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How Much Should Money Influence My Decision?

dekkahsdekkahs Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
My family is not in good financial status right now. Chances are I would get a lot of financial aid and have a lot of loans.

Here is my question:

If say I can get into a school like Cornell and graduate with 80k of debt per se, is this more valuable then going to a school like Rutgers and graduating with no debt?
Post edited by dekkahs on

Replies to: How Much Should Money Influence My Decision?

  • ace550ace550 Registered User Posts: 1,126 Senior Member
    $80 K debt is high. I would say ~$40K or lower if you are aiming for AEM. If you are aiming for pre-med, go to Rutgers.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,597 Senior Member
    YOU can't borrow that much. YOU can only borrow the following amounts:

    frosh 5500
    soph 6500
    jr 7500
    sr 7500

    To borrow more than that requires QUALIFIED and willing cosigners for four straight years. Since your family has financial issues, it sounds like they won't qualify or be willing.

    Undergrads shouldn't borrow more than about $30k anyway...total.
  • annasdadannasdad Registered User Posts: 4,827 Senior Member
    There is NO evidence that a degree from Cornell is worth more than a degree from Rutgers, conventional wisdom and defunct magazine rankings to the contrary. It would be absolutely ludicrous to go $80,000 into debt for any undergraduate institution.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,028 Senior Member
    I think a good rule of thumb is to borrow no more than your first year potential salary.

    Contrary to what annasdad is saying, check out both schools' job and graduate school placement, you will see that they are very different. At the end of the day, you need to worry about what you'll be doing after graduation. To me, that's how I value a college education. For some people it is the piece of paper it is printed on.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    If you are eligible for a lot of financial aid, Cornell might come up with it with limited loans. Though, Rutgers is a lot less expensive, it is less likely to come up with a full need package. It comes down to the bottom line of what it will cost you at either school. Are your family's financial issues such that you would be eligible for a lot of financial aid? Check out th NPC for Cornell. It is pretty accurate.

    At this point, you can look at all of the options and see what fits you the best when all of the prices are right out there. You may not be able to borrow more than the $5500 that Direct loans allows Students to borrow freshman year. Your parents could try PLUS, but if they have outstanding bills, they may not pass muster and private loans will require a credit worthy co signer. So the whole loan thing may be moot anyways. It's not like there are many, or any options for an 18 year to be able to borrow money.
  • annoyingdadannoyingdad Registered User Posts: 3,026 Senior Member
    Contrary to what annasdad is saying, check out both schools' job and graduate school placement, you will see that they are very different.

    However, those stats don't show causation. A student who qualifies for admission to Cornell is likely to achieve the same outcome at Rutgers in most fields, given the same effort and performance at each school.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,028 Senior Member
    Not necessary. If a lot of those firms do not recruit at Rutgets then those execellent students may not get the opportunity to be recruited at those firms.
  • ExhaustedDadExhaustedDad Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    The "new norm" of taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans is absurd, particularly if you are graduating with a degree in the social sciences. That being said, dekkahs doesn't indicate what his or her major will be.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 24,098 Super Moderator
    I'm afraid the "new norm" of $30K in loans (the federal amount) over four years is more or less standard, part of most aid packages.
  • ExhaustedDadExhaustedDad Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    vonlost, it's only the new norm because of the ease of obtaining college loans and the over supply of students applying to colleges. When tuition rises at a rate twice that of inflation then the college presidents (or regents) should be called before congress to testify as to why this is happening (of course, this will never happen, since they aren't portrayed by the media as big, bad corporations, banks or Wall Street tycoons). Just my opinion :)
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 24,098 Super Moderator
    When tuition rises at a rate twice that of inflation it's because the cost of our goods has been falling (ever more made in China and elsewhere) and the cost of labor-intensive teaching and associated construction and health care, etc., hasn't likewise been reduced by outsourcing.
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Registered User Posts: 2,708 Senior Member
    dekkas, I am unclear about what you mean by your family not being in good financial status. If they are low income or unemployed, you may be able to get a package from Cornell that makes it affordable. If they are just in debt, then you may have to choose a school with a lower tuition. Cornell is a wonderful school and there are parts that are public so, in the off-chance that you are instate, it's a great deal... but if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. The simple truth is you cannot borrow anything close to $80K. I would run the Net Price Calculators, apply to a variety of schools and see what comes back.
  • donatudonatu Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Um, at least in the local media in the Midwestern states where I still have family, the University Regents very much are portrayed as big, bad corrupt crony capitalists pushing education out of reach of the poor and middle class. They like too many banks and (yes) big bad corporations and Wall St. tycoons see aspiring Americans as cash cows to milk dry. They're all crooks IMHO, and the punishing interest and fee payments on students really do amount to near-usury and are well beyond reason.

    I was lucky enough to graduate decades ago with almost no debt, but I'm a teacher today and the kids in my classes have it 100,000X worse. Most of my best students tend to be motivated but from poorer families, and even after working very, very hard in campus jobs and outside employment, going to public schools, majoring in useful fields like computers or accounting or something similar, they wind up racking up tens of thousands in debt because the system really is rigged against them. They're screwed whether they do or don't, because without those four-year degrees, practically any employer would throw their application in the garbage can and they're not well connected enough to do otherwise, so massive college debt is practically unavoidable to get training in the sorts of technical fields that, at least historically, have provided jobs. Their major sin is being born not rich, I guess.
  • donatudonatu Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    BTW dekkahs I would lean toward choosing Rutgers in this case if you indeed would be able to go there cost-free. Rutgers really is a fine school, and if you get a full or high partial scholarship, employers will look at this favorably later, but again, make sure this is actually the case. Do your due diligence, make sure that they can't yank your scholarship away from you or arbitrarily raise tuition after your first year, which some do. I've had some students suggest to me that they were opting for public, state schools since they were supposedly much lower cost, only to get there and realize that they're forced to take out loans that grow higher each year with tuition increases. Whereas some schools like Cornell, after negotiation, will often more in grants and/or scholarships. Make sure you're well aware of the details.

    As a general rule, keep in mind that tuition in US universities isn't "merit-guaranteed" as in Europe and most of Asia. If you go to school in a country like the Netherlands, Germany or Korea for example, you pay very little tuition so long as you're qualified (though of course it isn't easy to qualify, you have to do well on the exams and of course to speak Dutch or especially German, which is of increasing value). But in US public universities, even if you're admitted as a qualified student, you may wind up still paying a massive bill, especially since tuition is going up and state assistance is going down. That's again why it's so important to look at exactly they're offering, just because it's a state university doesn't mean its cheap, though generally it'll be better than Cornell's package.
  • annasdadannasdad Registered User Posts: 4,827 Senior Member
    What local media in the Midwest characterize university regents that way? I've lived in the Midwest nigh 40 years and don't recall ever seeing any such description.
This discussion has been closed.