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The old scholarship at a less selective school or higher price for more selective school question...

suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
How good would a scholarship have to be for you to consider regional state school that isn't ranked but has good programs over more selective but also more expensive other schools? Is there a point that makes your decision flip one way or the other? My answer is that I'm not sure! I like the regional state school but am a bit concerned it may limit future career and grad school options over a higher rated school.
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Replies to: The old scholarship at a less selective school or higher price for more selective school question...

  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1718 replies22 threads Senior Member
    There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on what the additional money means to your family and your future goals. For some people, any price difference is the right answer. For others, they will pass on a full ride to be full pay.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1861 replies33 threads Senior Member
    It really depends on “best fit” which in my definition is financially, academically, and socially.

    In my opinion only a few select colleges (maybe top 25 or top 50) are worth a considerable premium for the higher tuition. For example, if you were studying public policy and wanted to get a job in national politics or government administration, being at a select college in or around DC might be much better than going to say Middle Tennessee State. Or looking for a job on Wall Street, might be helpful to go to an ivy or ivy equivalent college to give yourself the best chances for an internship or job offer.

    However, if we are talking about colleges that are ranked #300 versus one ranked #450 it probably matters very little about the selectivity differences and “prestige” of the college unless they have some top ranked specialty (e.g. Nursing).

    You might get more meaningful responses if we know the cost difference and general statistics of the colleges in question.

    At the end of the day, college kids thrive where they are happy and yet challenged. It’s an important 4 years of their lives.
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  • blossomblossom 10209 replies9 threads Senior Member
    And what the student wants to study- and how prepared the student is to take advantage of "extra" opportunities matters. Some kids are going to major in beer pong no matter where they end up or no matter how much it costs.
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
    I meant any of you in general. For us specifically, we still haven't heard from some schools so based on what we know so far, I am not sure what I think would be best for him. He has free tuition and fees and in Honors at a regional state school. Other costs to live there are super low. No loans, easily affordable for us. Less than we thought we would spend. School is not ranked in top anything as far as I know.
    Everywhere else will be more. So far he got into two other schools that include scholarships that put the price under the EFC by a few thousand, which are also affordable. His favorite school, though, is a private college that accepted into their supposed to be good Honors Program which costs about $9000 more than our EFC. I don't want to pay that much and will see if there is any room to get any more aid from them somehow. He is a serious and bright student. I wish this school were closer to our EFC. I think having him get into the very low cost regional school makes it harder to choose something so much over our EFC when there is this other option.
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  • chaphillmomchaphillmom 115 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Is he aware of a budget that he needs to work within? I think we are in a somewhat similar position to you...but as it turns out all three 'finalist' schools are within the total budget our son knew he could stay in where we were willing to pay. The lower tier schools have a much better financial situation, but we will leave the final decision to him at this point since he is staying within the guard rails. We are trying to shape his decision a bit by pointing out he can use the savings from the less expensive option to put towards grad school or equivalent. These schools also have some fantastic programs and seem to really want him there, which does make a difference.
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
    He wants to not have any debt. He was willing to live at home and to the very cheapest option possible and had to be pushed to consider other options. He knows we will tell him if a school is too expensive and we have pointed out the one he likes is a lot more expensive than the others.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30015 replies59 threads Senior Member
    It’s a balancing act. What can you pay without compromising things important to you? How good is the fit at the schools? How bad is it?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80870 replies726 threads Senior Member
    There are some general limits. If the more expensive school would require parent loans or parent cosigned loans, that is probably a bad idea. The same if it would prevent the parents from saving for retirement or offering other siblings a comparable amount for their college costs.

    But, in the case where the more expensive college is affordable within these limits, there is no general answer, in that "college quality", "college prestige", and the effects of such are very dependent on the individual student, his/her major and career goals, and the specific colleges in question.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77049 replies3424 threads Senior Member
    What’s his major?
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84307 replies1048 threads Forum Champion
    What is his major and career goal? Will he need to go to grad/professional school later?

    How will your EFC plus gap get funded? Will paying that cost mean loans and possibly impact to retirement?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30130 replies182 threads Senior Member
    "I like the regional state school but am a bit concerned it may limit future career and grad school options over a higher rated school."

    Well where are the grads of that regional state school getting summer internships and their first jobs? Are those first jobs so dreadful that they would lock him forever into XYZ? It really, truly, is OK to ask the Career Center about this kind of thing.

    Grad school admission depends on a lot of factors, and the relative "prestige" of the undergrad college or university often doesn't matter at all. For grad school admission the coursework, GPA, GRE/GMAT/MCAT/etc. test scores, letters of recommendation, work/research experience related to the grad school goal will be what matters. The student's professors' personal contacts can matter as well. Happykid and her BFF both went to the local CC, then a regional state U, then worked, and now are in fully funded MFA programs at their first choice universities.

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  • mommdcmommdc 11858 replies31 threads Senior Member
    My S only applied to one school, he liked it, it had a great program for his major, he was above average in stats for admission and had a good chance to get into the music department.

