Author Topic: Making myself an educational martyr  (Read 6770 times)

DLJ154

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Making myself an educational martyr
« on: February 03, 2015, 06:45:38 AM »
So I'm not exactly going to die because of this, so maybe calling myself a martyr is a little extreme...

I've been accepted into two very good business schools for MBA.  Well, actually one very good public business school and one exceptional private business school.  Due to fellowship offers, the GI Bill, and the Yellow Ribbon Program, I can essentially go to either school for free.  The obvious answer is to go to the highest ranked school with the slightly better reputation.  However, I have always had a slight moral issue with private schools where people pay triple the tuition of a public school for essentially the same education. 

With something this important, I can hardly justify spending the next two years at the slightly-less-great school when I could be at the slightly-more-great school for the same price.  But if now isn't the right time to make a moral stand against overpriced institutions filled with a combination of over-privileged kids and those who will be drowning in debt the rest of their lives, when is the right time? 

Clearly I can be compelled to go either way, so what do the members of the forum think?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 07:25:02 AM »
I think the moral stand for private vs. public is really better off at the undergraduate level.  Graduate education is still very much for the elite regardless of institution type. Go to the better school.

GeneralJinjur

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 07:33:24 AM »
I think your answer is in your description of the schools.  Would you rather have a very good education for free or an exceptional education for free.  I'm a sucker for learning and I think it will pay off in your career, so I would go for the better school.

purplepants

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2015, 07:41:30 AM »
As someone who was accepted into a very good MBA program at a public university as well as a very expensive MBA program at one of the elite private universities, my advice is to attend the program that will best prepare you for what you want to do when you complete it.

I chose the public university, as the private program was not as geared to my long-term aspirations.  But I would have made a lot more money right out of the program with the words "Duke University" on my diploma.

Choose what's right for you and your dreams.  Yes, you could take a moral stand against the private tuition rate, but someone else will be happy to take your place and write the checks.  Nobody but you is going to notice your silent protest. 

Follow your dreams.  You can find a more effective way to take a moral stand against tuition rates.

If you choose the more expensive school, you could write a book:

"I paid $150,000 for this!?  An inside look at top ten business schools (and why you're paying a premium for the same education.)"



JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2015, 08:10:11 AM »
It's not free. You paid for it with your labor. Just because you paid for it in the past and not in cash doesn't mean it didn't cost you.

The question is how much value you want to get for what you paid.

MDM

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ohana

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2015, 09:14:09 AM »
It's not the school you go to, it's what you do while you're there. 

Unless all you care about is the reputation.  In that case, you've answered your own question!

Congratulations and good luck.  Sounds like a great dilemma.

mskyle

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2015, 10:29:29 AM »
You might also think about what kind of work you want to do when you finish and what kind of atmosphere you want to live in for the next two years. The elite MBA programs can be APPALLINGLY competitive, not just academically but socially. This article about the Harvard MBA program talks about it in terms of gender equity, but my personal takeaway was that the atmosphere sounds absolutely poisonous to EVERYONE. And the program is designed to channel you into future jobs that may be just as bad.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 11:03:47 AM »
However, I have always had a slight moral issue with private schools where people pay triple the tuition of a public school for essentially the same education. 

Why do you think it's immoral for other people to pay three times as much for the same product? It's their money, and nobody's forcing them to buy the more expensive education. People spend more than they should on all sorts of products all the time. You won't be paying more, and you admit the product is better in this case. Why not take advantage of it?

Kwill

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 11:04:43 AM »
The obvious answer is to go to the highest ranked school with the slightly better reputation.  However, I have always had a slight moral issue with private schools where people pay triple the tuition of a public school for essentially the same education. 

With something this important, I can hardly justify spending the next two years at the slightly-less-great school when I could be at the slightly-more-great school for the same price.  But if now isn't the right time to make a moral stand against overpriced institutions filled with a combination of over-privileged kids and those who will be drowning in debt the rest of their lives, when is the right time? 

