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UC Davis, prestige vs cost

silverdduesilverddue Posts: 10Registered User New Member
edited September 2012 in University of California - Davis
I have been accepted into UC Davis as an out of state undergraduate (from Hawaii). As you know, the cost for oos is steep (47k total with the entering UG scholarship). UC Davis is the best school I got into as far as rankings, prestige, and it seems like a good fit for me. My major is undeclared, but i'm leaning towards the sciences/engineering, which Davis is highly ranked in. The other school I'm considering is the University of Portland, which would only cost around 24k. They also have the majors of studies I want to pursue but isn't a highly recognized national institution like Davis.

I'm torn between these two schools. Both schools would provide a great education and experience. Davis would be the greater of the two but is it worth the jump when it comes down to prestige and cost.

My parents can pay for both schools (taking out huge loans for Davis, paying back over next 10+ years) but a 200k investment vs a 100k investment is definitely something I'm taking into consideration (middle class is tough). My parents are giving the final decision to me. I feel like both schools are great; U of Portland is great, but UC Davis is better but costs twice as much.

Where you go to college will probably set you up for the rest of your life. Which school would be more reasonable and the better value when it comes down to cost, opportunities, and quality of education?
Post edited by silverddue on
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Replies to: UC Davis, prestige vs cost

  • alwaysleahalwaysleah Posts: 2,737Registered User Senior Member
    Go to Portland. College is what you make of it. There is no good reason to put your family in that much debt.
  • silverdduesilverddue Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    I want to go to UC Davis but is it worth the investment?
  • andrewt29andrewt29 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    You're going into engineering so out of Davis you'll make quite a bit of money when you graduate. I was told by a family friend that Silicon Valley companies recruit heavily out of Davis for those jobs (too bad I'm not interested in engineering).

    It's costly but you can help your parents by working while in school and taking out the loans yourself if they're subsidized by the government. Lower interest rates and interest doesn't start to accumulate until after you graduate.

    However, Portland is a great town (been there several times) and you can still make a lot of money and be successful if you work hard at it.
  • alwaysleahalwaysleah Posts: 2,737Registered User Senior Member
    If you're going into engineering, it makes Portland an even clearer choice. Pay rates for engineering are relatively flat regardless of which school you graduate from.

    You cannot simply work and take out subsidized loans to deal with 200k in debt. As a freshman, you are allowed 5,500 in subsidized loans. That's it. You could earn 3-10,000 a year working part time. That's not even close to your expenses. Realize that these loans won't go away. You'll have interest, too. You will have to wait to buy a house, save for retirement, have a family, etc. If it is your parents taking on the loans, it could topple their retirement. Unless you family can pay the 200k outright, you should not go to UCD.

    If you are set on a UC, go to community college (either at home or in CA) and transfer in two years. You'll save money and have the same degree.
  • alxz310alxz310 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I would go to Portland simply on the basis that its not worth the insane amount of loans even if Davis has more prestige. Like another poster said, what matters is you, not how highly ranked the college is
  • silverdduesilverddue Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    I can see myself going to either one of these schools and still have a great experience but you never know what the end result will be (which makes it tough and exciting). Both schools have the programs I want to study, but Davis is more academically challenging, prestigious, and is superior in research and opportunities.

    U Portland would be that regular public school that can satisfy your needs but UC Davis in comparison is like that expensive private school with better quality, facilities, resources, student body, etc. It's just that on the college level, there's a 100k difference between the two.

    I feel like going to UC Davis would be the greater opportunity but U of Portland would be me the more comfortable situation in terms of finance and study (less weight on my shoulders and parents). This is a really tough decision for me because the pros/cons from each school balance each other out. Is it worth 100k more to go to UC Davis or would it be more reasonable to go to U of Portland?
  • JeSuisJeSuis Posts: 1,929Registered User Senior Member
    I would recommend U of Portland. UC Davis is not worth $100,000.
  • alwaysleahalwaysleah Posts: 2,737Registered User Senior Member
    UCD is not worth even close to 200,000. It's not even that prestigious. Go to Portland and never look back. You will be able to find everything you need at Portland.

    Do you realize how much money $200,000 is? That's 20 years of paying $1,000 a month (rough estimate including interest). If you graduate Davis and make a salary of $60,000 as an engineer, you will take home about $48k after taxes. Then, you will have to pay a quarter of it to your student loans for TEN YEARS. Think about retirement savings, your future children's educations, down payment on a house, etc. Things come up. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend an extra 100k than on a marginally better school that doesn't provide a single thing that can't be found at Portland.

    You cannot get subsidized loans for this kind of money. The interest would be insane. Your quality fo life would be lower. You can go to Portland and make THE EXACT SAME SALARY. There is no contest here, the choice should not be difficult at all. Don't be a wage slave until you're 45.
  • cahsparentcahsparent Posts: 334Registered User Member
  • silverdduesilverddue Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    I have done a considerable amount of research on both of these schools. I wish I could have visited at least one of these campuses to gain a greater perspective because my view is mostly based on websites, reviews, videos/photos, counselors, and people.

    This is why it is difficult for me to make a clear decision. If I choose to go to Univ of Portland, I get to save 100k but it would feel like I would be missing out on a greater opportunity. If I go to Davis, it would be the better school (in all areas) but my financial situation and expectations will weigh heavily throughout my college years and thereafter.

    My parents encourage me to go to the better institution and not look at the cost. (mostly because their dream is for me to go to college and choose the best place possible; but, a 100k difference cannot be ignored.) They would have to borrow a 200k loan and pay back over the next 15+ years but they are more than willing to. I want to go to UC Davis, I have my parents support, but is it a viable option? I do not want to carry such a heavy load and make the investment when I am not 100% sure if it actually is the better option. Univ of Portland also provides the majors I want to study, but the quality of education (from a rankings standpoint/prestige), facilities, student body, and research opportunities is not on the level of UC Davis; again, from a rankings standpoint.

    To help clarify and better compare these two schools, does anyone have greater insights on the University of Portland (there's not as much information on UoP as UC Davis) and the quality of education, classes, student body, facilities, post grad/job, etc.
  • Inquiringmind2Inquiringmind2 Posts: 623Registered User Member
    I am an older transfer student who will be going to UC Davis in the fall. I have a daughter who recently graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland (15 minutes form U of P) and she had been accepted to University of Portland when she was applying to colleges. My younger daughter is a senior at UCLA and will be graduating in about 6 weeks. So I have been to both school you are looking at and have daughters, one who attended a smaller liberal arts school (Like U of P) and one at a huge UC, and since I will be gong to UC Davis I have visited there as well.

    A smaller, private liberal arts school will be very different from a big public UC. Aside from the financial aspects of this decision, and the supposed prestige, and not saying one is better than the other for you, think about what type of school you would feel more comfortable at. Where would you be happier? I ask this because my daughter at UCLA would have never, in a million years have gone to a small private school. She wanted big, big, big. Big school spirit, big football games, big international reputation, thousands of potential new friends. She is a self starter, extremely outgoing and nothing intimidates her. Her class sizes have been 20 - 300. In the end, UCLA was the right choice for her.

    My older daughter, who graduated from the smaller, private school in Oregon never, in a million years would have gone to any UC, she did not even apply to any UCs (and we are CA residents). She wanted a smaller school. Where she would get to know her professors as personal friends, where she could get every class she wanted on her first pass, where she could walk from one side to the other in no more than 10 minutes, where she would feel at home and comfortable. She needed (and got) personal attention, hand holding, and also a top notch education with class sizes between 10 and 40.

    UC Davis is a huge school with about 25,000 undergraduates. It is very pretty, in a small rural feeling city (very close to Sacramento and an international airport), and the student body is extremely diverse. About 55% females, 45% males. Many, many students from other countries and out of state. You will have to be a self starter, confident, outgoing and willing to search for what you need.

    University of Portland is a private, Catholic, liberal arts university with about 3,500 undergraduates. 60% female, 40% male. There is a religious aspect to the college and you will have to take some religion classes but beyond that you do not have to be involved in the religious activities. Much less diversity. Meaning most students will be white. You will get much more personal attention, walk to each class in under 5 minutes, get to know your professors very well, and will have smaller class sizes. It is 10 minutes to downtown Portland, a very vibrant, hip city. Kind of a smaller version of San Francisco. You are 15 min. from Portland international airport.

