When I went back to graduate school 4 years ago, I left a great job in the biotechnology sector. I had always planned on going back to school for my doctorate, but I was about to take a 50% paycut. That was really tough. But I wanted to go back to school to be able to teach at a university level. So finances didn't really play a role in my decision, it was a decision based on what I wanted to do with my life. I hope it turns out well.
It was tough financially for us, but we managed to cushion the blow by cutting expenses drastically and realizing it was only for 2 years before DH graduated and got a real job. Turns out we did better than expected taking the paycut and just going back to school. We barely made it out of those two years alive without CC debt, but we did now and then draw on a home equity loan which we paid when we had extra money. We were able to really cushion ourselves during our lean years as graduate students, and have a wonderful place to live to boot.
Currently DH is back in school part-time for an MBA at 29. He's already finished his phd so he's doing this not for financial gain but personal fufillment in his job. Instead he wants the move up in his current career path and also have the opportunity to move into the business side of the pharmaceutical industry. He's never had the opportunity to learn about marketing, sales, or any business skills before and is curious as to why the company he works for is making certain decisions. He tells me the classes are amazing, interactive, fun, so different from our repetitive/recitation science classes. I almost wonder if he shouldn't have gone into business in college?
But it will cost us $20k/year for 3 years with his employer potentially only covering $5k/year. So I have no idea if this will be a bad move for us financially, I hope not. However deep down I feel that it's the right decision because it will make DH more marketable to find the job he loves and enjoys.
For us, money is important in that it buys freedom to choose what you want to do with life. But it's not the end all be all, we also want to love and be successful in our careers and feel as though we're making a contribution to society. Though I loathe debt, taking out student loans to help us get to where we want to be feels like the right thing for us to do.
Student loans $4250 and counting.