Should you go into debt for an MFA?

This is an arial photo taken by myself of West...I’ve been accepted! Out of all the schools that I applied to this winter, I have received about a gazillion noes and two resounding Yeses! (is that the correct plural of yes? Ah well) So, you think I’d be excited, right? And don’t get me wrong, I am. But there’s that moment when you get the letter: you hold it high in the air and run to your family and tell them that yes! all that application filling was not for nothing!

And that’s when the movie ends… 

Then you look at the financial packets…. crap. Is it really worth going $30,000 in debt to get my MFA in Fiction? It’s a big question, and everyone seems to have a different answer. My ex, for example, points out that Stephen King doesn’t have an MFA. Neither does Suzanne Collins, or even Margaret Atwood.

Basically an MFA doesn’t guarantee you a job or publication. As far as I can tell from my research,

The only good reason to go into an MFA program for writing is to actually get the most out of the education and experience. That’s it.

So, the question remains: Is it worth going into debt for?

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6 thoughts on “Should you go into debt for an MFA?

  1. Only you can know the answer to that. If it’s something that you want to do, do it. Don’t look back and wonder if you should have gotten that degree. The same degree can open some doors that people without the degree couldn’t open. There are always positives and negatives associated with anything, you just have to figure out what’s best for you.

    Just between you and me, I would go for it. The experience would outweigh the debt.

    Good luck with the decision, and congratulations!

  2. I got my MFA, added another $30,000 onto $80,000 of debt, and I’m waiting to hear back from Starbucks about a possible job (as they are the only people who have shown any interest in hiring me). I tried newspapers, editors, publishers, and so far the only thing I’ve made a wee bit of money on is freelancing, and that’s not steady. So, no an MFA does not guarantee you a job or getting published.

    Would I do it again? Absolutely. Getting my Masters was one of the greatest experiences of my life, to date. I met some great people and I learned a ton, all of which has been very useful in my recent writing endeavors. Sure, more than likely you won’t be able to use it to get a job, but ultimately, it’s the experience that will be the most rewarding. I’m swimming in debt and will probably be paying it off until im 80. But knowing that, I do not regret my Masters. At all.

    I don’t think you will either.

    Congratulations on getting accepted! And good luck!

  3. Congrats on getting accepted. But wow, what a big decision. I think you need decide why you wanted an MFA. Personal growth, to get a job, to get published? It’s time to look inside and see what your heart says. For personal growth, go for it. For a job or to get published, maybe look at other options for courses on writing. There are so many ways to learn and to get contacts. Good luck.

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