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When is it worth paying a premium for a "dream" school?

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Replies to: When is it worth paying a premium for a "dream" school?

  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 27,499 Senior Member
    Since you saw ho much she blossomed under the summer camp in 3 weeks, having her attend the less expensive school would make those types of activities possible since she wouldn't always have to worry about earning money every summer to pay toward college expenses and tuition. I'd urge her to choose the debt-free education, for her AND you folks. There's always grad school, upgrading instruments and a host of other expenses to consider.
  • paize038paize038 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    You guys are all thinking the same way I am. I'm such a numbers-driven person, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something important from the more emotional side. I was especially thinking the exact same thing as Hlmom above - if she goes to YSU, then she'll have less stress, more time to practice, more money and time for supplemental experiences such as camps/private lessons/internships, more flexibility to explore interests during and after graduation...etc. I'd absolutely love to see her go to the place that nurtures her passion for the 4 years of college, but would HATE to see that passion wither afterwards because she has to struggle for the next 10 years paying for that program. Seems to me that there are more options to nurture the passion for the 4 years of a less expensive college than the 10 years after a more expensive one if she has to knock herself out paying for it.
  • hannuhyluhannuhylu Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    edited April 4
    My wife and I combined had over 130K in student loans and still have 40K left lol. Student loans do not scare me, but essentially the same education for a extra 50K+ does.

    Can you put a price on your kids happiness or your own? Some people buy fancy cars, others boats, what about 20k vacations to Europe for 3 weeks? Or 4 years at a college?

    There is no right or wrong answer here, but logically as others have said it isn't worth it that is for sure. Life is all about choices and we only get our kids once, so good luck!

    If the cost was truly split 27k is nothing like 300/mo or so, but for 10 years, so financially is it worth it? No, but is 4 years of being unhappy worth saving 500/month?

    Hope you guys find the right choice!!
  • LeafyseadragonLeafyseadragon Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Wow - @Old_parent That was extremely helpful! Thanks so much for sharing that.
  • bclintonkbclintonk Registered User Posts: 7,151 Senior Member
    It's like any other luxury good: if you want it and would enjoy it and can afford it, and there's nothing else you'd rather be doing with that money, then it's "worth it." I disagree with those who say categorically it's "not worth it" for a music degree. It might be, for some people.

    I've personally never found it to be "worth it" to buy a Mercedes or a BMW. I use my cars for transportation, not for pleasure or as a status symbol, and my Honda CR-V reliably serves my transportation needs for a fraction of the cost of some luxury models. But I wouldn't fault someone who buys a Mercedes or a BMW because they want, enjoy, and can afford one. It's a question of personal preferences, priorities, and individual financial circumstances. No one can answer the question for you.
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 311 Member
    I would caution against more debt for an educator. In addition to a large debt that she will have to pay on a teacher's salary, before she can get the debt paid off she will most likely be paying her own health insurance (and we all know how high premiums are becoming) and she will probably need a new car. She might even get married, buy a house and start a family. The emotional stress of trying to pay off debt could greatly impact her life in ways she hasn't considered. Plus, music programs are often the first to go in schools, so who knows what THAT future holds even if she does get a job straight out of school.

    BTW, looking at bclintonk's post (#20 above), a friend of mine owns a Lexus dealership. He told me to buy a Toyota because it has the exact same mechanics as a Lexus just with different packaging. If the education of both schools will get her what she needs in life, the rest is just packaging.
  • bearcatfanbearcatfan Registered User Posts: 205 Junior Member
    Depending on the state, she may need a master's degree within a certain time frame. While most education master's degrees are done a class here, a summer there, that still adds up. And a lot of teachers I know work at something else in the summer (bartending seems to be popular, lol). A debt-free undergrad degree would be a great start.

    My sister is a high school instrumental music educator, getting ready to retire this year. Her instrument is clarinet and she plays professionally, but she also plays flute at nearly the same level. She has had to fight against proposed budget cuts every year. Arts education is usually first on the chopping block, even if it state-mandated as it is in her state. She suspects that, after 30 years, they will eliminate her position once she retires.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,842 Senior Member
    It is a fair question and one only you and your family can answer. We find ourselves in a similar situation though with different schools and major.

    In our situation, dream school is a direct program entry year one with many small classes and field work immediately. Very good and would be fine school has 2 years of gen ed and larger but not necessarily huge classes. Dream school has dedicated advisor day one and better support services for ADHD. Very good school has offerings but it would be student driven versus a lot more early oversight.

    Grad rates are better at dream school as are early year internships and research but at the upper levels they equal out a bit.

    From an academic standpoint we all lean towards dream school setting my S on the best path for success early on. With his ADHD it could make a huge difference. But it comes at a price and one we haven't quite decided is worth it. We've offered a similar deal, matching the student federal loans with loans of our own.

    That amount of loan for us doesn't worry me, given our ages job security income retirement funds equity etc. It is a short term funding supplement (due to cash funding a chunk of the older two) that would be paid off early. I figure it's the car I never bought him to be honest.

    For my S, it's doable but yes could be tight for a few years and it is possible dream school may command a slightly higher starting salary though it may keep him from his dream work cities in the short term from a networking standpoint.

    If we can we would help him pay it off. It is likely that we can but I'm not telling him that.

