I'm torn...

<p>During applications, I never would have imagined getting into UCLA or Cal. According to the numerous prediction threads I posted, they were HUGE reaches. So I tried not to give myself any sense of false hope, applied to both schools, but made sure to find some schools I knew I could get into (UCI, UCSB--by way of ELC. I also applied to UCSD). </p>

<p>Well, March came around and I was setting myself up for getting small envelopes from LA and Berkeley. Incredibly, that wasn't the case. I got into both. I was ecstatic. LA is my dream school. I looked at my provisional award letter and was pleased. That is, until my acceptance from Berkeley came and I looked at my financial aid online. It was better, but I attributed that to the cost of attendance being higher. At this point, I felt like I had to decide between these two schools. Today, I finally got to see my aid from Irvine. I wasn't expecting to get a Chancellor's Scholarship AT ALL. Now that I see I've gotten it...pretty much resulting in a free ride at UCI, I feel like I owe it to my parents to at least consider going to this school. </p>

<p>My parent's annual income is around $23,000 COMBINED. They've told me to go with the school I feel is best for me, but I don't know how I'd feel turning down a free ride and essentially opting to pay $7000+ in loans per year. i think that deep down they'd rather have me go to Irvine., but I really want to go to LA... yet I don't want to put my parents or myself in debt. </p>

<p>I wanted to ask you guys, as parents, for advice. I'm so torn right now and any words would help me in my decision of which college to attend. </p>

Federal Pell Grant $3,600
Cal Grant $6,141
University Grant $4,145
Work Study $2,500
Loans $6,500
Total: $22,886</p>

Fall 2006
FED.DIR.LOAN-SUB/FL1 Loan $1,313.00<br>
EST. CAL GRANT B $775.50
Total Fall 2006 $12,154.00<br>
Spring 2007
Same as Fall 2006.
Both fall and spring totals: $24,308</p>

Grants and Scholarships
Cal Grant B Stipend $1,551.00 Unconfirmed
Federal Pell Grant $3,600.00 Confirmed
Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship $7,695.50 Accepted
UC Irvine Grant $8,000.00 Accepted
Academic Competitiveness Grant $750.00 Unconfirmed
Total: $21,596</p>

<p>Thank you...</p>

<p>With low income and sunsidized loans, take one of the better colleges. Irvine just can't compare, And unless you're planning a really low paying, non profit career, Irvine just isn't close to Cal or UCLA.You should take your place at a top UC if you are thinking of any career that pays a good living. It seems sad to try to say $20,000 by going to a far inferior school and not have access to top jobs. CA is full of relatively bright kids who go to all the UCs. Bottom line, there are only a few who break out of the mold and have opportunities you would have if you went to a top private.</p>

<p>So, if I read that correctly, if you go to Irvine, you have no loans, no work-study expectation, no summer work expectation. (So the difference is actually quite a bit more than $28k in loans. $28k in loans, plus work-study expectations, is a bit on the high side, but doable; at a 6.8% interest, over 10 years, it comes to $322 a month.)</p>

<p>Honors program at Irvine? Folks sometimes make a mistake of comparing the schools generically, as opposed to what you might experience at them. So are you part of their Honors program? What does it entail? I would check out the educational opportunities that come (or don't come) with the scholarship.</p>

<p>Straight up, $28k (plus workstudy) wouldn't be enough to get me to go to Irvine rather than UCLA or Berkeley. If you had a summer job for four years, that $28k comes to more like $18k.</p>

<p>Sounds to me like you are worrying to much about what your parents think. What choice is it of theirs whether you decide to take out 6500 in loans per year? They aren't going to be the ones paying the money back.</p>

<p>If UCLA is worth $26000 to you then go there - it's that simple.</p>

<p>I will say that I don't think you should go to Cal because you don't really seem to care much about it - I'd say go with UCLA or UCI.</p>

<p>Go back to UCLA with your UCI offer and see if they can sweeten the pot any. Then go to UCLA anyway. You said you dream of going there, and that means you're more likely to graduate. If you're really worried about the $$, work very hard and save the $$ by graduating in 3 1/2 years instead of 4.</p>

<p>And good luck.</p>

<p>Really, you won't put your parents in debt, you will put yourself in debt. You can work during the summer and help to pay off some of the fees (loan or otherwise) that way.</p>

<p>My son has a wonderful scholarship but he still choses to work during the school year and he keeps himself in his own pocket money that way and that helps me on the home front. I pay for plane tickets and medical stuff. Big things.</p>

<p>Your parents sound wonderful and supportive. This is your decision to make. It's a big one and its yours.</p>

<p>UCI is a decent school but it's not UCLA. In this case, the rec I'd give to <em>my</em> offspring would be: take the loans and go to UCLA and don't look back and don't think twice, ma, it's all right.</p>

<p>USNews rates UCI 40 and UCLA 25.</p>

<p>Am I missing something here, people speak of UCI as some very substandard school compared to UCLA. IMO with rankings like these the schools are pretty close so it seems tough to justify spending 28K + workstudy more to go to UCLA. Well it's fine if you really feel you'll like UCLA more but academically they seem close... unless USNews is way off base.</p>

<p>and pray that you graduate in 4 years!</p>

<p>UCLA is your dream school! I'm afraid you'll regret it forever if you don't go there. </p>

<p>Don't worry about loans too much. I'm still paying for grad school (9 years later). These loans are an investment in your future, and sometimes, you have to look beyond cost to see the long-term gain. Every penny I have invested in my education has been delivered back to me in more ways than I can count.</p>

<p>I'm a UCLA alum, and I loved every minute I spent there. It's an absolutely wonderful place to be an undergraduate student.</p>

<p>$26K IS a lot of money if your parents only make $23K per year, so I can understand their hesitancy. But it is your life and your decision.</p>

<p>My son is in the same situation as you. Free ride at UC Irvine and Davis and a similar package as yours at UCLA & UCB.</p>

<p>Good luck with your decision!</p>

<p>There is WORK study, and then there's work STUDY. One is where you just work and don't learn much, the other is where you work and learn a lot. My son worked summers and didn't need to work during the school year but he worked anyway because there were some opportunities around campus that fit in with what he was studying and what he wanted to do after graduation. Those opportunities turned into nice little jobs with projects that involved working in groups, then leading the groups, etc. Those were worth more than the hourly wage in helping him prepare for summer internships and work after college. But if work study means moving food trays at the cafeteria, unless you're planning on a hotel or restaurant management career, I would rather be spending my time doing worthwhile things at UCI. But it depends on your major too. Not all departments are equal. If I were interested in neuroscience, for example, I'd take UCSD over UCLA in a heartbeat.</p>

<p>Go to UCLA, from what I've read so far, but if you desire it, nothing can stop you from going where you want, no matter what it takes.</p>