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Prestige versus Cost

midwestdadof2midwestdadof2 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
edited February 2013 in Parents Forum
Hello. I am interested in other parent's thought process regarding sending your child to a high cost/more prestigious school v. less cost/less prestigious school. My 2014 son has a 4.0/31 with lots of activities. He plans to run cross country and track in college.

When discussing the costs, I am just using tuition and housing numbers, no books or living expenses. Also, I am looking at it from a worst case scenario. He has looked at schools like Kenyon and they estimate about a $5000 loan for him with my wife and I paying roughly $12,000. Also included in their calculation is another $3000 a year for him working at the school.

He has looked at schools like the University of the Cumberlands where the worst case looks to be about $5000 per year. He may be able to take the cost to zero if he wins a bigger scholarship. Also, this is a NAIA school that has money for sports. Right now he would get about $3000 per year but that could increase if his times decrease.

So, of course, if college was free we would send him to a Kenyon type school. As you may be aware, college is usually not free. Paying $1000 per month is something my wife and I can do. I don't think we would need to take out any loans but it would be something we would feel each month. It would mostly influence vacation, keeping cars, and home improvements.

A quick word about my son's goals. He is not money driven. He talks about being a high school teacher and coach. He also talks about teaching and coaching at a small college. He will most likely double major in English and something else. Grad school is a possibility. If he came back home to go to grad school we are within 30 minutes of 4 larger universities- Xavier, Miami, Cincinnati, and Dayton.

So what do you think?
Post edited by midwestdadof2 on

Replies to: Prestige versus Cost

  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    I would frame the debate as quality versus cost. It may not be worth stretching yourself for prestige, but it may be worth it for your son to associate with better students and undergo a more challenging education. That needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Some inexpensive in-state options can be wonderful, and some schools with merit aid can also be wonderful.

    I am not familiar with the second college you name, but I do know that Kenyon is an excellent school.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    Prestige only matters if you think it matters. For a teaching job, do NOT take on debt if you can avoid it. Having a degree from Kenyon vs a state directional will NOT get you more pay in the education world. I would NOT go to grad school until he has a secure teaching job if that is the route he will go.

    Participating in an intercollegiate sport will help his hiring chances down the road. Are you sure he will get $3000 for track/CC? Is that a combined award for the 2 sports? There just isn't a lot of money to go around for track/cc given the size of the teams so unless you have been firmly told by the coach how much you will get I wouldn't count on any dollars yet. Coaches don't even know how much they will have to give yet -won't know until next fall really.

    If he really wants to go into teaching, find the best teacher's college in the area where he wants to live after graduation and go there. They will have the best connections for student teaching and the hiring schools will know the programs, etc. With his stats he will also probably get some substantial merit money from private schools in the area.

    I am in the camp of sending kids away for college and 30 minutes from home is too close for me. There are a LOT of schools out there where your net costs will be within your $1000/month.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,622 Senior Member
    I belong to the faction that believes you should give your child the best education you can afford that fits the student's needs.

    It sounds as though, even with a school like Kenyon, your family will not be burdened with debt. That's an advantage many families do not have.

    One more point: If a school offers your son an athletic scholarship, what happens if he stops playing the sport? Sometimes kids get injured. Sometimes they find that playing a varsity sport takes too much time away from academics. I think it's important to understand what will happen in these situations.
  • midwestdadof2midwestdadof2 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Regarding the money for sports in NAIA.

    What about financial aid? - NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

    I was shocked.

    Each sport has an overall limit on the amount of financial aid it can award as full or partial grants to students in that sport. For example, the overall limit in baseball is 12. Baseball scholarships can be awarded to any number of students (for example, 1 full scholarship, 10 half awards and 24 quarter awards) as long as the combined total does not exceed 12. Limits on the total amount of aid that can be given to varsity athletes in each sport:

    cross country 5
    track and field 12
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 64,970 Senior Member
    I don't think the distance from home matters at all. Once you are there, you are there. Sure, it's easier to come home, and it's not a different geographic area, but the reality is that the VAST majority of college students are close to home.

    If your son is sure he wants to be a teacher, he would be wise to attend a public university in YOUR home state. Is it possible that your state universities have scholarships for high achieving students? This would be worth checking.

    Is he going to be a recruited athlete? If not, this really won't impact his college money at all.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,160 Senior Member
    What if he decides he doesn't want to be a teacher later on, would the school still be a good fit for him? Kids change their mind all the time, I don't believe in picking a school because of a particular major, I think it is believe to look at a school's overall quality of education.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    midwestdadof2--keep in mind those are "max" limits a school can offer. The school doesn't always provide up to the max dollar amount. NCAA has similar limits as well. Each school gives the coach a budget and the coach has to figure out how to spend those dollars. Having just gone through the recruiting process for a non-revenue sport, each school has their own way of doing things. DD was offered between $500-$10,000 as the #1 recruit at all of the schools she considered--NAIA and NCAA DI and DII schools. One of her top schools initially told her she would get around $5000. Well, that program had an outstanding freshman show up this year and was offered a full ride for next year--WELL EARNED too. That cut down on what the coach could offer other recruits this year so DD was offered $3000. Where did you get your $3000 number?

