Will Grad School Actually Pay Off? Use This Calculator to Find Out

female graduate holding cap up during graduation ceremony
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Graduate school can be a great way to improve your hiring prospects, add new skills to your toolbox and generally beef up your resume.

Oh, and you get to spend a few extra years at the old university watering hole.

It seems like a solid move, especially considering those with a graduate degree made about $16,700 more than folks with a bachelor’s degree in 2016, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. And over the last decade, there were 2.5% more applications for graduate schools each year, says a report by the Council of Graduate Schools.

Whoa, pump the brakes. Don’t quit your job and start sending off college applications just yet.

When you look at the cost of grad school, along with the lost wages you could be collecting with a full-time job, it could take decades for you to pay off that shiny new diploma.

Luckily for you, Quartz has a new tool to help you figure out if it’s worth the price tag.

This Calculator Will Help You Decide if Grad School Is Worth It

You shouldn’t just think about income when you consider higher education. Net worth will tell you whether the investment in the degree actually paid off.

This calculator from Quartz will collect some financial information and then spit out how long it will take you to see an actual financial return from that new degree.

You’ll need the cost of the college you’re eyeing for a graduate degree, which makes it a great resource for comparing universities if you’ve already made up your mind about going to grad school.

So there you have it. Instead of barreling into a decision that could saddle you with a lifetime of debt, check out the long-term implications before you make your call.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder.