everyone! What should she do?

Thanks again for all your participation here, I appreciate it a great deal.

(The below is from the movie “Crossroads” (not the awful Britney Spears one). It’s the guitar-battle scene where Ralph Macchio has to beat heavy metal shredder Steve Vai in a guitar battle to save his mentor’s soul from the devil. Every time someone says the words “crossroads” I think of it, so I decided to just get it out of my system once and for all and post it here. Plus, I sorta see Steve Vai as NYU in the above case, and Ralph Macchio as the everyman public-school gig. Enjoy this 8.5 minutes of 80’s movie heaven.)

38 thoughts on “Expensive Grad School vs. Low-Paying Job”

  1. Hi Marijane,

    Wow, that is quite a dilemma. Well, NYU is a dream of mine. However, I will try to share some alternatives that I have learned since I graduated from grad school. Would you be interested in a teaching fellowship? Such as Teach for America, or Teach NYC. I know that Teach for America helps pay for grad student loans and I think they pay slightly more. Or even teaching abroad? I am currently teaching abroad and the pay is around the same, and some jobs such as JET give you free housing. You will game teaching English as a second language experience and have an opportunity to travel while the economy heals.Best of luck. Please know that you are actually in a great place because you have options. You have a job offer and an offer from a top university. You are blessed. I believe either decision has benefits.

    Good luck,

    P.S. You must get this a lot but you have a cool name.

  2. I understand wanting to continue your education at NYU but are you ok with the idea having to pay all of that money back? $48,000 in loans is a heavy load, so personally I think I would have to pass on that. If teaching is your heart’s desire then go for the job that has already been offered. Most people would argue that money isn’t everything. You have to ask yourself if grad school would really be worth it. Would you be able to find anything too much better than what you are being offered now after grad school? In a way I don’t think so, plus you could always go to grad school later. I totally agree that you should take the teaching job and get some experience, and on top of that see how you like it.

  3. The fact that you are so seriously questioning NYU and mentioning specific schools you would prefer is really giving you your answer.

    I can tell you from experience that working in a school will help you get into your graduate education program of choice. You’ll have a higher chance of getting into Stanford if you take the job.

    Also, most people I know who went to NYU really hated it.

  4. Appeal their financial aid offer. There is a formal process to do this. You can appeal based on either need, merit or both. If you have excellent grades, awards or community service tell them that based on this you feel you should be offered more scholarship or grant money. If you don’t feel your fafsa application properly reflects your actual need, you can tell the university why that is and show them how poor you really are.

  5. walk from the NYU “offer”.

    instead, get some experience, even a year or two, then go to grad school. a friend taught middle school for 10+ years before going back two years ago (while still working) for her MA in Education because she wants to be an administrator…

  6. I got accepted into NYU for a masters program in social work but in the end decided not to go because I couldn’t fathom paying 100k in debt (plus undergrad loans) on a social worker’s salary. I know the prestige and the excitement of the school is nice (excellent faculty, the usually nicer facilities/services of private schools, etc.) but in the end you have to ask yourself how much is the prestige/reputation of a school worth when once you’ve graduated you’ll be competing with people who got your same degree but at more cost effective programs.

    In my case NYU would have been ideal because its social work program is strongly clinical, but when I compared the curriculum and program pathway (class by class) to cheaper schools like Hunter I noticed that aside from some electives, I was basically taking the same courses, going to get similar field placements, and more importantly, getting the same degree.

    The masters is important in a lot of fields, especially those in human services like SW and teaching; so definitely don’t ditch grad school all together, but definitely don’t underestimate the more cost effective options (I don’t use the word cheap because quality-wise some of these schools are still top notch).

    Good luck!

  7. Been There, Done That

    As someone who just spent $200,000 to attend 2 prestigious schools (3, if you count my semester at NYU), DON’T do it. For one thing, the budgets they list are not realistic, especially for NYC!!! Moreover, there is the assumption that you have $100 or $200 laying around to buy that expensive text book, attend lectures, travel, etc. Tuition at these schools was $32-36k, more than I’ve ever earned in any given year, yet people at these schools act like money isn’t an issue. I’d get lines like, “Why are you so worried about money?” or “Don’t worry about the money.” Those people are NOT living in reality.

    Besides, the Columbia name, a Masters and 5 years of searching netted me a string of PT temp work and finally a permanent, $22k semi-part time (FT hours, PT designation to facilitate potential budget-related cuts in hours), low level office position, about half what I was making (with OT) when I decided to go back to school. It would be different if you were going into business, law, consulting, etc. Although, even people with those degrees and experiences are hard pressed to find work now.