    I managed to pay off my own student loans (which would be about 18k in today's dollars) within about 3 years with focused effort and my S has a similar discipline if he wants something badly enough (though 3 is unrealistic in his case). I'm not opposed to skin in the game to motivate good grades, graduating in time and finding employment quickly even if less than ideal (versus some I see who will not settle for less than the dream job).

    At the end of the day it will be his choice and we support it either way. He is aware of what he will give up (ability to study abroad, possible funds for grad school, matching funds for a car, zero stress if it takes longer to graduate due to a dual major, etc) and what it will mean in payments and resulting disposable income. I trust him to decide what is best for him.

    He also knows that very fine school is always a backup plan should he head to dream school and decide it's not worth the price tag. Transferring would be easy and relatively painless.

    Best of luck!
  • MissAliceMissAlice Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    If she were to go to the more expensive school, you should have a plan in place for her to live at home for 3 years ofter she graduates to put every bit of money toward paying sown her loan. After the 3 year period, if she can afford to, her independent life begins.
  • paize038paize038 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Wow - a LOT of fantastic feedback and perspectives!

    I am concerned about her stress level, as her health has been somewhat fragile the past few years (nothing earth-shattering, but she's often "very tired" and "doesn't feel well").

    Starting at BW, then transferring back to YSU would mean she'd lose the majority of her scholarships there. Transferring would save about $12k/yr instead of about $18k/year.

    Living at home after graduation is something we'd be OK with...but that assumes she would GET a job close enough for the commute. And there's no guarantee of that.

    She is aware of what she would give up if she went to BW - financial freedom at graduation, less requirement to work while in school = more time to practice/study and less stress, an upgraded instrument, opportunities for additional private lessons/masterclasses/study abroad, ability to upgrade housing during school, possible funds for grad school/car/life.

    She's coming around to the reality of the situation. She now refers to BW as her dream school, but YSU is the smart option. (Most) adults are very aware that many, MANY times you have to choose the Toyota even though your heart wants the Lexus. We know it sucks, but unless there's money burning a hole in your pocket, that's just that way it is. 18-yr-olds aren't practiced enough at making those decisions yet, so there's more mental anguish. But our job as parents is to guide our kids to be responsible adults, so it's a lesson that needs taught.

    It's hard to watch her struggle with it, getting so emotionally attached to BW all while knowing what the ultimate answer really needs to be. But we need HER to make the decision and figure out how to come to peace with it, even if she's not overjoyed. If we step in and MANDATE the decision, not only could she become resentful, but she'll lose that valuable practice of making an emotionally difficult choice.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 20,368 Senior Member
    I want to make it clear that for me the issue is debt, and only debt. I am the last person to devalue a music degree. If your family had the money to spare without loans, I'd say go for whichever program she prefers.

    If she were a performance major, and the choice was between Julliard and Youngstown, It might be a different story. But it isn't.

    I think you are handling this very well, and you are correct that SHE needs to make the decision and be prepared to live with it. Best of luck. :)
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 1,101 Senior Member
    My D wanted to be a teacher for years. She went to a 5 year program, where she earned an undergraduate degree in birth through 2nd grade and K through 6 with a concentration in music (not a credential to teach music). Her masters is in special ed. Since she went to a state school, I was able to put her through with no debt for either of us. After one year of teaching, she decided she hates it and doesn't want to be a teacher. If she had gone to one of the private schools we considered, she'd still be teaching to pay down the debt. While I am not thrilled about this state of affairs, it 's a lot easier to handle when I am not paying loans on a career she rejected. She is back on my health insurance, where she has another few months and then she's on her own. She is looking for work that she will enjoy and that will provide health insurance.

    NOBODY thought that MY daughter would be the one to quit teaching. She graduated her program magna cum laude, won many awards, was the only one recommended for a permanent placement by the supervisor of her student teaching and passed the new and harder state licensing exam with a very high score. Yet, here she is, not wanting to be a teacher.

    What if you spend the extra $62K (plus interest plus loss of the use of the money for other purposes) and your D decides teaching is not for her?
  • MissAliceMissAlice Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    You need a crystal ball to see into the future. Lacking that, I would lean a little more to where the sparkle and excitement are, if your dd can make it with the same instrument. The other option seems to be a bit of a continuation of high school life with the same teacher. It isn't the sensible approach though.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 7,283 Senior Member
    Have you posted this on the excellent music forum here on CC? There are many parents there who are familiar with music ed programs and could advise you.

    It sounds like you do have the money for your share, and she would have a $27k debt, which isn't that bad. I feel strongly she should consider BW. The importance of the level of peers can't be denied. Most schools provide some funding for summer programs and study abroad. And remember you won't be paying for lessons anymore.

    I am worried that this really isn't "her" decision. I would think she could sense your feelings. I would do everything possible to enable her to go to BW. There are many benefits to being at the sparkly school that go beyond education for music ed.

    And remember a music ed major is not locked in, even it that is their degree. It is a bachelor's and allows access to many other jobs, grad school and professional schools like med, law, nursing etc

    Please, for her sake, go on the music forum and ask there.
  • jmnva06jmnva06 Registered User Posts: 499 Member
    I don't see 27K in loans for her a a big deal. If the BW feels right then I'd say go for it.
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