I am currently in a pickle in deciding which college to attend for MS in Energy Systems Engineering for grad school. To my understanding, University of Michigan is extremely well recognized and has an excellent engineering department. The only thing is that it is very expensive: $27k/semester and the program is typically three semesters so ~$81k total. On the other hand, Northeastern University is also a great school, but just not as recognized or “prestigious” as Michigan. However, Northeastern is significantly cheaper for me as I received financial aid of around $44k and the total program tuition is roughly $54k. This comes out to only ~$10k for tuition for the whole program. I am also considering the co-op so I may offset this even further (Michigan does not have a co-op program).
I wouldn’t mind living in Ann Arbor, but I would love living in Boston. Boston would also have a lot opportunities for internships and networking due to being in a large city. The only thing is, I’ve dreamed of attending a large prestigious and nationally recognized school like UMich. If the costs weren’t so drastically different, I would choose Michigan, but I would most likely take out student loans (about $41k) and I don’t know how I feel about paying off student loans until I’m 40.
My undergrad degree is electrical engineering and paired with an energy systems graduate degree, I don’t think it will be difficult to find a moderate paying job to pay off the loans. What does everyone think? Does prestige and recognition trump costs or vice versa? I know I may sound a bit hung up on the “prestige” aspect but I came from a tiny school no one has heard of so I’ve always wanted to get that name advantage.