    thumper1--I disagree--being 30 minutes from home makes it REALLY easy to run home for little things OR for the parents to visit the child too often. I see it happen ALL the time. One family member wanted to go to school "out east" mainly so her mom wouldn't be interfering with her college life too much. She ended up 30 miles away and mom visits her at least once/week....not a good thing in this situation.
  • midwestdadof2midwestdadof2 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    I am sorry but my last few sentences may have confused the issue. The 4 schools that are nearby would be grad school choices. They are not choices for undergrad since he really wants to participates in CC/track and we support that. I also have a feeling that he would be happier and achieve more at a smaller school.
  • midwestdadof2midwestdadof2 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Don't let the sports money be much of an issue. He won't be recruited. My research:

    How to Get Recruited for College Cross Country - Scholarships | NCSA

    He could walk on D1 but would not be a top 7 runner. He would make a D2 squad and maybe contribute. He fits in nicely at D3 and NAIA.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    Another thing to consider, is he good enough to get a track/CC scholarship? What does he run/what are his times. Don't discount Division III programs either. They are very competitive programs at many schools and if he is a prime recruit elsewhere, they often find more merit $$$ for them at DIII;s..

    I can think of dozens of schools that would be great choices for him for a degree in education that also offer a lot of other majors that would be suitable given his interests. Has he said where he wants to go yet--how far away from home is ok?

    Crossposted with you---I would direct him to check out St. Olaf with his stats. One of the top CC/Track programs in the country at the D3 levels and with his stats, looking at good merit aid from them too. Other schools in that same conference (MIAC) would be good options for him as well. Look at the DIII national rankings to find potential schools for him and then go from there.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,794 Senior Member
    If your family can afford $1000/mo. without too much hardship, start putting that into a savings account or CD dedicated for college expenses NOW. That way you will have a bit set aside when college starts, and will help out if anything changes in your financial situation between now and college graduation.

    Your kid has a good GPA and good ACT. There are places that would offer him significant merit-based aid that are not absolute stinkers academically. He should peruse the threads on the topic of merit-based aid in the Financial Aid Forum and see if anything appeals. He also might like reading through this thread http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/905843-top-student-3rd-tier-school-four-years-later.html
  • muckdogs07muckdogs07 Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    For $12K a year Kenyon is a true deal. I would go with that and suspect this school will open up his intellectual horizons. While he wants to be a teacher now (my son is a frosh at UVA and thinking about teaching also), that is all he knows right now based on first hand experience. At Kenyon, he will meet diverse students from all over the country and the world and terrific professors who in a small place like Gambier spend the bulk of their time teaching students inside and outside the classroom. If after those experience, he still wants to teach, a Kenyon degree will help if he wants to go to a name education grad school like Peabody or Curry, among others, abd perhaps becoem a leader in the education profession.
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 9,895 Senior Member
    ............................... Cumberlands ... Kenyon
    4yr graduation rate .............. 26% ............ 83%
    freshmen retention .............. 62% ............ 92%
    students living off-campus...... 25% ............ 2%
    avg HS GPA ........................ 3.3 ............. 3.9
    avg SAT CR ........................ 460 ............ 685
    avg SAT M ......................... 487 ............ 651
    most popular major .......... Business .......... English
    avg mid-career salary* ....... $43,600 ........ $95,100
    (* per payscale.com, based on self-reported data from alumni with terminal undergraduate degrees)
    If your son is sure he wants to be a teacher, he would be wise to attend a public university in YOUR home state.

    That may depend on where he wants to teach and in what kind of school. If he wants to teach in the Ohio or Kentucky public schools, then to get that first job it may not matter whether he attends Kenyon or Cumberlands, as long as he has the necessary credentials (which a public university in the employer's state may be likelier to cover). If he wants to teach in a Christian school, then a degree from Cumberlands might be preferred. If he wants to teach in a competitive private high school almost anywhere in the country, then I would expect a degree from Kenyon to be preferred.

    Kenyon has a cooperative degree program with the Bank Street College of Education (Cooperative (3-2) Programs in Engineering, Environment Studies, and Education - Academics - Kenyon College).
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,160 Senior Member
    4yr graduation rate .............. 26% ............ 83%
    This is a red flag to me. Would your son be happy going to a school where avg SAT scores are way below his.
    avg SAT CR ........................ 460 ............ 685
    avg SAT M ......................... 487 ............ 651

    $50K is a very good investment for your son's higher earning potential.
  • midwestdadof2midwestdadof2 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    "If your family can afford $1000/mo. without too much hardship, start putting that into a savings account or CD dedicated for college expenses NOW. That way you will have a bit set aside when college starts, and will help out if anything changes in your financial situation between now and college graduation."

    That is a great idea. I have went the route of paying everything off. We paid off our house a couple years ago. I just paid off my car. I want to get my wife's 2010 vehicle paid off by the time he graduates in 2014 so we will be almost debt free.
This discussion has been closed.