Did I make the right decision?

It’s a bit too late to take back my decision now, but here is what I was faced with.

Two choices for college for Computer Science:

  1. In-state school that I would be paying maximum 3k/yr for, no loans.
  2. Top-tier school that costs 35k/yr. (Parents have enough saved up, would end up with around 20-30k debt.)

I don’t think I’ll pursue a grad degree – maybe a Master’s if my GPA is good enough, but I’m looking to get into industry right afterwards. I ended up picking the top tier school because I wanted to go away from home, but I’ve been having second thoughts recently and I wanted some outside opinions.

The average salary from my instate school is around 40-50k, whereas the average salary from the top-tier school is 90-100k. (Cost of living isn’t factored in, however.)

Thanks for reading!

You could make either choice work. Sometimes average salary is more linked to the location of the workplace than the school you graduate from. But there is extra special recruiting from a top tier school, and national recruiting. Also a top tier school will usually mean that you would only need to go to grad school if you want to peruse research or if you want to specialize later in something you need the credential for. You could find it unnecessary because for some CS employers grad degree = few years work experience.

Now that is a pretty low/reasonable cost for a top tier school and you aren’t going into much debt for it. You can likely cut into that debt from some internship earnings. Top tier school interns can make 5 or 8k per month in summers (and sometimes get relocation and housing stipend.) Even if you used the money to help parents with tuition, or stayed at school to do research instead, the debt payment is only about 300 per month. So you are fortunate to be in a position to pick top tier school - I agree with that decision.

Did you all make this decision together? Will the debt be yours or your parent’s? You said your parents have enough saved up, but then would end up with 20-30K in debt. Whose debt is this? Is this amount from Federal subsidized/unsubsidized loans or are your parents borrowing this over 4 years? Because if your parents are on board with the debt and are willing and able to pay it down for you, then that’s one thing. If this debt will fall on you, it’s easier to pay back making 90-100K vs 40-50K, but since there are no guarantees in life, you can’t assume you will make that amount of money. Hopefully you will, but it’s not a sure thing IMHO.

Sounds like you may now be experiencing “buyer’s remorse” so to speak. This happens a lot, I think, when the exhilaration and excitement of getting into a top tier and expensive school wears off and the actual bursar bill comes due in August.

“The average salary from my instate school is around 40-50k, whereas the average salary from the top-tier school is 90-100k. (Cost of living isn’t factored in, however.)”

Is that the average salary for Comp Sci, or the average salary overall?

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The average salary from my instate school is around 40-50k, whereas the average salary from the top-tier school is 90-100k. (Cost of living isn’t factored in, however.)"
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What exactly is being compared? Avg salary for grads from School A vs avg salary for grads from School B?

Is it CompSci vs CompSci? Or school vs school? What are the two schools?

Thank you, everybody, for the responses! I must admit, when I wrote this post, I didn’t really realize it, but what I’m really trying to do is justify my decision. I was hesitant to disclose details at first, but the choice was between OSU for CS and UC Berkeley for CS.

@BrownParent:
If I can manage to get a good internship during the summer, that’ll be around 15-16k I can use to help pay tuition. My parents fully supported my decision to attend, but I’d like to do whatever I can to help out with the financials – we’re not really rich, but they planned well.

@TiggyB62:
I would be taking 5k in subsidized loans each year and another 2k in unsubsidized federal loans each year. I know that Silicon Valley is in a sort of bubble at the moment, but I hope that it won’t pop until I manage to get a decent bit saved up.

Also, I’m definitely experiencing buyer’s remorse, although I knew that the UC system was going through tuition hikes (and it wasn’t cheap to begin with).

@happymomof1:
Average for CS.

@mom2collegekids:
I’m comparing salaries for newly graduated students in CS.