Home » Study in USA » What is return (ROI) for MS in USA? When will I be break-even? Average Salary after MS in US ? Savings after MS ? Return on Investment for MS in USA ?

What is return (ROI) for MS in USA? When will I be break-even? Average Salary after MS in US ? Savings after MS ? Return on Investment for MS in USA ?

One of the ways to look at a degree is what would be the return on your investment on education. It can be monetary or non-monetary. In this article, I will try to give my opinion on this and give some traditional and non-traditional thinking about MS in USA. This article is part of the series Guide / steps to study in USA for International students? How to plan?

How much does MS Cost?

As I have explained in previous article, What is the cost of studying in USA ? MS in US Cost? , you will have to pick and choose schools based on your financial situation and your scores.  For the sake of example, I am taking average and considering $ 7,000  for tution for a semester and $ 3,000 for expenses.  So, for four semesters it will be $28,000 + $12,000 = $ 40,000. It can be less like $20,000 or even less too(may be no cost) depending on scholarships, etc. I am just taking an average.

How much will I make after MS in USA? Average Salary After MS in USA ?

Though, it is getting tougher with the new H1B rules of 2011 to find a H1B sponsor, let’s assume you successfully graduate and get H1B visa to work in US and you join a company that pays minimum wage for an MS graduate. Let’s take average of $50,000 dollars. I know people in IT Jobs who start with $80,000 and even make more at their first job. But for the sake of reality, lets assume you take up  a job in small firm that pays you just the H1B minimum wage or LCA prevailing wage in an area . You can see from below statistics from Indeed job search site that it can be as low as $34,000 too. For the sake of reality, lets take $50,000 as average salary.

Average Salaries MS in USA

How much will I save after MS in USA and working in Job ?

Thought it seems we are making $50,000 salary per year, you have to pay 33% of it as taxes for the most part unless you live in state like Texas where there is no state tax. Lets assume you are paying  33% taxes to IRS, then you have net income of $33,500 per year, which is $2,791 per month.  Imagine you buy a new car and live in a single bed house in a decent outskirt of city and go out few times a month  ( NOT in Manhattan or downtown ). At the minimum, your expense  are around $1,700 – $ 2,000 per month including your monthly payment for Car.  Lets say, you have 1,700 as expenditure per month. You are now left with only $2,791 – $1,700 = $1,000. You are only able to save $1,000 only if you have a decent life style. Some may argue with this, but in all reality if you live decently and make only 50K per year this is how much you will be saving.

Break Even Analysis of MS in USA :

As we have spent almost $40,000 for education and we only save $1,000 a month, it will take us 40 months to clear our debt. Our breakeven point is after 3 years 4 months. That seems quite long. May be if you get promotion and make more money you may  clear a few months early may be 3 years or 2 years 9 months… This is only if you make 50K after graduation. If you make more, you clear early. You can look at the Average Salaries in the same places as above with Bachelors in USA and see the difference. It is not that much. In fact, some people do not hire MS students because you are over qualified and they cannot pay you that much as the state and USCIS mandates that you are paid as per minimum wage.

Traditional Thinking about MS and ROI :

As per traditional thinking you are making around an average of $7,000 more with your MS than Bachelors.

ROI = ( Profit / total investment )* 100

ROI for MS in USA = 7,000 / 40,000 * 100  =  17.5 %

That’s a pretty good return right?  Yes and NO. If you have taken loan for 12% interest from your home country, you are making only 5.5% that’s your real return. It does not sound good, if your interest rate was less then it is good. Also, you are not making any money until 3 years 4 months or actually longer(with interest more money) until you pay off the loan. Also, imagine  a person with Bachelors gets experience and moves into bigger roles after 5 years he makes as much as a masters degree person. It does not make much difference then.  I am thinking very traditionally here J  Anyways, traditionally thinking about MS in USA, it does not seem very attractive. The cost vs benefit of MS is not very impressive with 50K salary.  It may seem attractive if you start in a 80K job and do not spend anything for MS education.

Average Salaries Bachelors in USA

Non-Conventional way of thinking about MS and ROI :

As I wrote in my previous article about MBA and return on MBA and is it really worth studying in US, It is not just money that you should look at when doing a cost vs benefit analysis.

  • You are getting higher education and information that is invaluable.
  • You are investing in yourself. You are investing to grow yourself mentally
  • You are getting to know how things work internally in your field of interest.
  • You are studying in a new environment and learning new things.
  • You are constantly challenged to balance school, work and finances

I can keep on writing…some may argue, I do not care I just need money, that’s why I am coming to US for MS…for someone who thinks on those lines of money, honestly MS is just waste of time and money. You can get the same or actually more money by getting experience working and coming to US on L1 visa and then getting H1b visa. L1 to H1B has many advantages. For someone, who do not care about money and care about research, PhD or learning more in their field of interest, it is a good way to look at MS in US as investing in yourself seeking your passion for self improvement  and knowledge.


