What is reasonable to pay for a college education?

<p>The answer, it seems, is only what you can afford. Suze Orman talks about comparing the expected income after 4 years of college to what you plan to borrow. Read here for the full article:</p>

<p>Suze</a> Orman: Redefine a child's 'dream school' ? USATODAY.com</p>

<p>Do you agree with her points or do you think that you should go to the best possible college you can get into regardless of cost?</p>

<p>*or do you think that you should go to the best possible college you can get into regardless of cost? *</p>

<p>No...that would be likely bit you in the fanny later.</p>

<p>What is reasonable to pay? For each student/family the answer is different. The amount should be affordable without jeopardizing parents' retirement, paying for family expenses, or siblings' future college costs, and without incurring too much debt.</p>

<p>The least expensive school that has respectable programs in the student's areas of interest and that will allow the student to take a rigorous course of study.</p>

<p>I love how they used Harvard's picture and the caption: Is attending Harvard worth Bankruptcy. Shows how much research the reporter did. </p>

<p>The reporter wrote that SUze said:</p>

<p>
[quote]

If that means focusing your search on less expensive, in-state public universities, so be it.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>For families making 60-180K with normal assets, if their child is admitted, they would pay approximately 10% of their income. A price putting them in line with or less expensive than attending their local state university. The truth is that some families the best colleges that your child can get into, may end up being the most affordable college for you family.</p>

<p>The best college is an urban legend. There is no such thing. College is a consumer choice, like other consumer choices. I live in a plain old house ... nothing fancy. My best friend lives in a large, fancy home. Both of our homes serve their purpose well. My friend can afford her home without difficulty, and it is great for her. I can afford my home without difficulty, and it is great for me. Sure, I would like to have her house ... but that is just not an option financially. Colleges are like that.</p>

<p>And yes, the point that Harvard can be more affordable than a state school is the truth for some.</p>

<p>I've said it before. In 99.99% of cases (unless you want to be an investment banker for instance) it makes NO difference where you get your undergrad degree. Once you get your first job no one cares about your degree. It is a check box on an app that is all. What matters is your performance on the job. </p>

<p>Go to the least expensive quality school that offers your degree. In most cases this is your public flagship. If you want "prestige" save it for your grad degree. From where you get your grad degree does matter. </p>

<p>I've hired dozens of people over my career. Except for an entry level position I've never cared about where the undergrad degree was from. Even entry level not so much. I don't know of any hiring managers that care either. </p>

<p>Save your money.</p>

<p>I don't agree that it makes no difference where you get your degree in terms of future opportunities far past your first job. I think people who've gone to top colleges have felt the advantage all of their lives. I know my peers have.</p>

<p>I do agree that college shouldn't bankrupt you. It is indeed a consumer product and it's makes no more sense to go to a college you can't afford than it does to buy a car you can't afford. Is it worth a small stretch sometimes? Yes IMO if it will really help a student. Maybe one with LDs who will do best at a school with more support or a highly gifted student with a very top college opportunity.</p>

<p>^^^^^^^</p>

<p>I am speaking from experience. It makes no difference. The question is not even asked in an interview or considered when reviewing resumes. There are minor exceptions to this like investment banking. </p>

<p>I know several Harvard & Princeton grads that are out of work. I also know many tier 4 grads that are extremely successful. Where you get the piece of paper from does not matter. What you do with it does. </p>

<p>If you are a professional ask yourself when you have been asked in interview where you went to college. Does not happen. Employers want to know your experience. </p>

<p>College is an investment. You need to look at return. Graduating from a "top" undergrad with a mountain of debt vs getting the same degree from a public with little debt makes no sense. The snob appeal is not worth it.</p>

<p>Waverly, from reading your post above, can I make a reasonable assumption that you didn't go to a top tier (whatever that means) school? Well, because you said:</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think people who've gone to top colleges have felt the advantage all of their lives. I know my peers have.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If you did, you'd say "I know I have", right? But, now that you are their peers, and they are your peers, not your bosses, then it proves the point that you don't really have to go to a top tier school! You work side by side with them and probably they don't make more than what you make. And when you go after the next job, won't your future employer be more interested in what/how you are doing in your current job than what school you went to many moons ago?</p>

<p>And for those who can't go to a top college, read this and don't feel bad. There are always hopes and dreams and opportunities to be conquered. I am sure no one on cc has ever heard of Southeastern...</p>

<p>I excerpted here and there from an article...</p>

<p>Bret Packard (SE 87) packed up his Southeastern degree in Economics and headed west, little knowing he would wind up WAY east.
His first job after graduation was as a teller for Citibank in Las Vegas, Nevada. Surely that was a reflection of an adventurous spirit[...]</p>

<p>Thereafter, he accepted branch management in San Francisco, eventually over-seeing 25 branches in the Bay area.[...]</p>

<p>Japan beckoned, and for 19 years he lived there, growing the business units for Citibank.[...]</p>

<p>Barclays Bank recruited him [...] he was the head of premier and liabilities, after nearly three years as managing director of Barclays financial planning and premier banking.[...]
Today Packard is the Managing Director, Southern Africa, with an address in Dubai UAE.
[...]</p>