    It is in our state and not far from home.

    We didn't push him to apply to other schools.

    Are you saying that your son would have been happy to go to the regional school but you made him apply to the more selective school that he now also likes but you don't want to pay for it?
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4479 replies56 threads Senior Member
    The current situation is going to make many people seriously reconsider options, I would make sure your cheapest best instate option is at the top of your list. Consider if there is serious economic impact to schools, instate options are going to be swamped. Assume a parent or parents could be made unemployed. Consider some schools will not be able to follow through with their FA offers next year. I really think there will be scrambling his year for instate affordable schools.
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  • COSpgsparentCOSpgsparent 165 replies1 threads Junior Member
    If he can attend the more prestigious school without incurring any debt, that's where I'd send him. Also consider his major and whether the additional cost of tuition is an investment in his career. If the difference in tuition can be made up quickly after graduation based on where he went to school, then the difference is worth it.
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
    Thank you all for the replies. You offered a lot to think about and I really appreciate it. My husband thinks a bit differently than I do about this topic and cares about school rank more. We both agree that we will allow our son to choose and will not force him to go to a particular school, as long as we can afford the school he chooses. Our son started out as wanting to go to the very cheapest option but he didn't know what his options were. We wanted him to make an informed choice and had him tour schools. He chose where to apply. One school courted him quite a lot and he applied there EA before we really understood how EFCs worked. The language in that school's letters did lead us to believe it would cost less than they ended up offering. He wants a major that doesn't have a lot of jobs and for which you have to get a grad degree. Undergrad degree can be in various things and it isn't necessarily an advantage to major in this thing as an undergrad. Some schools have his preferred major and some have his second choice, either of which can work for getting into grad programs he thinks he wants. In the past 2 years he changed his mind about what he wants to study about 10 times at least, so we all three are keeping that in mind.

    If our son saw the lowest cost option and wanted to go there, we would let him, but to have him decide on it without seeing it or other options wasn't what we wanted for him. I would love to have him live here during college because I love having him around but I think for his own growth, it would be better for him to go away for college. He wanted to be home but is starting to see he might want to leave by the time fall comes around and is starting to feel ready for that.

    We don't force our son to do particular things but we do make him try things and consider things. This has lead to him finding things he loves doing.

    My local friend went to the lower cost regional college and wants her child to go there but said that students who go to the state's flagship (a currently hot school) get their first job more easily than those who go to the lower cost school. My friend's son is graduating the lower cost school and had a great experience there, got internships, won awards, and got into a great grad program in his chosen field. He is going to have fantastic career. He got a lot more attention from professors and mentored there than he would have at big state flagship school.

    I agree, that the current situation is making everything up in the air for many people.

    We will not take out any loans (no parent plus) and do not want our son to take out loans, either. I know some think it is a good idea as it makes the students feel they have some skin in the game, but we would prefer he graduated debt-free. We have savings set aside for his education and could pay for the more expensive private school that is about $9000 over our EFC, but he already got into other schools that are below our EFC that are very good schools (not lower in ranking and probably a better fit). I don't see a reason to spend over $10,000 more a year for him to go to this school. If the price comes down closer to our EFC, maybe. All things being equal, why pay so much more is how we feel. Unfortunately, some of the college visits we had planned, which we think would have made our son feel more interested in a couple other schools, probably are not going to happen now.
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  • chaphillmomchaphillmom 115 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @suteiki77 - it sounds like you are giving it a lot of thought and consideration. You are balancing all the factors in a complex situation. The only additional advice I might add is to enjoy this time with him, and focus on the positives of having options to choose between, and means to afford them. He sounds like a good kid, and lucky to have supportive parents who want the best for him. Everything else will be icing on the cake. :)
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
    Thank you. I appreciate the reminder to enjoy this time with him. I'm actually sad that he is already this age in what feels like too short of a time.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77049 replies3424 threads Senior Member
    He wants a major that doesn't have a lot of jobs and for which you have to get a grad degree

    Well...a couple of things.

    1. Does this field of study offer full funding for grad school...or will you be paying for that?

    2. If a grad degree is required, the place where he gets the grad degree probably matters more in terms of jobs than where he gets his undergrad.
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 400 replies2 threads Member
    I think there is a fair chance he will decide to do something else, but maybe? I don't know if this field offers full funding for grad school. If he goes to super cheap regional school, then we would have money to help him pay for grad school, I guess. He has to figure out what he wants to do. He knows that although he thinks he wants to do this one particular thing right now, he very well could change his mind. We hope he will try lots of different things as an undergrad and find out what he likes the most and that he will be able to make a living doing whatever that is.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80870 replies726 threads Senior Member
    Regarding graduate school costs, PhD programs worth attending should be funded (although funding level varies). Professional degrees (e.g. MD, DO, JD, and most master's degrees) are typically not funded, and could be very expensive.
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