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  1. Dear Sir,

    You have given me a clear idea on how the ROI and everything is going to be. I am not sure whether you will be able to answer my questions but I am giving it a try here.

    My Profile
    10th 86%
    12th 80%
    UG 7.04 on a scale of 10 CGPA
    Work Experience: 1 year in ITIL and 1 year in Support(Technical)
    GRE: 292 (Verb-147/Quant-145)
    IELTS: Given (Expecting 7 or Above in all the sections)
    Budget: 25-30 lakhs inclusive of stay tution fee for the entire course duration

    My question: Is it possible to pursue my highers (MS in CS or MIS) in the USA a decent college with this profile? I do know that once I get there I can get myself some PT jobs and waiver of some tution fee. However to get there I need some kind of financial documents etc… or the visa office might reject my visa stating financial concerns. Any help would do good.

    A list of university (2016/2017/2018 academic year) would be really helpful based on my profile and budget.

    • Nirmal,
      Unfortunately, we do not advise on schools here. You may need to check the average scores at current good schools to get some idea. Getting funding is dependent on many factors and you need to find something that can get you that. Yes, you will need to have all funds to support education during application and visa stamping as well. All in all, you need to do your research and have enough funds to support your education.

  2. Hi,

    I have two years of experience in a US MNC as a developer in India. I Have a Btech Degree with 75%. I can arrange strong LOR from my VP and managers and college HOD. I wish to do MS in Engineering Management from US. I have a GRE score of 301(Verbal-143, Quant-158). money is a constraint at my end and i want to invest in my education keeping in consideration all the pros and cons. Would taking up an average univ in California like CSUN would be worth it?

    • Lubna,
      Well, worth is very relative on what you put it against. I am wondering what is your goal for MS in US ? Read Goals for MS in US. I cannot really speak for the school as I do not know…My logic of higher education is that it should help you with your long term career plans or fulfill your passion…Not discouraging you, but trying to make you think about your end goal…Take your time and think about it…

  3. kumar sir..i want to do my MBA from good b-school in US..so sir what exam i’ll have to give ?….and how to do preparation for that exam??sir what should be the score to get scholars because my family conditions are not enough to pay for my MBA study in US.
    Sir i’ve completed my engineering with Civil branch last year in 2015 with score CGPA -7.11/10, my 12th-70.1% and 10th-77.80% but i dont have any working experience. so sir plz suggests me sir what should have to do because i am not getting proper guidance for my study in US.
    Sir is there any loan process for study in abroad?
    Sir if i’ll get admission in good b-school then is it possible to,i can job with my regular study to pay my collafe fee and my monthly expenditure?
    Sir plz suggest me sir i m so worried about my study program because of my financial conditions.
    Sir my friend suggest me to do preparation of IELTS but i am unable to understand exam pattern…..
    plz sir guide me….thankyou.

    • Anurag Patel,
      Why do you want to study in US ? Do you have a specific goal ? Read Goal for MS in US
      Well, loan depends on many factors, I suggest you check with a bank.
      No, you cannot work full time on F1 visa, you can only do part time on campus only.
      You will not be able to pay for your tutition with part time on campus job, unless you get full funding or tuition fee waiver.
      I suggest that you do some research on studying in US and read some articles on the blog under Study in US section.
      Visit few schools websites to get some idea on what is required…
      You need to be aware of the H1B Lottery Situation with F1 Visa . Take time to think about all these and then take an informed decision.

  4. I am an government related business employee in India.
    I am bachelor in arts. Work experience of 10 years in my field. Soon will be district head.
    I am interested in doing MS PPM from USA.
    For that i have to resign my post here.
    What would be the job / professional scene in usa/ uk for person like me of age 35 years now.?

  5. Hi, I am in bit of a spot here. I am a mechanical engineer with three years experience in an automobile OEM and I have a job offer that would pay me 6 Lahks INR per annum. I have also got an admit from UC Boulder for MS in Mechanical in US which would probably cost around 35 Lakhs INR for the entire course period. I have always wanted to do Masters in my field. But, I am not sure anymore if that would be lucrative enough to invest in an MS degree. I really need help on making a decision.

    • Gautham,
      You are in a tricky situation. End of the day it boils down your passion and risk. One thing you need to consider is that, you may not necessarily get more money by doing MS in US. Also, you need to be cognizant of the fact about H1B visa Lottery and Study in MS. While, you do get OPT to work and pay off your loan, you need to proactive and find the right roles…the STEM OPT program has gone through some changes and you need to be aware of the complexity in that. one of things you can consider is take up the job in MNC and then see, if any option to relocate to US for work and then do MS part time during that period. It can be a tricky decision. If you are really passionate and do not mind taking risk and be ready to come back, if things dont work out after MS for job, you should go for it…It boils down to how badly you want to MS vs debt you may end up with…

  6. I am currently working in a MNC as a manual tester, In Feb’17 I will complete my 2 Years, I am planning to go for MS in Spring’17.

    My profile :-
    10: 72.92 %
    Diploma (Electronics & Telecommunications) : 73.03%
    BE (Information technology) : 53%, 1 year gap too.
    2 Years of Work experience in manual testing & Few certifications too.

    As far i know i have very low GPA in my graduation but i really want to pursue MS so how can i overcome with this profile (I have participated in some extra curriculum activities too) ?? I am interested in software testing or database related field, so in which specialization i can pursue MS? My plan is too complete MS as soon as possible clear loans then work for 2-3 Years and come back home with some good amount of money.

    • I need advice for following things :-

      1. How to make my profile Strong.

      2. Which specialization would be better for me.

      3. What would be my annual package and take home salary (On Average).

  7. ple like us, many federal student loans have a grace period, which is a set …. Help needed fast and urgent ! …… That would be split between $3500/subsidized and $2000/unsubsidi

  8. Hi,
    I am likely to give GRE in coming 3 months. want to pursue MS in CS for Fall ’16.
    What would be my chances of getting scholarship?
    Here is my Profile :

    BE from Mumbai University (agg. 63%, Final yr. 70%)
    2 years of Work exp (2 yrs till aug ’16) as a Software Developer (J2EE).
    Have did 2 mini projects.

    Also which university should i apply to with the above mention profile provided it my GRE score are 310+ (to be realistic, it can be worst or even better.)

    Kindly provide me the information that i can avail and assess what is the best possible way for me to get there.
    Thanks in Advance.

  9. Hi, I am looking forward to do MS in US. Yet to give GRE. I would like to know the oppurtunities, scholarships and other info to stay and study in US. Below are my credentials:

    10 th class(CBSE):84.43%;
    12th class(CBSE): 76%;

    Now I have 2 years of experience in IT as SE. Planning to do masters in computer science. Please educate me on colleges/Universities and scholarships to avail. Coming to my achievements and extra curricular activities, I was very active in extra curricular activities, sports and academics and also in organizational activities initiation. I Secured gold medal as an all rounder and got scholarship for free of study and accommodation JNV
    from 6th class to 12th class.

    Please give enough information on given short of my profile.

    Thanks inadvance.

    • Hey Sapadana,

      Can you email me ur details so that we can have a further discussion regarding this.. even i am opting for Fall ’16.

  10. I have cgpa of 8.65 (mechanical engineering). I have done a decent project. My GRE score is 325 and toefl is 105. I have no work experience\internships and haven’t published any research or technical papers. Will this put me into any of the top 10 or 20 universities assuming my SOP and LOR are good??

  11. I have passed 12th in Bombay with 74%, BSc., computer science – 62 %, Master in Computer application – 63 %.

    Appearing for GRE IN NOVEMBER, 2015 AND TOFFLE NOVEMBER 2015.

    What are the chance of getting good colleges in USA for studying MS in computer scinece. If get 310 in GRE and 100 in TOFFLE, will I get good colleges in USA. for MS computger science. for falls in september, 2015.

    sushma mahadevan.

  12. Hi All I have got around 6 years of work Experience in top product IT companies.
    I am planning to do MS from USA. Does it make sense to apply for MS after 6 to 7 years experience.

      • well it depends.. i do have a 6 yrs of expr in IT… n now pursuing my MS degree in US.. n i thought the same when i was in India.. but when i started my clg here in UUS.. i saw ppl with age range of 40-50 not only Americans but also Indians pursue MS.. 🙂
        Now I realize that since i hv 6 yrs of exp its really gr8 advantage for me to get a good job

        • Hi Afs,
          Did you get a chance to ask those 40 50 year old guys from India that why did they plan to get the MS degree at this age.I am also having 10 yrs of exp and thought of studying but i am not able to decide.

  13. Hi, I am a EE graduate
    I have a cgpa of 7.78 in my btech
    Class 12-83%
    Class 10-82%
    Nd 2 research papers out of which 2 is IEEE.
    I work for a hydroelectric company. My salary package is 3.6 p.a…I know it would be very difficult fr me to get a scholarship but what are my chances..?
    I am bit nervous tht I wouldn’t be accepted by a very good university bcoz of my cgpa.
    What are my chances of acceptance and of getting a scholarship and which universities should i apply…?
    please reply.
    Thank you.

  14. hi i am completing mtech course this year in local university college in india expecting 66 aggregate iam passionate to work in foreign country is there any way to fulfill my dreams???.

  15. my ,
    i did btech in electrical stream ,i want to do ms through gre can you tell me how can imove forward as i dont have much idea about it…plzz dont laugh of this just guide me

  16. Hello,

    I came to USA in Fall 2013. Due to lack of proper research, I fall in little trouble. I had good background with 4.5 years of work ex. I applied to 8 universities and received call from all of them. Currently I am in SDSU, California pursuing MIS but due to etc pre-req’s and sudden increase in business professional fee, I am not able to manage my funds. I can figure out money from multiple resources to complete my education but putting everything for the sake of education does not seems good to me. I planned for 18-20 lacs but because of pre-req, fee increment, unawareness of insurance and so on total cost went up to 33-35 lac approx. I tried my best to figure out some solution but still stressed, I have few universities in hand and I can transfer to those in spring (Cheaper one with less reputation, university with less courses and can save $5000).

    I am trying to make a wise decision, I came here with a mind set of 2 year-study, 1.5 year-repayment, 1.5 year-some saving..good education, some saving, experience will ultimately be in hand ! I am doing a lot of research onto this and I kinda agree with this article, one of my senior recently get into HP with approx same figures (15% higher) in Bay area.

    My question is- I spent around 10 lacs in last 4 months including everything.. What would be your suggestion to me-
    1.) Go back to India?
    2.) Join Cheaper University with no reputation and find a job through consultant?
    3.) Join another university with little lower ranking, less courses and can save $5000 at max?
    4) Stay here- I am settled, good reputation within professors, built some network, have on campus job to pay of my living but ultimately I have to spend 2.5 year with 32-35 lacs?

    I appreciate your thoughts and view, thanks in advance.

  17. hello everyone,
    MY Profile:
    I am veena.I have applied for spring 2014 For MS in CS(IUPUI,CSU NORTHRIDGE,OKLAHOMA STILL WATERS,UHCL).But unfortunately two rejections from IUPUI and UHCL.I am loosing my confidence.I am left with two universities but my consultancy people are forcing me to apply for one more university i.e FDU.I am in dilemma because if i apply any university at this moment i may get i20 max in dec.Then how can i complete my procedure of bank loans,visa process etc.And is it advisable for me to go for visa in december?Instead should i go for fall?Please help me out.please am helpless.

  18. hie im abhi 25 yrs old i completed my btech with 78 backlogs one year after my actual academic year and now its been 5 years after my btech .is there a chance for me to get admits and visa into universities in america for mis

  19. hello everyone,
    i am sandeep from india (hyderabad) age:25 ,like every one i too have a passion to study MS in US .coming to my education , i have done MBA from local university in hyderabad and working as marketing executive in a pharma company earning 30k every month but i feel this is not the right profession for me to grow and explore myself ,so i am thinking to plan further studies (MS) in US .basically i am from a middle class family financially not so strong but initially 8lakhs can be arranged for my education .here is the problem will i get funnding in further semisters? ?..is there any option like by working part time over there will be enough for the living COST as well as for semister fees??.. ,if not so what all the various options to get funds and scholorships?? kindly any one help me out in
    1.In selecting course.
    2.funding options.
    3. is it the right decision at the age of 25 & with limited funds?
    4.what is the future there?
    5.what all the different ways of making money if i dnt get any scholorships & funding or TA,RA,etc from the university.
    i am looking forward for your valuble response,i am very confident and hardworking nature but money is the BARRIER .

  20. Hey man in which world are you living? These statistics are for overall graduates i.e.- arts, humanities, etc. Consider this fact that most of the students from India go for Engineering for their MS and for CS graduates(freshers starting salary is 70-80k and almost same for EE graduates and these 2 are the most preferred fields of doing MS by Indian students. You think those people are mad who go to MS leaving their country and decent salary behind. They go their for money primarily. For a person earning 70k, there are 25% federal taxes and rest state taxes. Most pay around 30% in taxes so 21k in taxes and around 1000USD for decent living per month so net savings is- atleast 35000 USD. Wake up to the reality. You know only one route to get the job- Consultants but in reality if you are form a decent top 50 university in your field in USA u get a job via applying online on your own. Please don’t generalize things based on examples from Consultants suffering people. I know a heck lot of people working in – Dell, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, etc after graduating from USA. I too am leaving admits from new IIMs, MDI and going for MS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station. So stop scare mongering and get your facts straight.

    • @ dfg

      I personally feel your view about the job scene here in the US is blurred. If you think that a job from the companies that you mentioned just come to you then you are living in a dream world. You are the one who must wake up to the reality. Graduating from a ‘Top 50’ university has nothing to do with you getting a high paying job. I know friends who are now struggling to find a job inspite of graduating from Ivy league schools.

      Applying online is not a process that is as simple as you think it is and you must remember that the universities here do not have a ‘placement cell’ like the schools in India. The salary numbers that you are pulling out (70K) depends on where you stay, if you expect to live a happy life with a 70K salary in New York or in California trust me you are building castles in the sky.

      Job prospects depend on the market here. If you are lucky you will land an internship and a job without any hastle but many students who came here during the 2008-2011 period were not so lucky. Please get your facts straight before you start pointing fingers/ finding faults with facts that others have mentioned.

    • Hi all, I am a bit confused and jittery after reading all the posts.
      I am parent and we belong to a middle class status, willing to spend our hard eraned savings on children education. My daughter has done her graduation in IT and is travelling to US to do MS in the Baltimore County university.
      As I understand, the university is not in top 50.
      What are the job prospects for her in US?
      Dr Dilip

  21. OK!! so the post said that the MS people are not hired by many stating over-qualified?? How much truth is in that ? Can we get an official record of the placements offered to these people in their respective colleges like we do have in india??

