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Torn between schools

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Replies to: Torn between schools

  • maggiedogmaggiedog 497 replies35 threads Member
    As a PSU alumni who likes the school, and a parent whose son may go there next year, I still would suggest that it's not worth the cost. It's not THAT great a school. It certainly has a lot to offer, but it is not exactly Harvard (no offense, fellow Penn State fans!).

    The recent scholarship they have been offering a lot of OOS students is an attempt to boost enrollment for OOS admits, but still not enough to make it affordable. Heck, the in-state cost is not that affordable.

    My older son had a similar dilemma. He applied to a great OOS public U., got a good merit scholarship, but not enough to defray costs. Ironically, he got into several ivies and private schools where fin. aid. made them much more affordable than the OOS public. But that was just because our financial situation allowed for this.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Same here..told kids it would be instate publics unless they had scholarships to make up the difference. Both of mine were happy to stay instate. They graduated debt free with a little money left in their college accounts to help them get started in life.

    They thought it was a plus that there would be kids at college they knew from our town. They weren't homesick and rarely came home on weekends. They had a blast in college. I think having some familiar faces around helped a lot. The state schools they attended were huge so it wasn't like high school grade 13.

    Going out of state doesn't always turn out to be the big adventure kids fantasize about. Is there something special about PSU or does she just want to go to a school that's different from all her h.s. friends?
    Has she ever been away from home alone for an extended time?

    My S2 (2012 college grad) majored in Criminal Justice. By graduation (and after 11 week summer internship w/ the Sheriff's dept),he decided he didn't want to work in that field. The internship was an eye opener. It's not much money for a down and dirty job where everyone starts out on patrol. There are lots of dues to be paid to move up. Wouldn't go deep in debt for a CJ major. Go to a state school in your state or an oos school that costs less than PSU if that works for her.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 4008 replies293 threads Senior Member
    If you live in NYC and your daughter wants to go away for school, google SUNY forensics. Albany has a very strong program. Sure it will cost more than living at home and going to John Jay, but much, much less than Penn State, especially if you are in NY.
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  • rushedmomrushedmom 622 replies7 threads Member
    Great advice here from all posters.. I think the biggest thing in my mind is that $140,000 is a lot of debt, especially for a degree in Criminal Justice where the earning potential is not as high as other careers. The last thing she needs is years worth of student loans to pay off.

    While I know Penn State is a great school and nice campus, it does not seem like it would be a good fit financially unless she was able to find other outside scholarships..
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  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia 4389 replies85 threads Senior Member
    OP- We are in sort of a simular stituation in that it is hard to help your child figure out which college to go to. We have told our son that we really do not want to pay more than the low 20's per year however we allowed him to apply to schools that cost more with the agreement that if he couldn't get a scholarship to bring the cost down to our theshold he would need to take out loans and only loans that we did not have to co-sign. Now he has a number of schools under the low 20's however he still likes at least 2 that are going to require him to take out a student loan.
    We are hoping that he will go In state to Georgia tech or an OOS school that doesn't require him to take out a loan but at the end of the day he has to make that call himself.

    I don't think parents should go into debt to pay for their kids college. You need to think about your own retirement and your other child. There is a reason that kids can only take out I think it's 5,500 per year. It's because once you get past that amount it gets harder to pay off in a reasonable time frame. Are any of the other schools that she applied to going to be less than Penn? 35,000 a year is what it costs now but the cost is going to go up each year so it's not going to be just 140,000 it's cost to be more than that.
    I would sit down and figure out what you can pay without taking out any parent loans and see where you are at. Then tell her the bottom line number. I am pretty sure this same discussion is going on in many households. College is can be very expensive.. Good Luck,
    I know I will be glad when my son decides where he's going..
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  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia 4389 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Packmom - My brother majored in Criminal justice at MSU. Gopt a job with the Michigan State police. Decided it wasn't for him either. Went back got a masters and now in a research lab sciencetist. Sometimes kids don't really know what the job really is like until they start working..:)
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 4008 replies293 threads Senior Member
    I have volunteered at college fairs for my alma mater. The admissions officers who were with me at a recent event mentioned to me that this year and last, they received so many queries about "forensics." It's understandable since there are so many TV shows that glamorize related professions. But I believe that most students who have an idea of what they want to major in change their minds as they explore different fields and get a better idea of the careers available in each one.
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  • luvthejluvthej 279 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Carly135
    The forensics program is something to think about in your deliberations. If she decides not to be a law enforcement office, this opens up the door to a career in many different settings.


