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In State Schools No Bargain

homeskulmomhomeskulmom 138 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
edited May 2006 in Parents Forum
Am I the only one who thinks even state universities are outrageously overpriced? In NJ, tuition and fees for one year is about $18,000. I understand that private universities charge over twice that amount, but that is not affordable to me.

From my preliminary research, it may turn out to be true that higher priced private LACs and Us may actually cost less out of pocket with their aid packages.

Has anyone actually found that to be true?
edited May 2006
72 replies
Post edited by homeskulmom on
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Replies to: In State Schools No Bargain

  • jmmomjmmom 8916 replies168 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    We are putting our grandS and S through college at the same time. S's private U COA (cost of attendance) is about equal to gS at state U, after merit $$ at the private U.

    You will find many cases like ours and, I'm sure, others over the whole gamut of cost comparison.

    I think the key lesson is what you have observed: one should not presume the in-state U to be cheaper or the "best buy." If private U's or LAC's are a fit for the kid's wants and needs, then go for it and see what the financial aid/merit aid package shakes out.

    It can also be true that you won't pay sticker price at your instate U (or out-of-state U) either - merit $, special programs etc. come into play there just as well as at the privates.
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  • katwkittenskatwkittens 2260 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,301 Senior Member

    this thread was about the same thing...so many feel the same as you do!

    I had stated in this thread that with 5 high school age children and being a single mom with limited income we needed to move from CA which have fab in-state unis but not ones we could afford.

    So we moved 3000 miles away and solved our problem. No easy feat to move 5 kiddos entrenched in their schools but necessary. NC State tuition in-state this year was $4200 for the entire year. UNC Chapel Hill was $4500. Very, very doable.

    We moved ourselves, 3 Uhauls and did not know a soul this side of the Mississsippi but I could not afford to send all 5 for undergrad or grad school.

    Good luck.

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  • homeskulmomhomeskulmom 138 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    Thank you for the link to the other thread, katwkittens.

    I was under the impression that the California state system was very affordable! Shows what I know. And I am aware that North Carolina is reasonable, and the schools are good, too.

    Maybe we'll move, too.
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    We are from NJ too. I think that it is awful, and a shame, that one cannot go to a four year school that most middle class families would find financially reasonable.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    Yay for NC State. My S is a freshman there. He got 2 merit scholarships from the school . If you are looking at a state school you really need to "beat the bushes" on the school website for scholarship opportunites offerd by the department you're interested in. S got one and so did his roommate in a different dept. We just happened to stumble upon one while looking at the homepage for his dept. Turned out to be worth $4000 a year which when added to another university merit scholarship was enough to pay for room and board. His tuition, books and fees are paid by rotc.
    If you look really hard you might find more possibilities for scholarship money than you think from the big state u.
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    That is great! I just wanted to add that the sticker price of NC state, is also about 7k per year less than Rutgers for everything (the cost of attendance). NC is much more reasonable.
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  • idadidad 4849 replies179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,028 Senior Member
    In-state tuition at UW Seattle sounds reasonable, about $5600. However, personal expenses, including books, room & board, transportation, spending money, etc. is estimated at $16,026. That's a total of nearly $22,000 per year, not an insignificant amount.
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    UW 2005/6: Rutgers
    tuition: 5610 9221
    books: 900 815
    room/bd: 6726 8883
    other: 2253 2311