  22. Hi, I’m 23 years old working in IT company in India for past two years. I want to apply for MS in Fall 2013.
    My GRE (which i gave last year) is 326/340 as per new marking scheme and TOEFL is 112/120.
    I have 63% BE aggregate in Computer Engg. I have no backlogs. My family is in financially sound condition and able to afford cost of the education.

    I want to know:
    1. Whether one can get good jobs in US in current scenario after completing MS.
    2. Whether it is possible to recover education costs in reasonable time if I come back to work in India after MS.

    • hi suyash,
      First of all i would like to congratulate you for your whooping GRE and TOEFL marks..on those fronts you have absolutely nailed it.Eventhough your acadamation record is a bit on the lower side…i am pretty sure that you can get admits from an average notch institute.well if you are really passionate and ready to work hard just go for it without any second thoughts ,strongly considering your families financial condition.

      • Thanks for the reply Vasanth. Are you a current or prospective graduate student?

        Can you please let me know which college you are from?

  23. Hey I really liked your post. I’ve been going through some doubts and would really like to seek your help. I have poor academic record in my B.Tech Computer Science with agg. 58% and before this i completed my Dip. in CS with 79.4% . I’ve also completed my Diploma in Business Management from Symbiosis International University. Did internship from various companies like Tata Teleservices and HCL. This year i’ll complete 1 yr exp in IT field and planning to give GRE in the month of October. So will my work exp, internships and diplomas can help me to get a good university in USA for MIS despite of poor grades in Graduation?

  24. Can you please suggest me some jobs(companies also) that will be offered after completing an MS in US. Also may you please share with me the payscales per month.

    I am 4yr exp in Indian topmost IT company.

    Please let me know.

    Swini Nahata Ahuja:)

  25. Hi,

    I am a one year experienced guy working in a top MNC in India with salary 8 Lakhs per annum. I was the university topper in Btech and a gold medalist.
    My records are exciting:
    10th -95%
    12th – 93%
    Btech- 98%.
    I am thinking of MS now , hoping I will get good scholarship ? I don’t have much idea about MS in US and all , so please guide me? Is it worth doing ?

    I want a very good ROI and good understanding of my subject. Frankly speaking , I have got bored of my programming here and also I want to become a millionaire asap.

    So please guide me .

  26. Good try with the analysis…but salary in US after MS mentioned are almost half…at least for Comp Sci students…..I know people with following stats:

    Under Grad: BE Comp Sci
    Under Grad grade: Avg (60 – 70%)
    Work Exp in Indian IT: 2 years
    GRE Score: ranging 1200-1300
    MS Comp Sci: Avg US university

    SALARY: 100k onwards

    Tax and Insurance: 33%

    Living Expenses:
    2000k (Levishly – Living alone in single apt and driving a nice car)
    1000K (Economically – Living with friends and sharing an avg car)

    Based on these stats:
    Savings = 8000 – 2640 (Tax) – 2000 (Living) = 3360$

    Most of my friends save avg 4000$ = 2,00,000 Rs monthly

    Even if you are a fresher from India who just gor under grad and have no work exp, you will end up with 80K in IT or 65-70K non IT.

    • Here are the best and worst Masters Degree surveys and salaries from


    • Hi All,

      I am also looking to get into a good university in US, I intend to pursue my MS in Computer Science.

      I was contemplating for a few days gathering information from every where on how much could be the expense and salary etc then I bumped onto this post.

      Like every one else I am also curious and worried what would be the salary expected post completion of MS as I would be taking loan for my fees.
      I am also not sure on how much it would cost to pursue MS from a university like pennsylvania university or west virginia state university – some say it would not cost more than 25 lakh others say it could cost upto 40lakh.

      About the salary what you have mentioned – what company they end up with?

      Is there any chance of getting into Yahoo, google, nvidia, cisco, EA sports, AT NT etc, though I highly doubt they would hire any fresher. What I would like to know is if a person is good at computers and works hard in his Masters then what are the chances of getting selected (or may be in future after few years of experience ) into those companies.

      According to H1B visa, one can only work for max 6 years and after that he has to stay out of US for 1 yr and then can reapply for H1B visa – is there any way where one can work for longer period, with the expiry of H1B visa it would mean that I will have to leave the job and probably find a job in India and then after few years then again look for job in US – what really happens?

      I would really appreciate a response.

      • Sarwesh Suman,
        Answer to the last question (re: H-1) is that one can apply for 7th year extension and beyond if the Green Card process for the person has started and has reached certain stage.

        • Thanks for the response!

          You mean first I get 6 years and then after that I can apply for 7 years of extension if I have applied for Green car within that 6 years period?

          Green card can be applied through the sponsored company or is there a direct way to apply?


          • Sarwesh Suman,
            That is correct. In addition, GC should have reached the certain stage (as described in my previous response) by the time 7th year extension is filed.

            GC can be filed either by the current employer or any other employer. You cannot self-apply.

