1. Have you explored all of the angles at scholarship at booth? I know there are a few options i.e. Polsky Center has one.
2. Did you apply only to one school?
3. If it were Harvard, would you have the same reservations?
I have to admit, that's tough to have a debt burden of that size. Not impossible (but it is pretty much a mortgage in most places).
When calculating, I would take out the $60K from your equation since that's not going anywhere and your living expenses should probably be "fixed" too. They are higher in Chicago than in Pittsburgh but there is still a good chunk of them, so let's say 60K is another fixed amount. So your burden from Booth is only $120K
It is probably a bit too late to get money in top 30 or top 20 school (you can try though) for R3
I would say that the difference of MBA vs. BA is magnitude higher than Top 30 MBA vs. Top 5 MBA.
Can you pull together an application in 2 weeks? Most deadlines are around April 15th. all-mba-deadlines-for-157075.html..
. probably tough to do that and get the money (which usually scholarship funds are pretty dry by this time, but still holding). If you can pull it off and get an admit from a top 20 or 30 school it is worth a shot. I don't know your capacity but looking at your score (schools sometimes try to woo high scoring individuals which helps them with rankings), your chances for a scholarship at this point are about average.
If you are thinking about applying next year, then I would suggest against it. You are making $55K which is not bad but after Booth you will be making 2x that (well, 1.5x since taxes will be a lot more). Usually waiting a year is not worth it to go through the whole exercise again, unless you enjoyed it.
Ultimately, business school application is a process that requires a lot of effort, faith and luck. It tests you where you are weakest and makes you a stronger person. The decisions you make are yours. People in your situation have gone to school and succeeded and people with much less debt failed.
1.) I have emailed admissions, and they stated they have already given out all of those scholarships/fellowships at this point.
2.) I applied to three other schools (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton) and was ultimately dinged by all of them.
3.) I don't think I would have this problem if it were Harvard since I know they provide need-based aid. Speaking with current Harvard students, I know I would receive a 30K need based scholarship a year.
I am definitely leaning towards just taking out the full-amount since Booth is a top 5 school. In addition, I'm thinking about trying out the consulting world for a few years. I'm just not sure if its manageable.