    Total at UW for 2005-06- 15489
    Total at Rutgers2005/06- 21230

    Just ran the #s using the nces.ed.gov website's #s (instate for each)
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  • jerzgrlmomjerzgrlmom 1223 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,245 Senior Member
    I hear you about NJ tuition. It's crazy. Actually it's worse than it first looks coz the schools have another $2000+ or so of fees added on top of the tuition (you were smart to total it all up - so many people just look at the tuition). My d, at a private school, doesn't have all those add-ons... THe other thing to worry about is tuition increases & loss of merit $ due to Corzine's tax cuts. It's been depressing just thinking about it (I have 2 more kids to put through college). My s got accepted to Gov School this summer only to find out Corzine cancelled it - He finally agreed to allow it to continue because enough private funds were donated. Sure hope this program continues in the future but doubt the state will fund it ever again (kind of like how all the gifted and talented programs have been cut because of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND). ANd it's depressing that the merit awards at the NJ schools aren't definite anymore, either. They used to be listed on the websites and were guaranteed if you met the criteria (GPA & class rank).
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    Hi Jerzgrlmom. I haven't forgotten you. You helped with some specifics about Towson. My son has chosen James Madison. JMU out of state will cost conservatively 3,000 more than Rutgers instate (perhaps less, I have not checked '06/07 #s at Rutgers b/c my son did not even apply there).

    Congratulations to your S! That is great! I am so glad that they are coming through with the money. It is so sad that they do not want to finance this program. If they do away with merit scholarhips at our state schools, the brightest will leave our state for a private school with merit aid.
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  • HImomHImom 33854 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,241 Senior Member
    U of HI is still a bargain, for in-state or out-of-state. Travel & living expenses are a bit much for some folks tho. It's good to research any exchange agreements that may exist between your state & neighboring states. There is the Western Undergraduate Exchange and also one for Midwest Schools. I'd suspect most states participate in some exchange agreement.

    For us, the merit aid offered by the private U son will attend made it as cheap or cheaper than most of the public Us he considered for out-of-state like UCs & UW & UO & OSU (didn't want to go to in-state U).

    Some public Us do offer substantial merit aid to non-residents too & are worthwhile researching if interested.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    Back in the dark ages when I was at a state u here in NC, one of my best friends was from NJ. She was one of 7 kids and they had all gone oos to school because of the NJ prices. Back then she said it was cheaper to come to our state u in NC than to stay in NJ.
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  • jlauer95jlauer95 2465 replies72 discussions. Posts: 2,537 Senior Member
    I can see that the price of college is going to rise to the point that kids many kids will have to attend their local in-state that won't require the need for r & b. Yes, some with the help of merit $$$, or some with "real" FA because of low incomes, or those whose families can afford "full freight" will still get to go to the schools of their choice but I can see a trend returning to the "old days" when only the most affluent will be able to go "away to school".
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    jlauer, You are absolutely correct. For many middle income families this day has arrived in NJ (it arrived years ago for many families). I know several families who have children who commute more than 45 minutes each way to get to their closest 4 year college. I am sure that some have a longer commute. I know in traffic, it is longer than 45 minutes. They then struggle for a long time to find parking. Some drive in hours sooner than needed b/c of the parking nightmare. Their parents had to purchase a used car, or handed the kid their car, and bought a new one for themselves. This is all that is affordable for them, and they are still stretched. In one family the dad is a construction worker, and the mother is a bank teller. In another family, the mother is a RN and father is a supervisor of a department in a grocery store. The property taxes are through the roof, and then college bill is also through the roof in this state.
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  • minimini 26172 replies259 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    On what evidence do you think that is not the case now? The average undergraduate in the U.S. today is 24.5 years old. Community colleges are burgeoning, non-flagship state u's are growing, on-line universities (like the University of Phoenix, which I think is now by some distance the largest university in America) are raking in big bucks, night schools and weekend programs are full. At the same time, most of the prestige colleges and universities have not grown in more than a decade, and at a very high proportion of them, the majority of those attending do not receive any need-based aid, and of those who do, a large plurality (at some schools a majority) have incomes in excess of $90k (when the median family income is $53k.)

    To answer the OP's question, the cost of sending my d. to a prestige school has come in at well less than half the cost the local state flagship. But we hit the lotto, and the smiles of the financial aid gods rained down upon us.

    Gotta go sacrifice another pig (for my younger one.) Oh, for those of you who haven't figured it out yet, pig sacrifice is much more cost-effective in time and postage than applying for most outside scholarships.
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