Many students are pursuing master’s degrees at universities in the United States more attracted by the romantic halo of certain degrees than by the practical use they can give them, and most have been in debt for life, reveals an analysis by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
One of the most extreme cases is that of a master’s degree in Film from Columbia University. Graduates who took out federal student loans had an average debt of $ 181,000 two years after earning their master’s degree, and half were earning less than $ 30,000 a year, the newspaper reported.
In a similar situation are graduates of master’s degrees in history, social work, and architecture from the prestigious New York University.
Overall, according to the WSJ, Columbia has more debt-ridden master’s programs for low-paying professions than any other Ivy League university.
Columbia graduate students who borrowed money typically had loans that exceeded annual earnings two years after graduation in 14 of the school’s 32 master’s programs monitored by the Department of Education, according to the WSJ.
Zack Morrison, 29, who earned a Master of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia in 2018, confesses that he is distressed by the debt he incurred.
“There are always those 2 am panic attacks where you think, ‘How the hell am I going to pay for this?’ His loan balance is now nearly $ 300,000, including accrued interest. He has barely been making between $ 30,000 and $ 50,000 a year from his work as a Hollywood assistant and side jobs like commercial video production and photography.
For the research, the WSJ analyzed loan data from the Department of Education.
According to statistics, at New York University graduates with a master’s degree in print media borrowed $ 116,000 on average and had a median annual income of $ 42,000 two years after the program.