    Everyone’s made some good points. Someone mentioned Teach for America, but there are also NYC Teaching Fellows, which pays for grad school in education/administration or a subject area (a friend just finished an MA in English). You might look into Oakland Teaching Fellows. San Francisco and other local counties may have similar programs.

    Finally, look into Income-Based Repayment. This is a new program through the department of Ed that uses a loan repayment formula that allows you to pay your loans and have silly things like a roof over your head and food in your belly. Under the new formula, you pay 15% of your discretionary income (amount over poverty line, which adjusts if/when you have children) toward your loans each month. If you work in public service (ANY local, state or federal govt, public school, private not-for-profit school, or non-profit agency, in ANY capacity), with an average of 30 hours/week, your loan balance will be forgiven in 120 payments/10 years. For example, if I earned $30,000, my payment was in the neighborhood of $250/month. That’s $3000/year * 10 years = $30,000 repaid, instead of $200,000 plus interest that more than doubles the principle.

    Check it out, ibrinfo.gov. But I still agree with everyone else. Try to get a better offer from NYU, but don’t hold your breath it will be enough to close the gap. Take the job, get some experience, go to UC Berkeley (maybe through Oakland Teaching Fellows), which is very active in the Bay Area in terms of education. You’ll pay less and get more. Then, still do IBR.

  8. Sara Johnston

    If you want to teach, then teach. Especially in this economy, the job might not be there for you when you finish your degree with the way the economy is headed. If you need the masters degree for a specific reason I say skip on the NYU offer and look into a less expensive program that you qualify for. My school offers an MAT degree (it’s a lot cheaper) and my school has one of the best teaching programs.

  9. Elizabeth Glascock

    Pass on NYU.

    If you are looking for elementary or secondary education, it is best to go in without a Masters degree. Many of my teacher friends have waited until they at least get a few years of experience in before going back to school. They have also said that it is harder to get a teaching job with a Masters. I know some who have waited until gaining tenure before getting their MA due to fear of riffing and knowing how difficult it is to hire in with a master’s because you are automatically placed on a higher pay scale. Plus, with many of the financial aid programs for teachers, you can actually work off the loan by teaching in public schools.

  10. I can understand the dilemma. I’m a public relations major going into my senior year of college and I have to decide now if I want to go to grad school. It’s so expensive though. On the other hand, I’m not sure if just getting a job with the experience and then going to grad school is the better option. I’m struggling so much with this though because getting a master’s means possibly a higher up position and more money.

    From this situation, I would walk from NYU. Plenty of other places would take Marijane and probably pay more of it as well. It doesn’t make sense to be so much in debt as soon as you’re ready to get a real job.

  11. Take the job because no one has one now. Everyone is paying for their MBA or MA or PHD degrees when the smart people are actually the ones getting some money and gaining the real-life experience. Once the economy gets better you can go back and get your higher degree. If you do go into the NYU program, you’ll be in debt, right? And most likely, due to the bad economy, a job offer will not be waiting for you at the end of the tunnel, no matter how low the pay is! In case I’m not clear enough, TAKE THE JOB NOW!

  12. Marijane has a number of options. First, Sharon Johnes is right she should appeal the financial aid offer, but if she want to attend Stanford she needs to kick NYU to the curb. She should move to Palo Alto or nearby towns, find a job, and apply for a special student status. As a special student she can work toward her degree, get to know those who can help her get in a regular grad program. She can do this at most schools in CA. If she is out of state she should reside in state for at least a year, working, before applying, as is the case in most states.
    Most special student can get student loan defurred and receive fafsa with only 4 units of work/sem. Units are transferable. If she is teaching, Many jobs will pay her to go to school, as wel, I was looking on the net last week and found OSU or OU will provide free grad school for math and science teachers. So the shy is still the limit, she doesn’t settle for just anything.
    Marijane has to many options to answer in such a short space, except she should kick NYU to the curb.

  13. If you are going into education many states require you to have or obtain your masters. Some states will pay for you to get your masters so I would check. Since NYU is on the table if your want to work in public schooling you really do not need one. If you want to work in a private school you will need your masters maybe even a docterate in NYC private schools. I think it would be worth it, If your going to be a teacher the raise you recive each year will be and imense amount more than without a masters degree. If you have your masters in educations and your national boards you can expect to make 24% more than teachers with just their undergraduate degree.