    While UC Davis may seem to have a more well known reputation, for just a few minutes stop thinking about the money and the prestige aspects of your decision. Which one of my kids sounds more like you? Each of them picked a very different school and I promise you they would have hated their sibling's schools. UCLA is a great school but my older daughter would have been extremely unhappy there. Too big, too impersonal, too overwhelming. Lewis & Clark is a fantastic liberal arts school but my UCLA daughter would have hated it! Too small, not challenging enough, not lively enough socially, no sororities, no big football games, etc. You get the idea. Think about what kind of person you are and where you think you would fit in better. To me this is WAY more important then prestige or cost. In the end, (I have said this so many times on College Confidential!) It is not the degree or the school that gets the job, IT'S THE PERSON! I may send you a private message with some other websites for you to check out. Sorry for the length of this post but everyone seems to be thinking of prestige and degree and not the fact that these two schools are extremely different in size, feel and vibe. BTW, have you posted this question on the University of Portland forum? Would be great to hear from some of those students or people more familiar with the school. I noticed the school website has a student blog thing and possibly a Facebook page. Good luck!
  • Inquiringmind2Inquiringmind2 Posts: 623Registered User Member
    Found this on another forum:

    I'm a current University of Portland freshman studying business (Entrepreneurship and Operations and Technology Management). We have an excellent program, the school is relatively small so it's great for building relationships and finding opportunities. For example, I've taken internship and resume building workshops, and next week I'll be traveling to Seattle to visit Amazon.com as part of the Entrepreneurship Club. There's also been chances to volunteer/work with Nike, which is not far from campus. As for academics, we have a P4 program, that helps students prepare for their careers, and we are required to maintain a portfolio the entire four years that we are here, which will be great when you're job hunting. I'm currently taking the professional development class, and it provides a ton of useful information. There's also an Introduction to Leadership class and an Internship course that are required as part of the program.

    With all that being said, I am considering transferring to Loyola Marymount, but only because I want to settle down in the LA area after I graduate from college. UP mostly has Pacific Northwest connections, (which isn't bad at all, I just don't envision myself living here afterwards). I chose LMU because it seems somewhat similar to UP, and it has an excellent business program as well. I hope this helps. (:
  • leo4557leo4557 Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    How about going to a community college for two years(cheaper), establishing residency and then transferring after 2 years. They teach the same thing and there are tons of community college in sillicon valley
  • cahsparentcahsparent Posts: 334Registered User Member
    As for establishing CA Residency, the requirements can be found here:

    UC Residence Policy http://www.ucop.edu/ogc/documents/uc-residence-policy.pdf
  • silverdduesilverddue Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    I wish I had visited one of these campuses but the deadline is May 1st and I hope to decide by this weekend. The schools are different in terms of large university vs small private but the pros/cons outweigh one another, if not the greater advantage to UC Davis. Either way I will have to adjust, it’s just to what situation. UC Davis is like the better version of Univ of Portland in every aspect (to what extent?): academically more prestigious, bigger name, faculty/network connections and opportunities to work in California in comparison to Oregon. If it was not about the money, UC Davis would be the clear choice. When I evaluated all of my colleges, Portland came up and could very well be the more reasonable decision.

    I have read many cases of students deciding between the cheap state school vs the large prestigious institution (I am not calling Portland the cheap state school or UC Davis the prestigious institution). As of now, I am trying to get the best comparison possible between UC Davis and University of Portland. I know a lot more about UC Davis than the Univ of Portland (not a lot of information on Portland that goes in-depth like Davis). I just need more reassurance about the Univ of Portland that goes past the academic majors available, size, and more about the opportunities available with a degree in Oregon, quality of education, quality of college. Is the extra cost worth it to attend <UC Davis> rather than <Univ of Portland>?

    From my stance now, Davis seems like the greater opportunity to get the more prestigious degree, job, and college experience, which is what I hope for from college; with the expense of paying a lot more than getting the same education from Portland, just without the brand name that could be the difference to my future career (undecided) and life. I know there is a considerable gap between these two schools after evaluating the situation. UC Davis is a great school. Just how good of a school is the Univ of Portland in comparison? Which school would be the greater bang for the buck?

    The 100k involved is definitely a huge factor, and it makes it even tougher on me that my parents are more than willing to pay for it (asian parents). They wouldn't have a second thought about the cost differential because they want me to go to the more prestigious school. By no means are we rich but as a middle class family with a steady income, taking out a 200k loan and paying back over the next 15+ years is something my parents can do (I can also help out too). I wouldn't be struggling too much on the investment but having the weight of a 200k loan is a difference that cannot be ignored. I just want to make the mature and best decision possible. Under these circumstances, I control my own destiny.

    Without the perspective of being on any of the campuses, it is difficult for me to confidently pick the school I like more, that's why I am trying to get as much input and insight from other sources to clear things up.
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