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University of Pitt Main Campus versus Branch Campus and Co-Ops versus Internships

CollegefrazzledCollegefrazzled 84 replies4 threads Junior Member
edited November 2019 in University of Pittsburgh
My son is attending Pitt Johnstown majoring in Computer Engineering. He wants to transfer to the main campus this Fall (Junior Year). It will cost about 28K more for the 2 years at the Main campus versus finishing at Johnstown. My son feels the additional expenses are well worth it because he will receive a better education and have more opportunities to obtain an internship or a co-op since the main campus is where the Co-Op office is located. The main campus also has more professors and classes so there will be less scheduling conflicts. Do you think he is better off at the main campus? Are Co-ops beneficial? From what I understand he would participate in a paid Co-Op for 3 semesters With a co-op he would have to go an extra semester to graduate. Would he be better off doing an internship in the summer so he doesn't have to go an extra semester?
edited November 2019
9 replies
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Replies to: University of Pitt Main Campus versus Branch Campus and Co-Ops versus Internships

  • mommdcmommdc 11646 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I was just thinking of you and your son the other day.
    I remember that Pitt Johnstown was the best financial option for him for his major at the time.
    Even the $13,000 a year it was going to cost after scholarship and student loan seemed like it was a challenge.

    Has this changed? Has your son worked in the summer and saved up some money?

    Has your financial situation changed?

    Will you have another college student?

    Is he guaranteed transfer to Pitt main? Will all if his credits count?

    Instate engineering tuition fees are about $21,000.
    He can borrow $7,500 the last two years.
    So the tuition fees will be about the same $13,000 cost.

    He would need to find roommates to share an off campus apartment with. That might be about $600 a month or so, and food.

    He might or might not need a car for coops.

    Do you have extra $10,000 that this might cost?

    He should reach out to the main campus computer engineering department and coop office to see what kind of coop jobs he could be placed at. And how much they pay.
    I assume he would help pay living expenses with those earnings.

    One good thing with paying rent and groceries, the expenses can be spread out over the semester, it's not all due at once like with the university bill.

    Most leases in Pittsburgh go from August to end of July, so if they renew their lease then he would have housing for summer coop or classes as well.

    I do think that coops are helpful for engineering, to both give them practical experience, and possibly even a job offer before graduation.

    I don't know if coops and internships have the same importance in all engineering specialties.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79680 replies712 threads Senior Member
    A co-op can be thought of like a longer internship (summer + semester instead of just a summer). It will delay graduation by a semester, but it will be paid and without tuition expense. Either co-op or internship can have living expenses based on location, so the net savings available to pay future college costs from pay minus living expenses can vary based on pay level and location over the duration.
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  • CollegefrazzledCollegefrazzled 84 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @mommdc Thank you for your information. I didn't even think about spreading out the rent and groceries. Great point!

    I decided to take more out of our savings to help pay for his tuition. My son worked this past summer but only made about $3,000. I told him he will have to help pay for his groceries and going out with his friends.

    I do believe all of his credits will transfer and he plans on renting a house with his friends who are currently attending. He will have to fill out a request to transfer to the main campus to confirm he will be able to transfer. They have limited openings. I still am unsure about what to do, but he is positive transferring to the main campus is the right decision. It seems like just yesterday we were making a decision about what college to attend.
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  • CollegefrazzledCollegefrazzled 84 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus thank you. still not sure which one to pursue. Will leave it up to my son to decide
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  • mommdcmommdc 11646 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    With the Pitt coop program, from what I saw on the computer engineering website, they do three industry rotations, alternating with semesters taking classes.

    For example, he might start with fall semester of junior year taking classes, then do coop in the spring, then take classes in the summer, then do coop in fall of senior year, then take classes in the spring, and do coop in the summer.

    He would only pay tuition in the semester he takes classes, there is a coop fee (not sure how much) in the other semesters, but he would be earning money.

    So hopefully he can pay for his living expenses with savings and coop earnings, maybe even part of tuition.
    Then if you can afford to pay for tuition and fees (he can also take out his student loans to help with that), then it might be affordable.

    Depending on the computer engineering program, his existing credits, and maybe AP credits, he might need an extra semester, or he might not.

    edited December 2019
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  • CollegefrazzledCollegefrazzled 84 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @mommdc Thank you. Now we have to see if he can transfer as space is limited
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  • mommdcmommdc 11646 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Best wishes to your son!
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  • CollegefrazzledCollegefrazzled 84 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @mommdc - thank you. He will not be transferring to the main campus. We found out that they revamped their curriculum so he would be behind 3 classes. It's not feasible to try to make these classes up. Now we are trying to decide whether he should do an internship or a co-op. If he does a co-op he would have to go an extra semester to graduate but it would be good experience for him. Not sure what to do
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  • mommdcmommdc 11646 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I don't know much about engineering but I generally think that coops can be very helpful.

    Some students do them in the summer.

    Can he reach out to his department or career services and see if other computer engineering students got jobs right after graduation or if doing coop to get practical experience is important.

    For coops they usually earn good money I think and you don't have to pay tuition for that semester, just a coop fee I think. Of course he would need to live somewhere if it's not close to home.
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