          • Sarwesh Suman,
            It may take 4-6 months for the GC pre-work. Then PERM needs to be filed which can take 2-6 months to process and then I-140 needs to be filed which can take another 2-12 months to process.

    • The salary listed is of all of the degree holders, not just the ones from IT.

      The top salary you mention in IT is generally paid for a masters in a top school, and a position that requires you to be extremely well versed and disciplined in your field. It is difficult even for a promising student to say for sure, most do not. A salary of 40-55K is generally what the fresher will make, and with experience comes 60-65K. This may sound like a large amount in Rs but the living expenses are difficult.

      It a month, a practical estimate would be:
      Average car payment – $450 = Rs 25500
      Average apartment – $1250 = Rs 71000
      Average electric, water and phone $225 = Rs 13000
      Average internet – $50 = Rs 2800
      Average food – $200 = Rs 11000
      Average repairs – $50 = Rs 2800
      Average commute – $125 = Rs 7100
      Average miscellaneous taxes and fees – $20 = Rs 1100
      Average general supplies – $20 = Rs 1100

      Total fixed cost is $2390 = Rs 136000.

      Assume you make a rather reasonable $55K

      Monthly income is $4600 = Rs 260000.
      Taxes are $1300 = Rs 74000
      Fixed expenses are Rs 2390 = 136000 .

      Left over
      $910 = Rs 51700.

      If you do nothing but go to work, and come home, and sleep. If you like to go out, this will easily be spent and there will be no savings. All this for a mostly lonely life away from home. The opportunity is there, but it is a struggle. If you like home, stay.

  27. Hi Kumar,

    I am applying for Ms and I am glad I bumped into your article.
    I am currently working in a startup company for 2 years now and honestly in India I dont see any scope for technical growth as such. The statistics you have provided are very convincing. However can u tell me an alternative course here in India which would enhance the technical know how?

    • Hi Sheetal,

      Can you specify your job profile?

      If you are in IT, best thing would be following:
      1. Improve your technical skills, get certifications. Get lot of work experience. Make sure you get promoted on regular intervals or even before Avg promotions and salaries in Indian IT are as follows:
      Year 1 – 2 : Fresher (2 – 3 Lakhs)
      Year 3 – 4 : Programmer (3 – 6 Lakhs)
      Year 4 – 6 : Senior Programmer: (6 – 8 Lakhs)
      Year 7 – 10 : Manager (8 – 12 Lakhs)

      Note: These are avg salaries and years.

      Doing masters in CS in India won’t help you getting good job in India or good salary (at least in IT). Even i have seen people who came back from US after Masters in CS and having almost same salaries as mentioned above.
      Companies look for your market value and then give you the job. not your degree.

      If you go for MBA in India after few years of experience, that will be a better profile and can add 2-3 lakhs to above mentioned salaries.

      But i would suggest, you should go for MS in US, if:
      1. You want to enhance technical knowledge.
      2. Want to work on cutting edge aspects/technologies/subjects.
      3. Get satisfaction of being highly educated and good job.
      4. Earn more money than avg Indian IT guy or Indian MBA guy right from year 1.

  28. Hi Guys,
    I did M.Sc. in analytical chemistry from pune university followed by one year of work in a pharmaceutical company as a scientist .Then I opted for M.S. in Chemistry from San Francisco State University, CA and graduated this august 2011.I have one year of work visa (OPT) ,but I wish to go back to India and work.
    I would appreciate if anybody could let me know what range of salary I should be expecting, with my degrees and experiences in India.
    At this moment I don’t see any solid reason to be in USA other than to help myself repaying my loan!
    Kindly reply if anybody has some idea.
    Thank you

  29. Great post! It is so sad that people look at an M.S as a means to enter United States. It is more of an oppurtunity to learn about a new country, the teaching, some new academic courses and invest in outself. More than the academic content, I feel the total atmosphere is what is worth its value.

  30. I’ve a CGPA of 8.59
    class 12: 84%
    class 10: 85%
    I’ve passed out in 2011,I’ve a good final year project which was also published as a paper.
    I’m currently employed with a reputed IT firm in India. My question is will my work experience help in doing MS. What kind of universities can I expect to get admission in US?I’m a B.Tech in computer science, will like to go for an MS in computer science in US . Please help.

    • Your CGPA is good.

      US universities look for overall performance of students and not on single aspect. After you apply for MS in US, they will look for following:
      1. Your grades
      2. Research work/paper published/open source contribution
      3. GRE Score
      4. Work Experience (don’t count on this though)(but certainly help, say 20% if you apply for MS in CS or MS in SE or MS in MIS as you are working in IT firm).

      You can get admitted to Harward or even Stanford if you are strong in all 4 points above.

      • Hi,
        I’ve a paper which I presented at a seminar for IEEE and it was published through the portal at my college.
        I’m currently working at one of the top 3 ranked IT firms in India and if I make it to US for my MS I should have an experience of 2 years by then. Kindly let me know what you think of my profile.

