Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
College tuition: How much is too much?
Old 04-17-2019, 06:48 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 348
College tuition: How much is too much?

DS was fortunate to have been accepted by 7 universities. Now he has less than 2 weeks left to make a decision. All of the schools at the top of his list are out of state, and his #1 choice (Univ. of Washington) is very competitive for admittance so they only give academic scholarships if you walk on water (we do not qualify for need based scholarship). Several of the other out-of-state schools have offered meager ($10k/yr) to very generous ($27k/yr) scholarships. He wants to study social psychology (research type work), and will need a Masters at a minimum and possibly a Phd.

For the undergrad degree, is $37K/yr for tuition ($53k/yr tuition+living) too much to spend on college? I run every spending decision through a cost vs value decision in my head and this one is really hard for me to swallow. DS is feeling this as well, which is why he hasn't committed yet. We've had many discussions about possibly needing student loans, or doing his graduate work part-time while he works. Are we paying for the name recognition? For comparison, the other schools range between $23K-44K/year for tuition+living expenses, after scholarships.

We have about $155K in 529s and the additional cost wouldn't be a major hardship, my question is more about the future value of his education. How do you know if you are over buying? Does anyone have real world experience on what a research psychologist can earn? What I find online is about $110K on the high end and, in my opinion, it would seem that this school would be too much. But I really don't know. I don't want my kid to the one who spent $300K on college for career that pays $65K/yr.

btw, WA makes gaining residency extremely difficult in order to be eligible for in-state tuition, so that is off the table for us. The school does, however, offer academic scholarships for sophomores on up, so (fingers-crossed) he could get some of those, but I don't want to bank on that.

If he chooses Univ of WA, I guess I'll be posting in the Blow That Dough thread!
__________________

ocean view is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-17-2019, 07:18 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Florence, AL/Helen, GA
Posts: 3,620
To be accepted by so many universities points that your son is truly special. My congratulations to him and your parenting.

My cousin's son had a full scholarship in psychology in a local large state university, and he graduated a year ago from the honors college. He's now working in the florist department at Whole Foods. He's just enjoying life living in a great large city.

There are many job directions that psychology majors can go into. But to make a good living in the field often requires at least a Masters Degree with a number of state licenses that take many years to earn. I would think that any research jobs in psychology comes from being in a graduate program. But I have no idea whether the return is worth the investment.

I'm just thankful that higher education is generally less expensive in my region than in many parts of this country.
__________________

Bamaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 07:23 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Austin
Posts: 333
Assuming you are in Ca, there should be plenty in state options.

How much psychology related studies did he do so far? He may very well change his minds in college. Lowest tuition might be the way to go.

On the other hand, my daughter asked me the other day what’s the value of paying 200k more, I told her college is like traveling. You pay for the experience.
HillCountry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 07:43 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 6,614
I would look at what the colleges require at the undergrad level. Will the student really need the specialty value of the college at the undergrad level? I'd agree that many students change their major and rethink their goals while in college. I suspect few go in a straight line to an MS or PhD.
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 07:44 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,059
This is a tough decision that I too will soon be facing. DC is a Junior in high school and has started looking at possible colleges. I am also biased in that I teach college level, and get to see my share of students wasting their own/parents/Government's money on a college education with a not so great payoff after graduation. On the other hand, since I teach computer science, there is a good payoff for many who can stick it out.

A $250K Nut (which is where you would likely end up after 4 years @ $53K known) is a large chunk of change. Having the degree from a high end university does have value, but that value is somewhat dependent on where they intend to go post college. For instance, having an Ivy league degree does carry considerable weight in terms of a Wall Street job.

I've been tempted to tell DC that there is a pot of money to be used. If they want to use it for a more expensive school (and use it all up), then so be it. If they want to use less of it because they found an place that is good enough (but less expensive), then the rest of the money is theirs to keep. But I honestly don't know whether that is the right way to go.
copyright1997reloaded is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 07:59 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 3,617
Unfortunately you're in kind of a bind now because it's gotten to this point without having a serious talk about how to pay for college.

It sounds like in general he's choosing and you're paying. That is the same as my three kids and me. Since I'm paying, I have established limits and conditions on me spending on their college. I suggest you do the same, even though it's late in the game. "We'll pay $X per year under conditions X, Y, and Z." Where the variables are what you're willing to do. Maybe you pay $40K a year and he has to come up with scholarships or loans for the rest. Or you pay the first three years and he pays the last. Or you pay until the 529 runs out, then he's on his own. And he has to work summer jobs, or maintain a B average, or maintain academic progress, or go to community college for the first two years or whatever. As long as the dollar amounts and limits/conditions are reasonable and measurable and approximately consistent with what you've already said, I think he'll be OK.