    Forensic Science at Penn State
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  • kayfkayf 4088 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Oldmom, I agree. There are plenty of SUNYs and CUNYs where a student can get a good solid general education and move on to forensics.
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  • kayfkayf 4088 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Carly, it may be too late, but did she apply for any CUNYs Honors Colleges? They provide additional benefits, help with housing, etc.
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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 threads Senior Member
    I'm still a bit unclear about the facts of this story. Was the OP's family unpleasantly surprised by the size of the PSU scholarship? Or is this one of those cases where the family assured the student that they could afford to send her to PSU, only to get cold feet when a much better financial offer came from a less selective school? This situation bugs me, because a better financial offer will almost always come from a less selective school. I agree that the pros and cons need to be weighed, but we don't really know how much of a financial burden the PSU costs will be to this family.
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  • younghossyounghoss 3168 replies18 threads Senior Member
    As I understand it, Hunt, the price tag at PSU is more than they hoped for. The OP tells us they are high income, and it is my personal guess that unfortunately, this family did not discuss money or money limits before apps were sent out.
    True that after the 6k schlarship, the Op tells us the PSU bill would be 140k, but doesn't exactly say what portion of if might be loans.
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  • partyof5partyof5 2587 replies126 threads Senior Member
    You have to separate your heart from sound financial decisions. We all want whats best for our kids. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do for your child is to have money for retirement so that you dont become a burden. Its the number one mistake that parents make. If your daughter can make Penn State work, by just taking out stafford loans, which are limited to about 28k after four years, then let her do it.

    There are so many stories on hear about kids that want that "out of state" experience, and its just not necessary. She should go to the instate option, and if its local, then let her live on campus, she will enjoy it. Also, 140k is waaay too much for a nonspecialized degree, especially when money is an issue.
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  • carly135carly135 154 replies15 threads Junior Member
    My D refused to apply to any of the NY schools for whatever reason ( we are not in state for NY anyway). She is a headstrong teenage girl- what else is new! She had her heart set on Penn State so of course she applied there. She was only interested in large state schools which offered school spirit, football, greek life, lots of activities, and programs for criminal justice. I guess we were naive about the financial part- hard to believe- but were caught up in the excitement of the college visits and what they had to offer. We had a decent college fund that was pretty much obliterated in the 2008 market crash so have been trying to save since then. We probably have about $60,000 that we could pay out of our savings and the rest would have to be student/parent loans but of course I am concerned about my younger son's college financial needs as well as my own retirement in the future. Even with the merit award from Penn State the $140,000 price tag for 4 years is pretty steep. If we paid $60,000 out of our pocket would still need $80,000 in loans.

    I feel bad that we let her apply to expensive schools but are probably telling her now that she can't go. Most of the colleges in my home state didn't really meet her needs and that's why we are in this situation. She applied to 2 colleges in state so we will have to see if she can go to one of those schools. She also applied to Univ. of Maryland, Univ. of Delaware, and James Madison University and waiting to hear back from those 3 schools but they will all be expensive too.

    I have definitely learned so much from this experience and will know better when my son has to apply to colleges in the future.

    Happy New Year to all!
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  • MTnestMTnest 1766 replies27 threads Senior Member
    The entire college application process was an eye-opener for us when my older son went through the it. We learned a lot and applied it DS13's college search. You will definitely be more prepared when your son goes through it.

    As parents we want to give our children what they want but sometimes that is not going to happen and they need to deal with it. Don't make the mistake of sacrificing your retirement.

    UMD and UD are pricey for OOS students. They do offer merit scholarships but unless you get one of the higher scholarships -- it will still be expensive.

    Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.
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  • newfaithnewfaith 198 replies16 threads Junior Member
    I have no idea where your from but North Carolina State looks like a good deal for out of state students. She would get that big school/spirit vibe at that school for sure. I also think Raleigh is a nice city. Good luck.
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  • carly135carly135 154 replies15 threads Junior Member
    newfaith- D was deferred from NC State :(

    it is OOS for us too, but yes the tuition was not too bad.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 4008 replies293 threads Senior Member
    State U. of NY (SUNY) schools are also a bargain for out-of-state students. And SUNY Albany has a respected forensics program. It's not a huge state u. kind of place but much moreso than John Jay in NYC which is a commuter school and pretty far down the academic ladder.
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  • newfaithnewfaith 198 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Sorry, it seemed like a good fit.
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  • mominazmominaz 170 replies18 threads Junior Member
    This is a timely post as I was just in Barnes and Noble the other day and flipped through a book titled "The New College Reality" by Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder. In her book Ms. Snyder covers the topic of taking out school loans for an expensive school or attending your in-state school (especially with an honors program). If you were to read this book I think it would give you a good basis for helping to make the decision. In our family we were determined to have our kids graduate from college with no student loan debt. Our daughter earned her degree at our in-state school, graduated with honors and got a job right away. In fact, she just bought a house, on her own, this year and has no student loans to hinder her (or us). Our son attends the honors college with a merit scholarship and will also graduate with no debt. He plans on continuing to professional school and will be better able to fund that with no undergraduate debt attached to him. Both kids fit in great at the university and had/are having great experiences. So at least for family this route worked out great. Best wishes to your DD!
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