FD: I have two graduate degrees from the GSAPP referenced in this FB post. The first took me two years and cost two years' of tuition, fees, supplies, and cost-of-living expenses. The second took me three additional years, and those costs increased each year. I pay all my bills with the education I acquired with the first degree. That second degree does almost nothing right now but sit inside my brain, waiting. (I say "almost nothing" because sometimes it leaks out into these posts.) The FBF that posted this status (and the two people that liked it) are friends from the second program.
And this FB post basically sums up the rather commonly held CBA on an Ivy League architectural education if you happened to graduate anytime recently. The cost starts with six figures. Tack on the loan interest, and most of us are wondering if it will ever pay for itself. Don't get me wrong: it will get paid off but, at least in my case, not with the skills acquired with that debt.
[This is one of those posts heavy on Abbreviations and Acronyms. So, as promised, my new rule is that three or more warrant a link to the glossary.]
Further FD: I should have mentioned that the donations requested were for the Alumni Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to some students. I also should have mentioned that I happened to benefit from this fund in my later years at GSAPP.
As well-intentioned as the fund is and as much help as it could provide if it grows, I do see fundamental flaws in it. The simplest is that it can only be applied to tuition costs, so a student still requires (lots of) loans. The bigger problem is that the way it works actually contributes to the myth (created by the availability of federal and private loans) that the education might be affordable to students without the preexisting financial means to pay for it. As I've learned from experience, shared anecdotes, and this survey, this myth is untrue. The Alumni Scholarship Fund hopes to alleviate some of the cost burden for students. This is indeed a noble hope. Still, even with the aid, the education is not affordable if the industry and school can't guarantee gainful employment afterward.
Just as thousands of Americans accrued massive debts to buy houses they couldn't really afford, so too did hundreds of architecture students. The monetary value of the homes sank, the investment did not pay off, and these homeowners found themselves underwater in their mortgages. The monetary value of these educations has sunk, and I've been told of graduates paying their underwater student loan bills with credit cards.