Two-Thirds Of Graduate Degree Holders Have Regrets

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Written by Ann Brown
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A majority of grad students leave school with debt from student loans, and a new survey shows that two-thirds of graduate degree holders have regrets. Ryan Brown of Deptford, N.J., and other seniors wait in anticipation for President Barack Obama to address the graduates of Hampton University, a historically black university, at the school’s Armstrong Stadium, in Hampton, Va., Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A majority of grad students leave school with a major debt from student loans, and a new survey shows that two-thirds of graduate degree holders have regrets.

“For some, it’s worthwhile. An April 2018 release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, while those with a bachelor’s degree make an average of $1,173 in weekly earnings, Master’s degree holders get a bump to $1,401. Professional degree holders rise to $1,836. (Of course, real earnings vary significantly based on a variety of factors including occupation, geography, experience, and others.),” Fast Company reported.

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Still, according to a recent report from PayScale, about two-thirds of people with advanced degrees reported said they had regrets related to college. 

And what were most of the regrets about? Their student loans. “While 24.6 percent of those who earned bachelor’s degrees regretted their student loans, that percentage jumped to 31.5 percent of those with a master’s or Juris Doctor degree. Those with non-M.B.A. master’s degrees reported the highest response rate in this category: 33.3 percent,” Fast Company reported.

“What we did find is that the cost of going to college and the cost of getting an advanced degree especially just really looms large,” said Sudarshan Sampath, Payscale’s director of research. 

Grad students also regretted their areas of study, poor networking, and the time it took to complete their degree.

Interestingly, people who had earned their PhDs had the largest percentage of “no regret” responses. Only 10 percent of PhD respondents shared they regretted the time it took to complete their degree and 5 percent regretted obtaining too many degrees. 

“First if someone is considering a graduate degree — in my world, 99 percent are MBAs, but I think it applies across the spectrum—the first question they need to answer is ‘Why?’” said executive recruiter David Arnold, president, Arnold Partners, LLC, an executive search firm specializing in chief financial officers. “Depending on the answer to that will drive a series of decisions. If the answer is it is the only way to get to the top of my field, then they need to consider top schools in their field. If it is ‘yes, because I am just intellectually curious,’ then that could drive someone to different programs.”