University of Washington is a decently good school. However, a psychology degree is a psychology degree, and to my knowledge it is not very marketable at all at the bachelor's level. If he's going to graduate school anyway, then where he gets his graduate degrees will probably matter more from a career point of view. So really all you're paying for if he chooses UW is that it's his first choice school and he might be happy there. You'll have to decide if that's worth paying for. (As I write that I wonder if I've ever been truly happy as the result of paying for something. Can't think of anything that fits.)

Would you be willing to share what the other schools are? How does he feel about #2 through #7?
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 08:02 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Florence, AL/Helen, GA
Posts: 3,620
My best friend got his Masters in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

He and his fellow students were in awe that so many undergraduates were paying the ultra-high tuition to go to that university when they never met, saw or were ever taught by the famous professors at the undergraduate level. It was like the undergraduates were supplementing the costs of the students in graduate school.

His idea was to go to a less expensive undergraduate college/university and do well. Then if they are motivated and think the return is worth the investment, go on to graduate school in a highly rated competitive university.
Bamaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 08:11 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
FlaGator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: The 850
Posts: 546
If the kid needs a Master's or PhD to have a viable career in that field, strongly suggest he do the undergrad work in-state and spend that kind of money on the graduate work.

Personally, there is no way I'd spend 250K on a degree that left one of my kids unemployable in their field without further education.
__________________
Stay at home slacker dad since 2015
FlaGator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 722
In a recent posting on a jobs board- "The most common job for psych majors after college is a barista."


I don't want to pile on with a 'don't waste your money on a degree that isn't going to result in a great job", because college is not just about the end being a decent job. But I agree with others- get your undergrad degree somewhere affordable, and then grad school at a different school, or wherever there might be grad assistant-ships. I think it is realistic to ask what the planned end-game is, because there are a number of majors where the degree qualifies you for grad school to eventually become academia who teach students whose only career path ends with academia. Sorta like a multi-level marketing scheme.
__________________
In alcohol's defense- I've made some pretty bad decisions while completely sober.
Clone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 08:18 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ivinsfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,452
I'm with Gator here, if you are looking at the total cost of getting your son an employable degree, adding on several years of post grad gets very costly.

Grad school is expensive.... Why did he apply to 7 different schools? At least you have had a few discussions about finances before your DS picks his school. Kudos to you for making that happen.
ivinsfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 08:32 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
Kwirk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 265
I went off to college in the late '60s. My parents made no contribution yet the times were such that I could go almost wherever I wished without incurring great debt. I greatly appreciate the opportunity that I had and I wish it were available to students today.

Fortunately, I was able to offer my 2 children the same opportunity. They chose and I paid. DD has attended state schools that have been no great strain. DS attended a private high-price out-of-state engineering school. I doubt that his school was worth the price but I view it as paying forward.
__________________
Prepare for the future. Everything changes.
Kwirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 09:07 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6,493
I think you can't go wrong making decisions like you would in a business project. Look at factors like job demand outlook, salary potential, ROI, pay back period, etc. All those numbers are online and free on sites like - Payscale reports by major and college, College Scorecard and the Job Outlook Handbook.

I don't know anything about psychology majors but $250K could buy a house in many parts of the country. Community college plus 2 years at San Jose State at ~$8K tuition per year in computer engineering would lead to a $93K median starting salary (2016 - 2017 figures).
__________________
Even clouds seem bright and breezy, 'Cause the livin' is free and easy, See the rat race in a new way, Like you're wakin' up to a new day (Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether lyrics, Alan Parsons Project, based on an EA Poe story)
daylatedollarshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 09:12 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 3,617
Another thought:

My son was able to ask his university for their placement data for recent graduates. The data allowed my son to drill down by college, by department, by major, etc. and see where recent graduates went to work or grad school, what the starting salary was, and lots of other information.

Maybe UW has similar information. If it's good, they should have no problem sharing it with you. If they won't share it with you, I think you have to ask yourself why.
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 10:32 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Teacher Terry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 4,013
Even people with doctoral degrees are having trouble getting full time jobs because of all the adjuncts they are hiring. I know from personal experience don’t spend a bunch of money on psychology degree.
Teacher Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 10:59 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Spending the Kids Inheritance and living in Chicago
Posts: 7,212
OP - Take undergrad psych degree wherever it is cheapest. Child will need a PHD to work, and people will only care where the PHD was done.