  14. I think that you should not go to NYU. On your salary, it would not be in your best interest. I know that a piece of advice for those who want to pursue an undergraduate’s degree in education is not to pick a private school for that education if you will have to use loans to finance your education. That is because private schools cost more and because teachers do not make a very high salary in comparison to some other jobs. I would assume this would be good advice for a person seeking a graduate degree in education as well.

  15. Go to college and work. You’ll get a salary and education. After degree has been obtained, apply for teacher student loan forgiveness programs.

  16. Take the job. First of all, as others have said, your initial work experience is going to be more valuable than a piece of paper or alphabet soup after your name. What if you got that $100K masters degree and went into the classroom only to find out you didn’t like teaching? Secondly, and this is for Jordan, have you read the paper lately??? School districts are consolidating or worse, closing their doors. With deficits in the millions, many are cutting programs, asking teachers’ unions to forgo raises, and fork out for their health care (like the rest of the world has to do).

  17. Hello Judge Josh,
    I will not accept to go to NYU. I believe that school is not the only place to be professional. I like to teach my self in my professional stream( or interest) through reading, looking a movie and talking with people. I like such educational practices being supported by public.
    good day

  18. I think that u should take the job now; work there until u are off probation. Then join the military (guard or reserve) to pay your way thru school. That way u can attend the school of your choice with the military paying. That is what did!!!!! I recieve tuition, books, and housing payment. This is something to really consider; only 4yrs of your life.

  19. Hey, I’m Lily and I go to the University of Southern California in LA.
    I think I’m with the others that say forget NYU. If there are cheaper schools there are cheaper schools. Just a note about teaching in California right now, though – THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO COME TO TEACH!!! I personally have three friends who teach in the public schools in LA and with CALIFORNIA being BANKRUPT thousands of school teachers are loosing their jobs every year. I have one friend who was a 1st grade teacher, was given a pink slip and a position as a substitute with the other thousands that have been laid off. He asks around at every school he does substitute in if they’re higher and no one is. Also, the financial aid at the UC’s is currently in flux. Whereas they may have had good financial aid in the past and maybe even this year, they are cutting aid left and right. This DOESN’T necessarily mean you can’t get aid – you may be an ideal candidate for them, but it does mean that aid you may come in depending on might not so strong in a few years. From what I’ve heard about highly selective Clinical Psychology graduate programs (I’ll be applying in the next year) state schools are having trouble funding their grad students, especially for PhD students. Private schools, I’ve heard, are better about still giving out funding, so I say shoot for Stanford, then move back to New York or something.



  20. Thank you all so much for your advice! My dream is a be a research analyst in educational policy, but teaching was another option. After hearing on the news and from you guys about the lack of job security I have seriously rethought the latter. Thanks to your advice, I have already filed for the Income Based Repayment and I am appealing to NYU financial aid for more scholarships/grants. I am also seeking outside aid. If I do not obtain a good financial aid package by June then I will walk from NYU’s terrible offer, work for a year or two and then reapply. Again, thank you all so much for taking the time out of your day to offer some extremely helpful advice.


  21. There seems to be a level of misunderstanding within these replies. First let me introduce myself. My name is Jerry, and I have recently been accepted into a Masters program at USC’s Rossier School of Education. The cost of tuition is about the same as NYU. My grades were very good in my undergrad work, I participated in a fair amount of community service, I speak more than one language and have traveled the world extensively living in three other countries besides the good ole’ U.S. of A, where I Taught English as a second language. That being said, Grad school is not the same as undergrad with regards to financial aid. Loans are the name of the game and participating in programs such as APLE, the Teach grant, Teams/Americoprs and other programs which pay your government loans down for your service AFTER Teaching in a low income high need area. Scholarships and grants are great when you can get them, but those of us who go to grad school understand from the get go we will be relying heavily on loans. The down side…the stress of having to think about owing so much money in such a tanked economy. The up side….after securing that Teaching job and teaching in the public sector for 10 years, all your government loans will be wiped clean due to new laws under the Obama administration.

  22. Jerry is correct about one’s student loans being wiped clean after 10 years of teaching in the public sector (as long as you’ve made all the payment for 10 years), but he’s incorrect when he attributes the program to Obama.

    The law providing for this program, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, was passed by Congress in 2007 and signed into law by Bush. Per the legislation, however, it didn’t take effect until 2009. Here’s a good summary of the program and its effects by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.


  23. Take the job. Absolutely.

    NYU is famous, but it doesn’t have a program good enough to justify that kind of cost. You can get just as good an education at much less expensive schools, and there’s also that shot at Stanford or Cal you’re hoping for. Grad schools highly value practical experience; with that job under your belt, I think you’ve got a good chance at acceptance there, but you can apply to some good middle-level education programs at the same time as a fall-back plan, so that no matter what happens, you’ll end up with an acceptance letter from somebody who’ll give you a good education for half the cost of NYU.

    Also! If you apply next year with that job under your belt, you’ll have time to apply for a bunch of external grants and scholarships, and the grounds to win them.

  24. I have also been admitted to USC’s MAT. While it has long been my hearts desire to be a Trojan, I dont feel comfortable with the cost. I have been teaching in my district for 10 yrs and will only make 3K a year more with a MAT. I already have a clear credential and 45 units in education.I am now considering the Sped program at Cal State Univ San Berdo for 7-9K. This seems more affordable but I am having trouble giving up my Trojan dream.

  25. Here is what our local school district pays its teachers…the first column is years of experience, the second column is for a bachelor’s degree and the third is for a master’s degree….not much diff between a bachelor’s and master’s…this is also the pay for school counselors, nurses, librarian and other professional positions in the district.
    0 45,500 46,500
    1 46,440 47,340
    2 46,790 47,740
    3 47,140 48,140
    4 47,490 48,540
    5 47,840 48,940

  26. Here is what our local school district pays its teachers…the first column is years of experience, the second column is for a bachelor’s degree and the third is for a master’s degree….not much diff between a bachelor’s and master’s…this is also the pay for school counselors, nurses, librarian and other professional positions in the district.
    0 45,500 46,500
    1 46,440 47,340
    2 46,790 47,740
    3 47,140 48,140
    4 47,490 48,540
    5 47,840 48,940

  27. Many teachers have told me to hold off on getting a Master’s Degree until I have a secure teaching job. If you have a masters and are trying to find a teaching job many schools will take the less educated teachers over you because they’re cheaper (for public schools that is)

  28. In reality employers don’t really care of where you get your degrees as long as it is an accredited respected school (there are plenty that cost much less). Look at some of the riches people in the world, even Bill Gates dropped out. Go for your graduates at any other school, take the gig, and let your experience as well as your qualifications over power the name on your diploma.

  29. Do whatever you feel is the most wise decision. Don’t look at the situation with a shallow outlook, look at all the possibilities and decide on which YOU believe is the wisest decison for YOUR life. I pray that helps 😀

  30. Hey Marijane,

    You have a lot of great feedback here! I recently graduated from college and spent time traveling in Asia and Europe. Right now, I am hoping to get a job at a college and work for awhile. I set a goal to pay of 17.5 k of my undergrad loan by september 2011 (this year) and so far knocked it down to 15k in a month.

    I believe in highed ed, however, the higher ed bubble will burst shortly. It is wise to be grounded and practical, especially in the current economic climate. Sure, educational debt is an investment, but there is always a line to be drawn as it cannot be discharged from a bankruptcy but only through a legitimate disability or death.

    The job I am hoping to get is very entry level at about 30k a year but will pay for grad school. Along with the goal of being debt free, I plan to sock $4k into a retirement account while we are young and compounding interest is in our favor. While many things in life are uncertain, retirement will be there. As the say, “You can be young without $, but not old without it”.

    Along with some money to productively use and money for grad school– you will be part of the working work and have opportunity to network and be mentored by people in your field. This is invaluable to your career.

    I know it is tempting to run to grad school but, you are truly lucky to be offered a job in this economy that may not be there later on. It is not fun to be in a position with tons of debt and no job later on despite having a grad degree.

    I am hoping to get a M.Ed in Counseling and Devp’t at a state school I attended for undergrad and work on that at night while working at a college. I am aware that my pay will increase with this as well as have a better job opportunity, but I also value other things like the skills I will gain in the real world helping students in an entry level job. Also, while my pay will increase, it is still not so high of an ROI (return on investment) as lets say a dental/ medical/ pharmacy student.

    Remember to be humble and live within your means. At the end, you will be the one writing checks to Sallie Mae. Hopefully, you make sure you have enough for yourself when that time comes as well as afterwards.



