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U of Pitt or Drexel for Software Engineering?

MethodmanMethodman Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
I'm preparing for transfer from community college, and I'm decided whether I should choose to attend University of Pittsburgh or Drexel for a degree in Software Engineering. Pitt's degree is a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science with a focus in Software Engineering, while Drexel's is a Bachelors of Science in Software Engineering. To attend Pitt, I would have to move away and live off campus, while at Drexel I could continue living at home. When you take into account living expenses and average gift awarded for financial aid (found here: University of Pittsburgh Tuition, Costs and Financial Aid - CollegeData College Profile), then the prices are quite comparable.

While researching, I've found that USNews ranked Pitt #58 and Drexel #88 for National Universities. I'm not sure how reliable this site is, but at Best Computer Science Universities in Pennsylvania - Top Computer Science Colleges and Schools
Pittsburgh is ranked one spot above Drexel.

My question to you, internet, is which one should I choose? From what I'm seeing from those rankings, I should choose Pitt, but my parents don't really want me to move away...
Post edited by Methodman on

Replies to: U of Pitt or Drexel for Software Engineering?

  • lynxinsiderlynxinsider Registered User Posts: 1,279 Senior Member
    One thing I'd check with both schools is how your CC credit will transfer. If one will offer credit towards core curriculum requirements and/or major requirements, that will be a huge plus. If the CC credit will only be transferred over as "electives", then it's going to be very, very hard for you to graduate on time. The extra year(s?) will be expensive.

    Another thing: if you're going to be burning up the turnpike driving back and forth between Philly and Pittsburgh, budget for hitting at least one deer a year. I say that half-jokingly, but the transportation costs are real.
  • ArKhAiKArKhAiK - Posts: 900 Member
    I'd say Pitt. It's good to get away from home and actually is cheaper. Pitt = 25k (including room/board), Drexel = 35k (w/o room/board).
  • MethodmanMethodman Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Initially I was leaning towards Pitt because I didn't think I could afford Drexel, but then I took a second look and found the following:

    Drexel
    Tuition and Fees: $34,405
    Average Need-Based Gift: $13,204
    Net cost: $21,201

    Pitt
    Tuition and Fees: $16,132
    Average Need-Based Gift: $9,490
    Living expenses: $500 rent/mo + food + utilities = Estimate of $10,000 per year
    Net cost: $16,642

    So as you can see, the prices are comparable, and with Pitt it's not only cheaper but I get the true college experience of moving away from home.
    BUT!
    I don't really care much about the "college experience". I guess it'd be plus, but what I care most about is choosing a school that employers in my prospective field respect nationally. I've read that Drexel isn't very well known if you stray away from the East Coast, and I very well could end up relocating sometime down the road...
  • lynxinsiderlynxinsider Registered User Posts: 1,279 Senior Member
    For what it's worth, once you have some professional experience in software engineering, where you went to school isn't going to matter any more; just that you went to school. I would dismiss that concern in your deliberations.

    I don't know Pittsburgh, but is $500/month rent realistic, even with a roommate? Does Pitt provide an estimate of room and board expenses for students not living on campus?

    Don't assume that you will get the average need-based award. Use the net price calculators at the school to get a better picture of your actual net cost at each school.
  • sacchisacchi Registered User Posts: 2,133 Senior Member
    You can't assume that your financial aid will match the averages. Apply to both schools, find out what your financial aid package at each school is, and then make the decision.

    Drexel has a coop program that tends to make students take longer than 4 years to graduate, but gives good internship experience. For both schools you should look into what credits will transfer and how long it will take you to finish your degree, and weigh that into the decision.
  • rixrix Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    Sacchi is right, you can't assume you will get the average financial award. But you can learn quite a bit about the relative generosity of the schools by looking at the financial aid statistics which are available at University of Pittsburgh Tuition, Costs and Financial Aid - CollegeData College Profile and Drexel University Tuition, Costs and Financial Aid - CollegeData College Profile

    Drexel meets 56% of need on average and fully met the need of 31.3% of undergrads.
    Pitt meets 76% of need on average and full met the need of 41.1% of undergrads.
    What This Means: Drexel students have more unmet financial need (that's money that has to come out of your pocket one way or another).

    At Drexel, 73% of students took out loans, and the average indebtedness at graduation is not reported (which could itself be a bad sign).
    At Pitt, 63% of students took out loans, and the average indebtedness at graduation was $26,612. I would be very surprised if Drexel's figure was lower than that.

    I couldn't find Drexel's debt figure anywhere, but I did see an 2010 article from Forbes that said Drexel had the HIGHEST student debt of ALL colleges.

    "But it's typically not the graduates of the most selective colleges who pay the highest prices to attend. Students at Drexel University, a science-heavy school in Philadelphia, incur the most debt: an average of $53,432 for graduates of 2004-2008, according to data compiled for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a partner in Forbes' annual college rankings. "
    Deep In Debt - Forbes.com

    Whether your own cost to attend will be lower at Pitt vs Drexel will depend on your family's financial circumstances, but unless you are very low income, it's likely that Pitt will cost you less.

    At Pitt, the four-year graduation rate is 60.9%. Five-year is 76.1% Six-year is 78%
    At Drexel, the four-year rate isn't on COLLEGEdata, but I looked it up at NCES (government) web site. It's 23%. The six-year rate is only 67%.
    This is a huge factor. There is no way for there to be an up side to a lower graduation rate. More years to graduate means higher cost.

    Drexel may still be the right school for you, but it's important to be aware of potential issues and hidden costs. I would definitely follow up with Drexel about the graduation rates and indebtedness of students in the program you're interested in.

    Good luck!
  • sacchisacchi Registered User Posts: 2,133 Senior Member
    ^ Drexel's 4-yr graduation rate is so low because so many students participate in co-ops. I think they don't pay tuition while they are on co-op. So, don't assume that a longer time to graduate necessarily means higher costs.

    Still, rix's data above regarding debt levels and amount of need met makes it likely that Drexel would involve more out-of-pocket costs than Pitt.
  • wgmcp101wgmcp101 Registered User Posts: 939 Member
  • PennquackPennquack Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    I've read that Drexel isn't very well known if you stray away from the East Coast,

    To be honest, Drexel isn't known that well outside of the Philadelphia area. Not that it is a bad school, it just is small and relatively under the radar.
  • whydoicarewhydoicare Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    I see where you found Pitt's average need-based gift stated as $9490, but that doesn't sound right. I would not count on that.
This discussion has been closed.