$7000 for an accredited MS degree is a killer deal man. You rather be in student debt for some help from some ivory tower?
$7000 is a killer deal, and that is the main appeal for me. I've never been the kind of person that thinks it's necessary to spend 50k+ a year because the school is well known. Plus, I've already done quite well learning on my own, so I'm not worried about understanding the material on my own. However the ability to have intelligent and enlightening discussions with experts in their field is something that can be of very high value to those that take advantage of the opportunity. A meaningful connection with a faculty member you admire can be really great, I think, but is of course not the be-all and end-all. I appreciate the input. I am still very interested in applying to this program, but would still like to get some additional insight.
*EDIT* In retrospect, I should have given this thread a better title than "viable option".