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A way to get MS Computer Science for FREE

That's kind of what I'm predicting... lol. Soon, MFE programs will end up just like law schools. Once people realize that the ROI is very poor, these programs will either close down or slash prices as a result of low enrollment.

Often the margin isn't there to cut prices -- it gets gobbled up in salaries whose recipients will take it amiss if they get paid less. And secondly it's not some commodity like handbags or shoes where you can announce "Sale! 30% Off! Hurry!" Reducing prices will rightly raise suspicion that the program is performing poorly. I know one program that uses as its selling point how affordable and inexpensive it is. Yet this itself should raise suspicion -- why are they advertising this rather than placement rates and salary levels? The other scenario -- where the program quietly shuts its doors -- is more plausible. And I think this is what will happen.
I have never experienced or read about tuition reduction. Tuition is set at the university-wide level, not like the director of an MFE program can do much to lower it.
As far as programs shutting down, I know of exactly one program, New School's Global Finance that was closed after the death of its director, the famous Salih Neftci.
So here are two ideas that hold merit:

1. Get admitted to a school that offers me masters program fully funded.
2. Or, get funded through my employer to get a masters part-time.

A fully funded master program is difficult to find. The reason you get fully funded in your program is because you work for your department/advisor (i.e., you provide enough values). A master student isn't that valuable as a worker, since he needs most of his 1.5-2 years finishing his own study (instead of doing research or teaching courses for his department).

In other words, no free lunch. PhDs usually get funded because they are like 5-year contract workers: they need 1.5-2 years to fullfill their course requirements, but other than that, they are basically full-time researchers / teaching assistants.
I don't know of any CS masters programs in the US that are funded, but Canada has a few. What I've seen for CS is that a masters is usually considered a terminal degree (some schools will offer thesis or non-thesis option for masters), and the program says that if your goal is a PhD to apply directly to PhD program.

This is basically what you want to do: apply and get accepted in a CS PhD program (from what I've seen, department will fund your first year and after that whatever research project you're on funds you), complete roughly 2-3 years or until you complete all masters requirements, then "decide" that the PhD isn't for you and dropout with your masters to find a job.
2 things to think about:
1- You're not the only materialistic freerider; a lot before you thought of this, tried this, and probably succeeded, which means professors are now aware of people like you and have experience identifying them.
2- Professors usually have good connections to the industry and if they believe you fooled them they will make sure your reputation is tarnished appropriately.
3- If you get admitted, you are consciously and knowingly taking the spot of someone who truly wanted this and worked hard for it.

From the looks of it you don't care about right & wrong, so like I said earlier you only have 2 things to think about.
This one's better "think about it, I could spend $70 at a really, really nice restaurant 1,000 times with the money earned/saved."

Our friend seems to have difficulty facing this trade-off: Higher education VS. 1,000 dine-outs

More computer science courses? or more fish & shrimps? Sometimes you have to make these tough decisions yourself ;) Research your options carefully...grab a couple of course catalogs and food menus and go with your gut (literally).
I dont get why everyones giving you such a tough time about this Jim - If you want to do it, do it. You yourself have mad it clear that you might want to pursue a PHD before, so by doing this you open up both options. There is a good chance you'll decide to continue on and finish the PHD. And if you realise that a PHD is not for you, you graduate with a masters.
You're not being unethical at all- if your marks and resume are competitive enough to get in - then you deserve to do what's best for you.


It's only a matter of time they'll slash the sticker price. The market for MFE programs will undergo some corrections within the next decade.

When central banks raise interest rates, the party will be over for banks.

So, a decade is a bit long in my opinion.

My guess is 2 to 3 years max.
I don't see anything morally wrong with what Jim is proposing. He may have to think through the funding - if it will be coming from an advisor then he will have to make an effort to get into research alongside the coursework.

I know in my PhD program the first year was basically paid for by the department so you could get by without doing anything but coursework. By the start of the second year you had to find an advisor to sign off on the funding - and that meant showing real enthusiasm for research.