There's an argument that's gained traction in recent years in vastly different fields, and it's don't go back to school. Don't go to graduate school, there are not enough tenure jobs to go around. Don't go to business school, just move to the city that has the industry you're looking to enter and start a business. Don't go to journalism school, just start reporting. Don't go to law school, there are way too many lawyers. Heck, don't even go to college. And whatever you do, don't go to art school.
The last item on the long list of schools-not-to-go-to was recently highlighted by art critic Jerry Saltz, who called Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees "straight-up highway robbery." No doubt, Saltz is referring to the issues familiar to all those considering graduate school of any major: rising costs and poor job prospects. This question is perhaps most salient for practicing artists than people in any other field. With tuitions at the 10 most influential M.F.A. programs averaging around $38,000 per year, Saltz is right to estimate that the ticket price for a 2-year program—adding in room and board—would run a student around $100,000.
Furthermore, data for undergraduates specializing in art, music, and design found that they rack up a lot of student-loan debt, with the median debt just over $21,000 (though working in public or non-profit arts qualifies for loan forgiveness). A study by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute found that early career earnings of those with a fine-arts bachelor degree are among the lowest. Payscale ranks M.F.A. earnings very low in the pack.