Go to the better school.

It's not unusual these days for elite private schools with very high tuition costs to actually be much cheaper than public universities in terms of what students from low income households are charged. High tuition charged to students from households that can afford it plus gifts from alumni plus income from large endowments allow the elite schools to make themselves very affordable to those students who need the help. This is something that has changed over the past decade or so, partly in response to arguments like yours. Public schools are cheaper on average, but they can't always afford to provide the same level of financial help.

Honestly I think you may have more fun and have a better overall experience at the better school if you've been given scholarships to both because the other students may be more similar to you in terms of talents, interests, etc. If you're going to spend two years there, you want to have the most interesting and enriching experience with the most potential for personal growth and learning. Plus networking, etc.

RexualChocolate

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 11:21:55 AM »
Kneejerk thoughts:

1. It depends on the schools. If one is significantly worse or the better one is in the top 10, you're potentially handicapping your future career prospects. If you're shooting for the 150k+ jobs right out of school, you need to go to the best school you can as they'll have additional recruiting spots. However, you would theoretically be competing against better candidates (haven't found this to be the case)

2. If you go to the private one, you could work to change the beast from within

3. The retail rate and average rate paid per student are two very different things

4. If you just want a normal industry job (~100k), then go to whichever school has better ties to the corporations you want to work for

acorn

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 11:56:05 AM »
Better school.

Unless the other school has a program that is more tailored to your interests.

James

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2015, 12:06:19 PM »
If you can't find other reasons than "highest ranking school" to determine your preference, then go with that I guess. But I would talk to students, teachers, read about the location each school is in, read about where each school excells or might struggle, see what the student body reputation is, see if the specific departments at each school have a teacher that inspires you, etc, etc. I bet if you look hard enough you can find more to base the decision on than ranking.

galliver

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2015, 12:13:07 PM »
State schools aren't fundamentally more economical than private institutions; they are simply subsidized by tax dollars, and therefore obligated to give a discount to in-state students. Their out-of-state price tags match the private schools. (Note: I hope you aren't confusing "private" with "for-profit" as these are distinctly different types of institutions)

My perception of actual cost of attendance is that the only way to get a decent scholarship to a state school is to be an athlete, particularly in football or men's basketball. Academic scholarships, while available, tend to be small compared to cost of attendance. Some mid-tier private institutions are the last bastion of the academic merit scholarship (not saying all offer this or it's easy to get), whereas some high-tier private institutions have significant endowments and great need-based aid above and beyond federal aid. Harvard claims "...about 60 percent [of students] receive need–based scholarships and pay an average of $12,000 per year. Twenty percent of parents pay nothing. No loans required."

So make your decision based on the quality of the program, or even the average cost of attendance or loan balance of graduating students. But don't judge a school based on its private/public label which is losing meaning anyway as states gradually withdraw funding from university systems.

pbkmaine

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2015, 12:14:58 PM »
Go for the better school. My Ivy League MBA is still paying dividends 35 years later.

goatmom

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2015, 12:50:57 PM »
Well unless I don't understand how it works - isn't the state school cheaper because the tax payers are subsidizing it?  i wonder if the cost per student is all that much different.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2015, 12:56:49 PM »
I would tell you to go to the better school.  Better to influence from the top than protest from the bottom.

Gin1984

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2015, 01:08:07 PM »
You might also think about what kind of work you want to do when you finish and what kind of atmosphere you want to live in for the next two years. The elite MBA programs can be APPALLINGLY competitive, not just academically but socially. This article about the Harvard MBA program talks about it in terms of gender equity, but my personal takeaway was that the atmosphere sounds absolutely poisonous to EVERYONE. And the program is designed to channel you into future jobs that may be just as bad.
This was an interesting article, thanks you for posting it.

mm1970

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2015, 01:37:13 PM »
You might also think about what kind of work you want to do when you finish and what kind of atmosphere you want to live in for the next two years. The elite MBA programs can be APPALLINGLY competitive, not just academically but socially. This article about the Harvard MBA program talks about it in terms of gender equity, but my personal takeaway was that the atmosphere sounds absolutely poisonous to EVERYONE. And the program is designed to channel you into future jobs that may be just as bad.
Oy that was eye opening

Kwill

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2015, 02:41:09 PM »
You might also think about what kind of work you want to do when you finish and what kind of atmosphere you want to live in for the next two years. The elite MBA programs can be APPALLINGLY competitive, not just academically but socially. This article about the Harvard MBA program talks about it in terms of gender equity, but my personal takeaway was that the atmosphere sounds absolutely poisonous to EVERYONE. And the program is designed to channel you into future jobs that may be just as bad.

That sounds really awful. But... is that how business schools are generally? I hate to admit this in this context, but I was at Harvard in one affiliation or another for that entire experiment plus several years prior to it. And it sounds like the Twilight Zone to me. I never experienced anything like that. I met so many good and interesting people. I was on the other side of the river with the humanities, so maybe the culture is just different. The business school has its own campus, and obviously the set of people who go for PhDs in esoteric humanities fields and the set of people who aim for lucrative careers in business and finance are going to be a little different. Still, I wouldn't judge a school based on one article.

mskyle

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2015, 03:42:38 PM »
That sounds really awful. But... is that how business schools are generally? I hate to admit this in this context, but I was at Harvard in one affiliation or another for that entire experiment plus several years prior to it. And it sounds like the Twilight Zone to me. I never experienced anything like that. I met so many good and interesting people. I was on the other side of the river with the humanities, so maybe the culture is just different. The business school has its own campus, and obviously the set of people who go for PhDs in esoteric humanities fields and the set of people who aim for lucrative careers in business and finance are going to be a little different. Still, I wouldn't judge a school based on one article.

Yeah, I have almost no personal experience of HBS (TA'd a 2-day seminar at their "incubator" facility a couple years ago and I didn't see anything too terrible!) though I have heard many stories of negative experiences at "top-10" and "top-5" business and law schools. Just pointing out that people can have very negative experiences in very highly-regarded programs. I do agree there are lots of wonderful Harvard people! Best job interview of my life was at Harvard, and some of my good friends work there.

pbkmaine

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2015, 09:47:36 PM »
I went to Cornell (Johnson) and had a great experience.

DarinC

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2015, 09:58:26 PM »
I choose to go to a public school system (UC) for that reason, among others. In retrospect, where I've gone matters less and less as my career has progressed, although right out of school it mattered to some degree.

libertarian4321

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2015, 05:25:20 AM »
However, I have always had a slight moral issue with private schools where people pay triple the tuition of a public school for essentially the same education. 

I'm curious as to what your "moral issue" might be.

You'd rather go to a cheaper state school than an "expensive" private school?

So you think it's "moral" to have Joe the Plumber pay for your fancy MBA (at the taxpayer subsidized state school) than go to the private school that is not reaching into Joe Sixpack's pocket?

Frankly, it's far less obscene to go to a private school (--- MOD EDIT: please pick another metaphor.  Thanks. ---) than to go to a state school that makes all of us pay for you fancy education.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 06:14:06 AM by FrugalToque »

libertarian4321

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2015, 05:26:49 AM »
State schools aren't fundamentally more economical than private institutions; they are simply subsidized by tax dollars, and therefore obligated to give a discount to in-state students.

Ding ding ding.  We have a winner.

DLJ154

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2015, 07:07:35 AM »
However, I have always had a slight moral issue with private schools where people pay triple the tuition of a public school for essentially the same education. 

I'm curious as to what your "moral issue" might be.

You'd rather go to a cheaper state school than an "expensive" private school?

