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Macaulay Honors at Hunter vs. 30k at Columbia?

kmk1994kmk1994 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited May 2012 in Columbia University
Hey guys, I was looking for some advice as decision day approaches. I just received my financial aid package from Columbia College today due to a few delays, and it amounted to a total parental contribution of 30k a year. Columbia's policy is to ignore any business losses in income, so in their calculations, they assume my family makes 80k more than reality. Unable to negotiate with policy, I have a difficult decision ahead of me: Accepting a free ride and free housing at Hunter Honors or paying 30k at Columbia while someone else with technically the same income paying about 10k. I plan on attending graduate school, and I can get into just as prestigious a graduate school from Hunter Honors. What is your advice?
Post edited by kmk1994 on

Replies to: Macaulay Honors at Hunter vs. 30k at Columbia?

  • DramamineDramamine Registered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    Are your parents able to pay the $30k without difficulty? Also will you have to take out any loans?
  • kmk1994kmk1994 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    My parents will undoubtedly undergo financial strain while trying to pay $30k, but I do not think I will have to take out loans. Do you think it is worth it, even if my income and graduate school will most probably be a constant no matter which of these two I choose? Columbia was my dream school, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the free ride and additional perks associated with Macaulay Honors.
  • DramamineDramamine Registered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    I'm obviously a little biased because I'm going to MHC at hunter next year, but I really don't think it's worth the financial burden to go to Columbia. You can always go there for grad school. MHC definitely wasn't my first choice but I just cannot bring myself to turn down a debt-free education AND free housing in manhattan AND all the other things.
  • madie0126madie0126 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    My friend had a similar problem as you, she had to choose between going to Cornell but having to pay more because of dorming or fordham which was cheaper because no dorming was involved and she would get a commute grant. she decided fordham was the way to go because what matters is graduate school and staying in the city, she can also transfer to a better school if she wants to later on.

    What matters are your future plans, if you are thinking of going to graduate school right after college, then Macaulay Honors should be fine, but if you are planning to take a small break and work, this is where Columbia would have an upper hand since it is well known and easier to get a job with. Since you say your parents shouldn't have to take out loans if you decided on Columbia, it is all your choice. Just know that ivy league isn't everything and you can transfer to Columbia later on if you want or for graduate school.
  • kmk1994kmk1994 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thank you for your great insight! I really appreciate it. The thing is, there are no guarantees that I will get into a prestigious medical school later on. Because Columbia was always my dream school and I was fortunate enough to get in, I'm having some trouble relinquishing this unique opportunity. I understand that at the end of the day, it won't matter where I went for undergrad, but I can't ignore the fact that this is a rare opportunity to interact with some great minds and renowned professors for the next four years. Although I know that my outlook on the prestige is immature, it is something I just can't ignore. I admit that it's unfortunate to let pride come in the way of such decisions, but I blame that (wrongfully) on an innate perception.
  • kmk1994kmk1994 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thank you for your great insight! I really appreciate it. The thing is, there are no guarantees that I will get into a prestigious medical school later on. Because Columbia was always my dream school and I was fortunate enough to get in, I'm having some trouble relinquishing this unique opportunity. I understand that at the end of the day, it won't matter where I went for undergrad, but I can't ignore the fact that this is a rare opportunity to interact with some great minds and renowned professors for the next four years. Although I know that my outlook on the prestige is immature, it is something I just can't ignore. I admit that it's unfortunate to let pride come in the way of such decisions, but I blame that (wrongfully) on an innate perception.
  • swingtimeswingtime Registered User Posts: 512 Member
    This is absolutely, now, a decision between you and your parents. You have stated why your heart remains with Columbia, your dream school. And your reasons for wanting to seize this opportunity are honestly communicated: prestige is a part of the equation. However, are these reasons worth $30,000.00 per year to your parents? If your parents say, "yes" then the decision is made. If they hesitate, or hedge, or hem and haw, you do have the opportunity to lessen their burden by taking on a small amount of loan indebtedness yourself: essentially banking on yourself. If you do not want to assume ANY part of the Columbia financial burden yourself -- say, $2,000 - $3,000 per year for four years -- then haven't you answered the question? In other words, this amount might be more easily justifiable for your parents if some small part of the burden is yours. Is a Columbia education, and all the opportunities that go with it, worth enough to you for you to leave with, let's say, $8,000.00 in debt that YOU assume? If it is not, go for the free ride, as you weren't willing to bank on yourself. And if you are not willing to bank even a small part on yourself, you probably should not expect your parents to bank everything on you, when another option is available. What is your dream worth to you? A token investment in yourself may send an extremely powerful signal to your parents! They may not require any loan indebtedness from you and may be willing to bankroll Columbia for you. But perhaps there is value in a SINCERE offer on your part, if money is the issue here. Again, what is a Columbia education worth TO YOU?
  • kmk1994kmk1994 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I just want to thank everyone for their amazing advice. With some compromises, I finally decided Columbia University, but I am very grateful for everyone's input and I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.
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