  31. Hey Kumar,

    Read your post and I must thank you for all the information and analysis. Many people may agree, many may disagree to your analysis, but the summary is clearly out : Life is not easy if you are just thinking of making money fast by doing a MS in US.
    As far as my case goes: I am a Mechanical Engineer with decent grades and an IT experience of close to 4 years with an Indian IT giant.I was thinking about the option of doing a MS in CS from US, since my H1B through my company is taking ages to get processed.I have loads of interest in what I am doing now and would want to pursue MS for being in a better shape in my field of interest.But saving money and going for a MBA from US is my larger goal.
    Having said that, can you suggest if going for a MS with 4 yrs of exp can be rewarding, are the chances of getting a job better with a higher relevant experience. I do have some certifications to my credit.Will wait for your reply.

  32. what you said all about is not at all exactly right dear
    the salary for a student after completing ms is 4000$ only
    don’t fool others know about it properly and submit
    its all our student lives

  33. Hello guys. I am looking forward to do MS in Mech.Engg. I’ve been reading your articles for a while,
    which are very instructive and useful, but the picture doesn’t look optimistic and I am starting to have second thoughts.
    I would very much appreciate information on following queries I’ve in my mind.

    1. How is the job scenario in US? Are students able to get jobs after MS?
    Do universities conduct campus interviews by inviting companies or students
    have to find jobs on their own?

    2. How much is the average pay after MS? People these days say that there is better pay
    in India than US. So, is it economical to go to US or to stay in India? may I know the difference in
    salaries of a person working in US & that in India? (Starting salaries & increments as one goes on gaining experience)

    3. How many years does it take just to clear the debts supposing one had to raise money by
    taking a loan?

    4. Is there any effect of recession on core engineering fields? Would it get better in coming two or three years?

    Detailed information would be very much appreciated.
    Any E-Mail IDs of people currently studying or doing jobs in US would be most helpful.Thanks.

  34. hi, i m doing B.E(Comp Sci & Engg), i will pass out this year….
    I m looking to do MS in US ..
    i want 2 knw wht is the maximum overall cost needed to do MS program in US without any scholarship??
    assuming my MS pass out year as 2013..
    & wht is the minimum ROI(savings) per month after getting job in US of around 50,000$ p.a???

  35. Hii..
    i am working in a MNC(3.15L p.a, 1 yr work-x). I am planning for MS in comp. science
    in North Dakota Sate Uiversity,Fargo. how are the future prospects after passing out from there (can i consider $50000 to be an aveage sal for this university).
    also i am in a dilemma of whether to go for MS in US or MBA in india.If i manage to get full scholarship for MS,which would be a better option to go with.
    Money is the most imp factor here, as i have engineering loan to clear and other financial responsibilities to come in near future.

  36. Well I hate when ppl do this, but when I saw your article I had to comment against it. At the outset I am sorry, but I believe your calculations are wrong. If a student, with a $40,000 loan from India can only save $1000 per month, there is something wrong. Here are few things I would like to point out:

    I will assume a student gets out of college on December 2010. He will be in OPT till May 2013 (after 17 month extension). His tax will not be 33%, but rather 17-18% including state tax. Those paying SS and medicare(which brings the tax to 33%) need to remove them from their check. (Then if you transfer to H1B in May 2013, well lets say you will be earning at least 60k which will counter the increase in taxes. If you are earning 50k even after 27 months, get away from that consultant.) So assuming that a MS makes $50,000 or $4150 per month, here is the break up:

    1) Tax: $4150 – $700 tax = $3450

    Living expenses: Again those spending 1700 in my opinion is a bit high and can be reduced. $400 for room (live with an extra person, reduce the cost)+ $200 (for a decent car lease). Let us add $700 for grocery + utilities. Add 150 for insurance, total comes up to $1450.

    2) Living expenses: $3450 – $1450 = $2000.

    This should be figure everyone except those in Bay Area should be aiming for. I still think my figure can be hiked by couple of hundreds. But, this should be an achievable figure.

    Now, $40,000 is again a very high figure. Tuition is all fine. But, why can’t ppl coming here work? Lets not talk scholarships, lets talk on-campus jobs which fetch $7/hr. Few work illegally, I cannot advise for it. I recently graduated from a private college (hence costlier) from Chicago (not as costly as NYC, not very cheap either) my loan availed is 13 lakhs or $28000 at today’s rate. It was not an impossible feat. Not something I display proudly, but, I am responsible for the loan and that is why I spent efficiently. And what about one year CPT. Utilize it to gain something. I was working as a consultant at $11/hr during CPT. But, that still came to $1500 per month (after taxes) or $18000 per year during CPT. You can pay for a couple of credit. If you sit back relax or don’t plan, you will be paying for the relaxation right?

    As for as the ROI is concerned, yours is valid for the first one / two years while you are paying off the loan. Then 17.5 pc increase does matter. What about the investment you make from the 17.5 percent? I am investing LIC in India as part of my investment plan. Why not maximize your ROI?