<p>Jvtdad, I went to Harvard. As did my husband, much of our family and many of our friends.</p>

<p>I'm not saying that a top college is the only place people succeed from, I'm saying in my experience top schools confer advantages for a lifetime. Many of my college friends, for example, don't use conventional menthols for finding a job, they use the college network.</p>

<p>For my own job two, three and four, hardly in banking but in admissions and school counseling, I would not have gotten the jobs had I not gone to college at one of very few schools. </p>

<p>There are negatives too. Many won't hire top school grads for their own reasons. But a top school, for many, is a gift that just keeps giving. The many shakers in the world who went to these schools like, most, often feel most comfortable with members of their club. That's certainly been my family's four generation experience.</p>

<p>I agree with Waverly. These top schools come with connections, which have a tremendous value in the job market. It is for this reason that I have asked which school for my S. Admittedly at this time we don't have a huge number of offers on the table, but they'll be coming. We too wonder "how much $ is worth it?".</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm not saying that a top college is the only place people succeed from, I'm saying in my experience top schools confer advantages for a lifetime.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>OK, that's a fair statement.</p>

<p>Waverly, I am willing to bet the success of those in your circle could be attributed more to background than to the school itself. If your family is full of Harvard grads, you most likely have a privileged/connected background. </p>

<p>I mentor a young man who attended a top LAC. He is incredibly hard-working, and he got to know his professors very well. He had terrific recommendations. He discovered that his classmates who were from wealthy/well-connected backgrounds had a much easier time securing internships than he. Someone knew someone else ... The network works for some, but not all. He went through a period of great jealousy, because it seemed so easy for some ... and he felt that those students had no idea how lucky they were. They expected it to work out. He, on the other hand, had to forge his own path. </p>

<p>Perhaps I am overstating things, but I have found that much in life is about who you know, and some folks just know more people in certain positions.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>My experience too. In 25 years in consulting, and dozens of pre-engagement interviews, I was asked where I went to college perhaps five times. I went to a school that no one would consider "prestigious," and it never hampered me. Contacts, reputation, demonstrated understanding of the client's problem, experience in helping clients solve similar problems, and how you present yourself in the interview - those are all critical. The name on the bottom of the piece of parchment isn't.</p>

<p>Kelsmom, I also have mentored many from underprivileged backgrounds over the years. I think teaching these students how to use the networks is part of their education. This isn't something most learned growing up, so it can be a disadvantage. I see alum of top colleges and prep schools standing ready to help kids from all corners.</p>

<p>Annasdad, again, I think people can be successful from anywhere. Certainly the majority of highly successful people did not attend an ivy league school. My point is that elite colleges make it easier to be highly successful for the sub 1% that attend them. If you look at the elite consulting firms it's clear that a very disproportionate percent of their
partners attended elite schools. It doesn't mean all highly successful consultants went to one, but it's impossible to deny that the extremely high paid partners at Bain, BCG, McKinsey and the like making millions each year are very likely to have an ivy or peer name on their resume.</p>

<p>Waverly,</p>

<p>As you know, in the Academic world there are certain names that will get you in a door a lot faster than others. Harvard happens to be one of those names. You also know by this point in your career that to a great extent this is nothing more than academic snobbery, and does not remotely reflect on whether or not the person who got in that door first is going to do a significantly better job.</p>

<p>That your college friends use their college network to find jobs is not something that is exclusive to Harvard. Every college and university that I know of has an alum network. I know of plenty of places where a Harvard grad won't even find out about job openings because the Fill-in-home-state-public-U-name-here alum network has everything sewn up.</p>

<p>There is a huge difference between four generations at Harvard, and generation one. I was generation one at a Harvard-level institution and I remain skeptical of the "advantages" for a student in that situation. Yes, if your college/university will throw enough money at you so that it is no more expensive than the other place(s) on your list, go to "top school". But if you are going to graduate with one cent more of debt, or your parents are going to have to put their own lives on hold so that you can have this luxury (and it truly is a luxury), then make a more affordable decision.</p>

<p>But would people who have graduated from those schools that are considered at the top of the pile have been just as successful had they gone some place else? My guess is that most of them would think that they would have done just as well.</p>

<p>Happymom, certainly every one has different experiences at one place. My best friend in the world and my freshmen year roommate was a first gen Harvard (and any college) student from a NYC ghetto. So I'm not blind to the range of experiences. Studies show she had more to gain than I did, and that certainly turned out to be true.</p>

<p>I simply don't know anyone who does not feel their Harvard education was not a tremendous benefit to them and has not opened doors throughout their life. I saw that in my class thirty years ago in in my children's classes today. It's certainly not just Harvard, but I've never seen a state school with this kind if network. Not even close. What I find, as studies have, is that strong networks come from pride in place.
That's hard to find in the average red tape, can't get your class, institutions many are today.</p>

<p>As I said in my first post in this thread, in no way do I endorse overspending on college. That's hardly ever an issue at Harvard though. I think you've got to be nuts to go into big debt for any college. But that, and whether some colleges give you advantages for life, are different issues.</p>

<p>West Point, while not a state school, has a very strong network. Just sayin'.</p>