Eric is a Queen's cohort and gives a balanced list of the pros and cons in deciding on an MFA. There are plenty of ways to improve your writing outside of academia, and also less costly ways to do so. In summary, he writes:
What it really comes down to is this: What do you get from an MFA program?
- Time to work on your writing. (Motivation)
- Focused learning. (Increased skill/Growth of your art)
- Deadlines and expectations. (Motivation, Experience)
- Work with other writers. (Community, Opportunity, Networking)
- Experience taking and giving constructive, helpful criticism. (Feedback)
- A degree. (Credentials, Opportunity)
There are other ways to achieve the first four (if you are dedicated and focused) but the fifth one is where an MFA program sets itself apart.