So you think it's "moral" to have Joe the Plumber pay for your fancy MBA (at the taxpayer subsidized state school) than go to the private school that is not reaching into Joe Sixpack's pocket?

Frankly, it's far less obscene to go to a private school (--- MOD EDIT: please pick another metaphor.  Thanks. ---) than to go to a state school that makes all of us pay for you fancy education.


If all of the best students go to the private schools, where does that leave the public schools?  As a graduate student, I'm smart enough to make an informed decision on the value of my education.  However, 17 year old children get tricked into believing the best thing they can do with their lives is rack up thousands of dollars of debt paying for a liberal arts education at Ivy League schools, just to get out and pull in the same income as many of their peers who attended the publicly funded schools. 

Americans are fortunate to have an education system where most of us can afford to improve ourselves at publicly funded institutions.  However, when all of the best students choose to go to the private schools, the quality of the public schools inevitably suffer.  As an alumnus of a public and private school, if I choose to donate money where should I donate it?  If I'm not willing to give back to the school I am planning on attending, then should I even bother attending? 

Also, I think it's moral for Joe the Plumber to pay for my fancy MBA because I volunteered to serve my country during a time of war and deploy into combat.  Should that money go back into a publicly funded institution, or into the pockets of the private?

galliver

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2015, 10:31:41 AM »
DLJ154: You can do whatever you want. For whatever reason. You can choose a school because you like the chairs in its classrooms better. But when you phrase it like "be a martyr" it sounds like "well I really want to go to the private school but I'll sacrifice my education to make a point!" And frankly that's stupid.

If all of the best students go to the private schools, where does that leave the public schools?  As a graduate student, I'm smart enough to make an informed decision on the value of my education.  However, 17 year old children get tricked into believing the best thing they can do with their lives is rack up thousands of dollars of debt paying for a liberal arts education at Ivy League schools, just to get out and pull in the same income as many of their peers who attended the publicly funded schools. 

Americans are fortunate to have an education system where most of us can afford to improve ourselves at publicly funded institutions.  However, when all of the best students choose to go to the private schools, the quality of the public schools inevitably suffer.  As an alumnus of a public and private school, if I choose to donate money where should I donate it?  If I'm not willing to give back to the school I am planning on attending, then should I even bother attending?
 

If your criterion is the affordability of the school to its undergraduate students, you should make that call based on the *individual schools' numbers* not on a general classification. If the state school you are considering has a lower average (mean or median) debt burden on their graduating seniors than the private school you are considering, or however you want to measure that, then great. But you can't assume one to be true over the other just based on private vs "public." Which, by the way, are not that significantly "publicly funded". Unlike K-12, where public = 100% tax funded, available to all, and private = 0% tax funded (except tax-exempt), at the university level it's more like 20-30% vs 0%. And if you want to change that, you need to do it from the ballot box and not the classroom.

Second, your point about Ivies: frankly, this is the one case where it *is* worthwhile to pay more for education, if you can get in. Because name-recognition and alumni networks *do matter*. I found this out firsthand going from a small public school to a state flagship that's top-10 in my program and many others. I'm absolutely sure sitting down to an interview that starts with, "So, Harvard, hmm?" has even more impact. And more relevant to you specifically: I have read that name recognition matters much, much more for MBA and law school than any other type of education, in terms of ROI. Something I'd look into if I went for an MBA.

Finally, your donation argument makes no sense to me. You can donate to any institution or organization you think is doing good work. There's absolutely  no requirement you even attend a school to donate to it. Most people choose to donate to their alma mater, but if you want to support the training of doctors and your school didn't have a med school you might donate somewhere else. It's a totally different decision than where you want to be educated.

Also, I think it's moral for Joe the Plumber to pay for my fancy MBA because I volunteered to serve my country during a time of war and deploy into combat.  Should that money go back into a publicly funded institution, or into the pockets of the private?
Unless I'm much mistaken, I expect you got paid and received other benefits, which means you didn't volunteer, you took a job. I admire your courage in taking that job, same way I admire firefighters and sometimes police officers, but it's still a job. (Actually, some fire departments aren't paid, so those firefighters *are* volunteers, so they can say that.)

