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Is it wrong to not want to overpay?

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Replies to: Is it wrong to not want to overpay?

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yep, at some point, the extra you pay for for undergrad is really a luxury good.

    IMO, there are some degrees where the prestige of the school really makes a difference (MBA and JD), but to a large extent, assuming that you're smart (top 2 percentile) and driven (and if you are unhooked and can get in to an elite college, you pretty much have to be these days) and have good people (and strategic thinking) skills, if you want to make money, you will make money.
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  • collegedad13collegedad13 735 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    I agree overpaying is in the eye of the beholder. Also if you can afford 40k per year that’s what you should be paying. We all need to leave the free college for those who cant afford it . If we dont we are taking advantage of the truly needy students
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29249 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What is overpaying? If you have an opportunity to go to Harvard, want to go to Harvard, can afford to go to Harvard, does the fact that you have to fully pay when there are many students on financial aid, even full ride, turn your decision?

    I know folks in my area who just could not bear to pay for OOS public schools because they are paying so much more than most of their peers.

    But if you define “overpaying” as paying more than you can safely afford. That’s not a good idea most of the time.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 4
    @collegedad13:
    "We all need to leave the free college for those who cant afford it . If we dont we are taking advantage of the truly needy students."

    I have about as much trouble understand this viewpoint as I do if someone said that upper-middle-class families should spend a lot of money on a big house because if they decided to save money by getting a smaller older house that costs a fraction the amount, they are taking advantage of the poor.
    edited July 4
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  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 173 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    What does your daughter want? If the apple falls close to the tree, she'll likely be on the same page as you, which would be great. At the same time, if your daughter really wants to go to, say, Duke or Vanderbilt and you can comfortably afford to pay for it, I don't think that you're spoiling her or wasting your money by sending her there. Especially on CC, there's often a lot of pressure/judgement about choosing the cheapest school, chasing merit, etc....but still, there's a difference between paying 40K for college, which many people would consider a worthwhile investment, and paying 4K for a prom dress or a trip to Europe, which are usually considered luxuries.

    To me, it depends on how the money's distributed -- choosing a cheaper college is worth it if it means being debt-free or saving for Mom and Dad's retirement, but if it were a case of wealthy/upper-middle-class parents who could totally pay for their kid's college but just didn't want to, that might be a little "unfair." (I mean, if Bill Gates refused to pay for his children's tuition, that's unreasonable, IMO.) There's another thread where a student's EFC is 40K and her parents will only contribute 15K, so she can't even afford her state schools. Her parents have rental properties they won't sell because they want the money to travel and live the high life in retirement. Is it their right to make that choice? Sure, but it doesn't seem "fair" to me; that's like eating steak for dinner and feeding your kids chicken nuggets.

    It doesn't sound like OP is in that situation, though. You've raised your daughter frugally, which is great, so it's not like you're springing it on her out of the blue. My parents are the exact same way (except the 40K EFC, haha), and even if I sometimes hate it, I'm glad they raised me to value other things besides money. If I'd been dying to attend an expensive college, they would have found the money somewhere, but I wouldn't have wanted to choose a school that put them in that position.
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  • yikesyikesyikesyikesyikesyikes 1840 replies129 threadsForum Champion U. Michigan Forum Champion
    This is a tough choice and there is no "one size fits all" advice for it. Something to consider on the other side of things is that your daughter will most likely NOT be admitted to ANY allopathic med school (MD program - typically much easier to get the needed residencies/fellowships with a MD). That is just statistics and the truth. In the case she is not admitted to med school, or may want to do another program before med school (MPH, MS Phys, etc.), the name of the undergraduate institution may matter.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ Though I would think that having the money to pay for those programs may matter as much or more.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22898 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 4
    We lived in a town with very good public schools. I opted for private schools for my kids because the quality of education was so much better. The school's tuition was on par with most of private college tuitions. If I didn't pay for 2 kids from K-12 I would have a lot more money in the bank now. I felt the same about paying for my kids' college. I could have opted for cheaper options or have them chase merit, but I preferred to spend money on their education. It wasn't a real hardship, but it wasn't chump change to me either. It was a conscious decision on where I wanted to spend my money. Not all colleges offer the same level of education, and by paying more doesn't mean it is better. Unlike some parents on CC, I would not pay the same for lower tier schools (I do think college ranking does give one good guideline on how good a schools is), even if I could afford it. One school that comes to mind is High Point University. My kids wouldn't be able to convince me it is best fit college, because of ice cream truck, good climate, steak restaurant, and expect me to pay for it (it would be in state Rutgers for them) . To me, it would be overpaying for a Honda with BMW's price.
    edited July 4
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  • collegedad13collegedad13 735 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    @PurpleTitan my viewpoint is almost identical to all the programs that just give need based aid. Some examples of this are Stanford Harvard and Yale. Life long friends are made in college. And if one only thinks about the dollar when going to college they will most likely lose out on some golden opportunities and relationships

    Also the true cost of one year of college is about 200k at a lot of schools when all costs are added in. So the concept of overpaying is not really applicable
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @collegedad13, lifelong friends can and are made in many spheres.

