When it comes to choosing a graduate school, nearly 9 in 10 students place a priority on quality and convenience rather than cost.
Those were the findings from a recent report by student loan provider Sallie Mae. The company performed an online poll of 1,597 graduate students from May to July.
Eighty-six percent selected their school based on quality and convenience, assigning top value to a school's prestige, its academic program and flexible coursework.
Only 12 percent picked their school based on the financial aid package and the annual cost of attendance.
"There are people who are very interested in focusing on a top program: that the school has a good reputation and specializes in your area of study," said Marie O'Malley, senior director of consumer research at Sallie Mae.
"On the other hand, there are older students who are part time and have established their lives," she said. "Many of them are choosing a school that is close to home. They're still working and focused on the convenience and location."
The typical graduate student spent $24,812 on their education in the 2016-17 school year, Sallie Mae found. More than half of that amount — $13,151 — came from borrowing.