Is the University of San Diego worth the money?

My daughter was recently accepted to USD. It is one of her top 4 choices. I am having a hard time with the price tag. I don’t think it is worth the money. What are some of the pros and cons of the school?

Did she receive any merit/financial aid? What are her other options and COAs?

Pros-beautiful campus
Cons-admin is less than reasonable
Dorms lock students into agreements that have little to no recourse if issues arise.

Admin is not responsive to student or parent concerns in our case.

My daughter is a freshman at USD and we are very pleased with her experience. After visiting the campus a year ago at this time, we made an 11th-hour decision to go with USD, reversing course from Loyola Chicago Honors program with substantial academic merit aid. In our eyes, the best things about USD are the small classes and easy access to professors. Class sizes range from 14-25 students, 40 max. As an Environmental Science major, she is very much challenged and worked very hard to get a 3.2 GPA last semester, which to me confirms that she landed in the right place. Not TOO hard, not too easy by any means.

The experiential learning opportunities have been fantastic: a day trip to Tijuana to help at an orphanage, a day-trip to Anza Borrego for science purposes, and more. The extra-curriculars and overseas opportunities are outstanding. This is not a party school, but there are the occasional parties and the sense of community is strong and positive. The students are serious about their studies. We are not Catholic, but my daughter enjoys a sense of goodwill and charity that is part of being in a spiritually-attuned environment.

And yes: the natural beauty. We are paying a premium to have our D attend USD, but we think it is worth every penny.

She did not receive any merit aid. Long Beach State and Cal Luthern are her only in state options.

What was the dorm problem?

For the money, no. It’s a beautiful campus but you pay for that beauty and small class size.
Long Beach would be my next option.
(And this is speaking from someone who attended USD many many years ago).

5500 versus 32,000 UG students. Some kids need smaller class size more than others. Different value propositions for different students and families. Best wishes to you!

The dorms at USD are very small considering the cost of housing. There are other great private school options that offer more merit as well. USD is very tight with their merit awards, making other private schools a better value, in my opinion. I would say if you receive a good merit award or financial aid, then it would be worth it.

@calmomofone I liken choosing a college to purchasing a house. Everything needs to fall into place and it all has to pencil out financially. That is why your question is such a subjective one because it really depends on what your other options are and your financial situation is.

That being said, I concur with @DebDab - her post mirrors our experience there. It is a great university - challenging classes, engaged professors, a nice vibe, small class size, great food options, a surprisingly diverse student population (socio-economically, ethnically, miliary vets) as opposed to the sterotypes you may have read online. It is a really happy place. Every time I visit, I think so. Also, they really make the whole college transition very easy for a young person I think. I don’t think they necessarily have a history of being tight with merit aid, though I can think of a few other private universities we considered that are…it could be that there were just many many qualified candidates this year at USD and I did hear that they had much more applications than in prior years.

If it is affordable for you, I think USD is a wonderful place to learn and grow. If it will put you majorly into debt and your kid likes the other options nearly as well, then for half the price at Cal State Long Beach he or she could get a terrific education as well, just a different one than USD because it is larger and public. I don’t know anything about Cal Lutheran.

@Whit99 What other schools would you recommend for better merit aid?

What I’m hearing here the parent is saying it’s expensive while the advice is it’s a great campus… if it’s too expensive and you have a better option then your child should go where it’s affordable… taking debt on behalf of your kid is crazy…

As I’ve said before told my kids if you can’t afford it you can’t go… at this stage of life Parents have invested enough and should start deleveraging (if that’s possible) … when do we retire then?

Niece graduated from there last year. Beautiful campus for sure. Absolutely not worth it if you have more affordable options. Our niece just got a decent full time job after months of looking. No career counseling to speak of- absolutely unprepared to enter workforce. Now my sister is stuck paying off massive student loans.

School has really great career counselling-not sure about the previous post. A major and what connections you make during your time there can definitely impact whether you end up ready to enter the workforce. If you can afford it, it’s a nice alternative to a busy public university. Just my .02.