    I am not advising everyone to come here. It is getting harder. Just thought when I could do certain things with the payscale you suggested, my friend could do it without suffering and in a very shorter span of time, then those who cannot, need to sit down and go through their expenses on sites like Mint.com, plan budgets, set goals and achieve them.

  37. please suggest me how to compete in good universities of us .My cgpa is 7.8/10 (78%).
    I got 81.4 % in 10th (in 2004) and 75.1%(in 2006) in 12th . i don’t hav good project.I will finish my graduation in may 2011.I am placed in patni computers right now.Tell me the average score needed for getting admission in good universities of U.S.
    Is there any racial discrimaination.

    • Pankaj,
      I think you have decent CGPA…. What do you plan to apply ? MS or MBA ?
      No, there will not be any such discrimination for admission.

  38. Hi,

    I am ready to live close to poverty just to repay my loan…. 1000$ per month savings is not enough… I hope to save more than 2000$, only then can I repay my loan… I wont buy any car and I wont eat outside… I will share apartments, no luxury spending… also try to get a job in semi urban areas…. (not NY or california), may be try to get a job in states without state taxes…

    • Hi,

      I am ready to live close to poverty just to repay my loan…. 1000$ per month savings is not enough… I hope to save more than 2000$, only then can I repay my loan… I wont buy any car and I wont eat outside… I will share apartments, no luxury spending… also try to get a job in semi urban areas…. (not NY or california), may be try to get a job in states without state taxes…

  39. Dear kumar ,
    Im soooo happy with the above information provided by you, speaking frankly words are not enough to express my happiness about the help that you have done to me unknowingly by providing the above information.keep up the good work sir.

  40. You have written about not getting returns if a student has taken a loan,however are your views similar when a student goes for his/her MS with a full scholarship? Please let me know, I think a full scholarship will make his pay grade much higher than any Indian Company pays him…

  41. As you have pointed correctly, things change drastically if you study and/or work in Manhattan, New York or in downtown of big cities.

    Rent will be extremely high. Groceries are expensive. In addition, since there will be so many dining and partying options, you will spend more frequently, and you will spend more since prices will be higher. But commuting will be a lot cheaper as you won’t need a car – so no monthly payment for car, auto insurance, gas etc. You just need city transportation subway/bus pass or tokens. Generally speaking, jobs in New York, anyways, have a slightly higher pay to take the expenses into account. However, you will end up saving lesser than your friends in other small cities/towns. Your lifestyle will be a lot hectic and socially active.

  42. Kumar ,
    you are really writing from the heart. after reading this article on pay out to MS degree holder, the studies looks no good. 33% as a tax on your earnings
    nothing is left,then why should one study MS,?
    Can you throw some light on this please

  43. i got mba as my final aim but i want to do it from the top b schools like wharton, harvard or sloan(mit). but these demand a good job experience. so for that i have decded that i could do ms in computer science and get the job experience say for about 6 years and then apply. doing so i not only increase my chances of getting in but also might be able to fund my education. can you suggest something..

    • Well, I do not think there is need to do MS in CS if you plan to do MBA. You can just work for 5 years and then apply to these Business schools directly for MBA. I think that 2 years of MS can be a waste of time (just as it happened to me). Only thing you have to plan is how to finance your education, MBA from these schools is very expensive…

    • Hey man in which world are you living? These statistics are for overall graduates i.e.- arts, humanities, etc. Consider this fact that most of the students from India go for Engineering for their MS and for CS graduates(freshers starting salary is 70-80k and almost same for EE graduates and these 2 are the most preferred fields of doing MS by Indian students. You think those people are mad who go to MS leaving their country and decent salary behind. They go their for money primarily. For a person earning 70k, there are 25% federal taxes and rest state taxes. Most pay around 30% in taxes so 21k in taxes and around 1000USD for decent living per month so net savings is- atleast 35000 USD. Wake up to the reality. You know only one route to get the job- Consultants but in reality if you are form a decent top 50 university in your field in USA u get a job via applying online on your own. Please don’t generalize things based on examples from Consultants suffering people. I know a heck lot of people working in – Dell, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, etc after graduating from USA. I too am leaving admits from new IIMs, MDI and going for MS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station. So stop scare mongering and get your facts straight.

  44. Please help me, i got job in MNC (CSC) with 3.75L(anum)package and also applied for MS computer science got i-20’s from universities(average universities) in US.
    now please suggest me which one should i take JOB or MS in US.or is it better to go for MS or MBA after some experience.

  45. @ author
    It was an eye opener.I got admits for MIS (management and information systems) from kelley business school(indiana bloomington) ,eller(arizona-tucson)and syracuse,is it worth investing on MIS? Which university should i select for best returns?

    • I cannot really recommend a particular school without proper information as I am not up to date on the Universities info. MIS is a good degree, if your careers paths are as listed in the article : http://redbus2us.com/careers-of-ms-in-mis-vs-cs-computer-sciences-in-usa-mis-careers/


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