  31. PS. I would also look into Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. While it is pricey– the program is only a year long: saving you time and money. It also doesn’t hurt that it is Harvard. While I do not care about prestige, if you are willing to shell out, I believe $45k for a grad program (without scholarships/ aid) then it’s within your range. If you end up doing the Teach for America program or similar programs that offer reimbursement, I would look into that. There are also outside scholarships you can apply for with no rush. Just a thought!. I saw their program and was really impressed. The good thing about not rushing into any program is you have time to think, prepare, save and really know “this is it” when the time comes!

  32. I’m actually having a similar issue as Marijane with NYU. I haven’t received my financial aid package yet, but I’m definitely worried about it now. I have too many loans out already and was hoping to only have to pay $20,000 for my two years at NYU. My EFC is 0. I was hoping I could get grants or scholarships to cut the tuition in half. Fortunately,I live a short train ride away from New York City, so I will be able to commute, reducing my total cost from $61,000 to around $34,000. This is my dream school, and I never thought I’d be accepted, so it’s too hard for my to give it up.

    Anyway, I read here someone suggesting Teach for America and the NYC Teach fellowship. There are a lot of misconceptions about the two and I feel I should clear it up. Teach For America DOES NOT pay back any loans. You can defer your government loans only while you are participating. In addition, they will give you $5,350 after you complete each year; totaling $10,700. This is what they mean that you can pay off loans. You can use this money anyway you want. However, the money is not guaranteed, which is written in small print. They go to Congress every year asking for money to give this sum. Even though they have not been denied in its history, you never know with this economy. Also, they do not pay for your masters. You can use this money to pay for it. The average salary is around $35,000 in most areas, and around $50,000 in the cities, such as Houston and NYC. Teach for America lays out its facts in simple form but doesn’t disclose the fine print. As you make it through the interview process and meet teach for america alumni, you are provided with more detailed and honest information. In addition, you are not guaranteed a job if you can’t pass state wide tests. You still have to take the same certification tests as other education majors. They vary by state, where Connecticut is one of the toughest to pass. They also say they will pay for grad school, law school, or medical school. This is not the case as well. They make connections to schools who in return set aside scholarships for Teach For America alumni. For instance, Yale sets aside 2 full scholarships, while I believe NYU has 5 for $10,000 each. This is a great program, and gives you 2 years experience, but it does not provide you with a Master’s degree in education. I found that they don’t explain all this in great detail because they don’t want to turn away applicants. They get around 45,000 applicants a year and only take 12 percent. The average GPA is a 3.6, but you can still apply with a 2.5.

    Teach NYC Fellowship is somewhat different. This program is perfect in every aspect. They are only looking for science, math, teach English as a foreign language and special education teachers, but they make it easy for anyone, in any background to teach these grades. Also, they train you during the summer to teach. If your a science or special ed fellow you have an extra week of training. They provide a stipend of $3,000 or $3,500, I cant remember, and additional money if you must stay an extra week. Unlike TFA you don’t have to take any certification tests and the salary is great. At night, you can get your masters where the NYC Department of Education pays for everything but books and $6,600. What they do is take out the $6,600 from your pay check over a course of several years, which is nothing. Additionally, your salary follows the salary of the Department of Education in NYC, so you follow the same pay scale of other NYC teachers. As you progress in your masters you make more money. You start at $45,000 then move to $48,000 and then when you get your masters, you finish at $53,000, with great benefits. Also, its not as hard as TFA to get accepted. Here, they care more about results and getting great teachers to help in NYC’s low income communities. For example, 22 percent of special education teachers in the city are NYC fellows. There is one catch, they won’t place you in a school. You must interview and search on your own. You have until the first day of school to land a job. They do have resources to help you, and many connections to get interviews. Overall, 99 percent of fellows have a job before the school year starts.

    Anyway, both programs are good, but if your looking to get a masters degree, a competitive salary, and to make a difference within a low-income community, NYC Teach fellowship is the way to go.

  33. I graduated with a 3.82 cum gpa, 4.0 in my major, magna cum laude honors, started my own non profit, inducted into 5 honor societies, including the most prestigious, etc.. and NYU gave me 12,500 in “free money”

  34. I’ve actually been accepted to NYU too… But my program (History) doesn’t have any scholarships, and I’m hoping to take out a student loan. Luckily, I went to undergrad with a scholarship, so I don’t have any student loans to pay off as of now. This is kind of hard for me reading this post, because it seems like most people are suggesting to take the low-paying job instead of continuing with education… I really really want to continue studying though, and I like studying and going to school, but I wouldn’t be able to pay for it unless I take out a loan. Should I still give up on school and get a job?

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