Also, private institutions don't have "pockets," they do not produce profits or dividends for the board or similar (unless it is specifically a "for-profit" educational institution, but that doesn't describe the big universities). They do have endowments:

Quote
A financial endowment is a donation of money or property to a not-for-profit organization for the ongoing support of that organization. Usually the endowment is structured so that the principal amount is kept intact while the investment income is available for use, or part of the principal is released each year, which allows for the donation to have an impact over a longer period than if it were spent all at once. An endowment may come with stipulations regarding its usage.

The total value of an institution's investments is often referred to as the institution's endowment and is typically organized as a public charity, private foundation, or trust. Among the institutions that commonly manage endowments are academic institutions (e.g., colleges, universities, and private schools), cultural institutions (e.g., museums, libraries, theaters, and hospitals), and religious organizations.
(Wikipedia)

Essentially, they have a "stache" and live off the interest, as well as tuition and donations.



Again, you can make any decision you want for any reasons you want, even  let the Flying Spaghetti Monster guide you with His Noodly Appendage. But when you phrase it as taking a stand against those Evil, Money-Grubbing Ivies (basically) on principle, then you're just wrong, I'm sorry. I'd attend a private university any day over a public university that gets 20% of its operating dollars from the state and puts them all into its football program. What I'm saying is do your research about *individual schools* if you want to make an ideological stand. Don't make decisions based on labels and stereotypes.

Kwill

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2015, 04:15:32 PM »
However, 17 year old children get tricked into believing the best thing they can do with their lives is rack up thousands of dollars of debt paying for a liberal arts education at Ivy League schools, just to get out and pull in the same income as many of their peers who attended the publicly funded schools. 

I think that's a misconception about Ivy League and other elite schools, at least now. The published tuition rates are not the same as what students from lower income families actually pay. For the past 6 or 7 years or so, some of the top schools have been aiming to avoid having their students graduate with any debt by providing all aid as grants/scholarships rather than loans. This means that even up to household incomes of $150,000 or so, depending on the school, the tuition is reduced on a sort of sliding scale. Only a handful of universities and colleges are going to be able to provide that level of aid to that large a percentage of their students, but it'd be worth it to do the research into the particular schools you're considering before you make big decisions based on generalizations.

Here's one write-up of actual costs for lower income students at 29 top schools:
http://www.firstgenerationstudent.com/find/29-elite-colleges-can-actually-afford/

Report on US student debt for the class of 2013. It has a list of public and private schools with the highest and lowest average student debt burden:
http://projectonstudentdebt.org/files/pub/classof2013.pdf

DarinC

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Re: Making myself an educational martyr
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2015, 01:13:01 PM »
State schools aren't fundamentally more economical than private institutions; they are simply subsidized by tax dollars, and therefore obligated to give a discount to in-state students.

Ding ding ding.  We have a winner.
That might have been the case in the past, but these days, at least in CA, the state only provides about ten percent of the UC budget.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_California_finances#Annual_budget

So, of the ~$12k/year it costs in tuition to go to UC Berkeley, $1.2k comes from the federal government.

http://admissions.berkeley.edu/costofattendance

A private school like USC otoh, costs six times as much at ~$72k.

https://catalogue.usc.edu/tuition/

It's not that the state is subsidizing $12k worth of education at Berkeley, it's that USC simply charges six as much for the same education. Granted, the UCs are research institutions, which is why they charge more, but there isn't a big difference in a bachelors from a UC, a bachelors from the Cal State system, and a Bachelors from a private school.

Edited for mixing up yearly/quarterly costs. Private schools in general cost a grip of cash.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 08:04:04 PM by DarinC »