When considering my options regarding the CPA education requirement, I concluded that going to graduate school is probably my best option.
I have been strongly considering the University of Colorado at Denver as my school of choice because. as a public school, their tuition rates are much more reasonable the other schools in the area.
A friend, who works in the graduate financial aid office at the University of Denver suggested I take a look at DU’s program. Daniel’s College of Business—which offers both an MAcc and a dual MAcc/MBA degree—is one of the best business colleges in the country. I’d given it a passing thought before, but the private school price tag makes me wary.
My friend recognized my tuition-based hesitation and suggested that there are quite a few merit-based scholarships that I could apply for that might make the private school price tag more palatable, but I’m not convinced that the possibility of getting a good scholarship is worth the definite reality of paying more for schooling if I don’t get a scholarship.
My goal for this CPA project is to accumulate as little additional debt as possible, and part of the reason I have student debt in the first place is because I went to a small, private, expensive, liberal arts school for my undergraduate degree.
University of Colorado at Denver has a lot to recommend it:
- It’s about 10 minutes walking distance from where I work, which is nice because I take public transportation to work, and could easily take it home from school after my classes.
- Tuition and fees are relatively inexpensive: one class (3 semester hours) is $1,817.
- They offer many of their graduate-level classes in the evening.
The downsides? I suppose that the business college at CU-Denver is not as well-recognized as that of DU. Otherwise, I’m not sure what downsides there might be.
- DU is relatively close to where I work.
- DU’s Daniel’s College of Business is ranked #15 internationally.
- Their program is much easier to research online
While DU isn’t too much further away from where I work than CU-Denver is, I would have to take public transportation to get there, which might then interfere with my work or class schedules.
The fact that Daniel’s College of Business is ranked #15 internationally has a certain amount of appeal. If money wasn’t a concern, I would love the prestige getting a degree from a college so well-regarded world-wide.
But is it necessary for me to go to a top ranked business school? Not really. Can I afford it? Unlikely, without a lot of scholarship or grant support. Or a lot of student loans.
Ease of researchability is nice, but it’s not going to make or break this decision, especially when tuition and fees for one class (4 quarter hours) is $4,370.
What about your predicted income as a CPA? Doesn’t that count for anything?
One of the things I learned about in my current job is the SLOPE calculator. SLOPE stands for Student Loans Over Predicted Earnings and is a way to look at how much money you can “afford” to take out in student loans, based on your income once you graduate.
I plan to dig into the actual numbers on each school, and the SLOPE calculator in a later post, but let me say now that the idea of borrowing money against some future income makes me just as wary as choosing a school based on predicted scholarship “winnings.”
I’ve been around long enough to know that the future doesn’t always pan out the way you think it will, and it’s better to plan based on what you know, instead of based on what you hope.
Granted, this opinion is colored by the fact that the undergraduate degree program I chose (Philosophy) had no obvious career path except further schooling, which meant that instead of starting right away in a good, entry-level job in my field, I floundered about for several years, underemployed, just trying to make ends meet.
I still think that CU-Denver is the better option for me, but I’ll know more once I’ve studied the numbers.
Until next time.
Next post: Slow and Steady Wins the Race…