Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Torn between schools


Replies to: Torn between schools

  • MTnestMTnest Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member
    I agree the money conversation should have occurred before the application process. Both my sons knew they would go to an in-state school unless they received scholarships to lower the OOS tuition cost to the in-state school cost. They knew there would be zero financial aid and we would not take out loans. With this knowledge, they applied to schools who were generous with scholarships. They did not apply to Penn State because Penn State is not known to be generous with scholarships (covering most if not all of the OOS tuition). I am not a fan of the "prestige" factor and the price that normally goes with it.

    The question is are you willing to pay the $140,000 for the Penn State diploma? It sounds like the answer is no. If so, then you need to be upfront with your child and tell her you are not going to foot that bill. If she loves the school now, the visits probably won't change her mind. Good luck!!!
  • younghossyounghoss Registered User Posts: 3,182 Senior Member
    a part of the reason, boysx3, is that they have not yet heard an answer from 4 of the schools, so at the moment the comparisons are incomplete.
  • boysx3boysx3 Registered User Posts: 5,164 Senior Member
    thanks younghoss--I didn't catch that.
  • carly135carly135 Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    Thank you CC parents for all of your replies! I knew I could count on your input and advice regarding this matter.

    My heart and head are not in agreement. But, I know the answer is to attend the less expensive school. My D wanted to go to college OOS but I insisted that she apply to at least 2 in state schools. We are still waiting to hear back from 4 schools ( one is in state and the other 3 are OOS). She does talk about becoming a police officer first before moving up the ranks. Why spend $140,000 to become a police officer?! And she is 5'3" and weighs 100 lbs. so not sure if that is a factor in being accepted to a police academy.

    Right now she is stressed out when I try to bring up the discussion of colleges and finances so I will have to wait a while before a serious discussion is held. I agree that Penn State's reputation has been tarnished a bit. Having little to no debt is definitely an advantage to her and us in the future.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 15,487 Senior Member
    Would you spend that much more money on anything else your D wanted ... car, trip, etc? A college education can be had at one of hundreds of great schools, and it is not necessary to spend more than you need/want to spend. I have had the "sorry, too expensive" conversation twice (2 kids). They survived just fine!
  • maggiedogmaggiedog Registered User Posts: 532 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.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 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.
  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 Registered User Posts: 4,065 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.
  • rushedmomrushedmom Registered User Posts: 629 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..
  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia Registered User Posts: 4,472 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..
  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia Registered User Posts: 4,472 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..:)
  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 Registered User Posts: 4,065 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.
  • luvthejluvthej Registered User Posts: 287 Junior Member
    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
  • kayfkayf Registered User Posts: 4,161 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.
  • kayfkayf Registered User Posts: 4,161 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.
This discussion has been closed.