    As for the "true cost", outside of the purely undergraduate LACs that conduct almost no research, cross-subsidies are everywhere at a university. STEM PhDs who don't pay anything and in fact are being paid would be subsidized more. Full-payers (especially outside of STEM who aren't taking advantage of those costly laboratories and equipment) not so much.
    But if you want to believe that a school is spending $200K on your kid, sure, go right ahead.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4955 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Bowdoin spends $92k per student per year for our $73k per year. This made us feel a little better when paying full price.
    https://bowdoinorient.com/2019/04/12/how-does-bowdoin-spend-its-money/
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  • capaldifancapaldifan 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My daughter will be applying ED to Bowdoin this fall, so this is great information. Thanks for sharing!
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  • collegedad13collegedad13 735 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    @PurpleTitan Stanford’s budget is 6.5 billion per year. If you divide that by the number of students you come up with a number in the 300k range. Stanford says 15 percent of the income comes from students. About 30 per cent of berkeleys operating expenses comes from students. None of this considers the capital costs of the building or the land. On a 40 year amortization at a low interest rate that would be at least 100k per student per year in addition to the operating costs. So college no matter where you go is pretty much a real bargain
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2378 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 6
    "Well... The "best" school is the one you can succeed in, is affordable and has a good "fit and feel" makes you happy. "

    But apart from affordability, how would you about any of the other factors before you attended?

    "So college no matter where you go is pretty much a real bargain"
    Ok, 70K is not a bargain, it may be a good value, but it's not a bargain, especially compared to less expensive colleges in the US and other colleges outside the US. I was talking to a couple of friends who went to the top schools in India (IITs), for like $1-2000 (US) per year, that sounds like a bargain!


    edited July 6
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 6
    @collegedad13, again, there are cross-subsidies everywhere. It's a great thing for society that Stanford and other top unis devote a ton of money to their medical school and high-level basic science research (beyond what they get in grants), but how much do undergrads benefit from that (especially outside of STEM)? And would the undergrads that do benefit not be able to get the same benefit from a major comprehensive uni that is cheaper and has an honors college who's undergrads can get involved in research to the degree that an undergrad can at Stanford? Berkeley doesn't have a med school. I'm curious what the numbers are for a school like UMich.

    At a LAC, even though they don't get to benefit from economies of scale or sheer spending power, at least pretty much all the spending would be solely for the benefit of the undergrads, who would be the sole raison d'etre for their existence.
    edited July 6
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ BTW, UCLA has a 7.5B budget, so spending $167K per student by your formula. If you're getting such tremendous value in a bunch of places, why maximize the amount of money that is coming out of your own pocket?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3953 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 6
    @theloniusmonk
    . Of course this is very subjective but we have had a little practice in it also. In Chicago we do what's called applying to selective enrollment high schools. We litterely go through a college application process including visiting different high school campuses much like college. It's not the same but close enough.
    When visiting the schools and talking to the teachers you just get a "sense" of which school is a better "fit" for your child and they do also. Hard to explain but the feeling that you belong and it's just the right place for you. For my son it was the top state school and they way they taught math was very different then how the top 2 school did. Also it had the top students after taking tests to get in which is were he wanted to be. His "major" decision was giving up playing football since the top school didn't have a team and the other school did that he would most likely start. He went for academics, in his mind. Both stellar schools. Also the more sports school just felt sterile to us. Don't know how to explain that. When talking to the school he ended up with the teachers just seemed to be more engaged and interesting.
    Off to college exploration and more of the same. This didn't seem foreign to us. But to us there is just a large difference of fit and feel between his two last picks (after eliminating his acceptances of safeties or getting eliminated by some schools of interest 🤔)
    UIUC and University of Michigan. This was almost the exact parellell to his high school choices. Both stellar schools but to my son Michigan was just the better "fit and feel". He again wanted to go to the school that he perceived would challenge him more. He wanted to be with higher stats kids across the university landscape not just in engineering. He is also into sports and wanted school spirit. After actually making a pro con list he choose Michigan which we are paying more for. For us, it was his best choice. He is being challenged (be careful what you wish for😉) but excelling in things we couldn't even imagine. My wife went there and walking around in Michigan gear during him making his decisions didn't hurt either. I really think he felt guilty that we would be paying more for OOS but we told him we saw the worth in it.
    @oldfort. We had the same experience with our kids from elementary to 12 (different school for high school) for one kid and to 8th grade for kid 2. I am not proud to spend $25,000/each/year but it was our best choice at the time. We were a few years to early having our kids. Today... I would to public in a heartbeat. The local schools have really changed for the better and like "everyone" (not really true), goes to the local publics.
    edited July 6
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