You could send your child to the best Canadian University as a foreign student for a LOT less money, look up McGill, Toronto University,

https://www.timeshighereducation.com...rsities-canada
"
Canada is home to some of the world’s top universities. In fact, 27 Canadian institutions are counted among the best in the world, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019.
You might not have heard of all of them, but with nine universities in the top 200, Canada offers plenty of opportunities for a world-class education.
Compared with the US, Canada can also provide cheaper study options, simpler application processes and more opportunities for permanent residency. "


Honestly a psych degree is worthless these days, I know I have one. Had to go back and get a degree in a paying field.
__________________
Fortune favors the prepared mind. ... Louis Pasteur
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2019, 11:04 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 348
Thanks all for your thoughts so far. You've given DH and I some homework for tomorrow. Lots more to discuss between us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillCountry View Post
Assuming you are in Ca, there should be plenty in state options.

How much psychology related studies did he do so far?
We are in CA and he applied to 4 in-state schools. He was accepted by 2 CSUs (San Diego and Monterey Bay), wait listed for UC Santa Cruz, denied for UC San Diego. And since he was in the top 9% of seniors in the state the UC system guarantees him a spot "somewhere" if none of his UC applications result in an offer, so technically there is a spot for him at UC Merced (otherwise known as "somewhere").

He's only taken AP Psychology in high school. It was the only psych course offered. He got an A in the class and a 5 on the AP exam and loved every minute of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
Unfortunately you're in kind of a bind now because it's gotten to this point without having a serious talk about how to pay for college.

It sounds like in general he's choosing and you're paying. That is the same as my three kids and me. Since I'm paying, I have established limits and conditions on me spending on their college. I suggest you do the same, even though it's late in the game. "We'll pay $X per year under conditions X, Y, and Z." Where the variables are what you're willing to do. Maybe you pay $40K a year and he has to come up with scholarships or loans for the rest. Or you pay the first three years and he pays the last. Or you pay until the 529 runs out, then he's on his own. And he has to work summer jobs, or maintain a B average, or maintain academic progress, or go to community college for the first two years or whatever. As long as the dollar amounts and limits/conditions are reasonable and measurable and approximately consistent with what you've already said, I think he'll be OK.

Would you be willing to share what the other schools are? How does he feel about #2 through #7?
We have been talking about how to pay for college since he submitted his applications in November. I even put together a spreadsheet comparing each school's fees in detail, side by side. It lives on the kitchen counter. We all look at it and discuss it every day. We have talked about your suggestion - the 529 balance is what we have saved and when it is gone we will help you apply for loans; in the meantime, you might need to pick up an on-campus job during the school year and work during the summer. He gets its. And he already knows that B's are the expected grades. I don't have any doubts that the majority of his grades will be B's or higher.

Schools 2, 3 & 4 are U of Oregon, U of Hawaii & CSU Monterey Bay (listed in order of cost, high to low, not his preference as they are all tied for second place. These are the schools that are still in contention. He's made pro/con lists for all of them, but none of them even come close to how he feels about UW.

Schools 5, 6 & 7 are U of Arizona, San Diego State & U of New Mexico. UNM, with the scholarship they offered and LCOL is the cheapest of all). for various reasons he has knocked these guys out of the race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivinsfan View Post
Why did he apply to 7 different schools?
He applied to 9 schools in total, as I mentioned above, the two UCs didn't give him offers. The high school counselors recommend applying to 7-9 schools, so after much culling of his list, he came down to 9. We didn't expect him to get so many offers, so I thought this part would be made easier with just fewer choices available to him. UW & UO were his "reach" schools and they both gave him offers. Who knew?

Community college is brought up regularly, but he really wants to go to proper university away from home. Once he sets him mind to something it's hard to steer him away.

He is young for his grade; he may still be 16 for a few days at the start of the fall term depending on the state date. I'm sure that has something to do with his indecision. Academically, he is more than ready. And because of his academic ability, I worry that CC, the CSU schools and U Hawaii will not be academically challenging enough for him. That is one reason that we haven't just said NO to UW....
ocean view is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2019, 12:24 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gcgang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,221
In a similar boat with my daughter. We've got plenty $ in UTMA/529 to pay full price, but am debating the wisdom of it.

Anyone here go to school on an athletic scholarship? Fordham has offered her over 1/2 cost athletic scholarship (track, XC). I've heard stories of schools telling scholarship people, "you're job is to play. Just pass your classes enough to stay eligible." Hope that's not the case.

She only has small academic $ to her other top choice, Baylor. Coach tells her she can walk on, maybe earn a scholarship next year. But this way, she doesn't have to run if she doesn't want to. But it's going to cost about $20k/yr more. Academics at Baylor seem to fit her interests better. But Waco? Lol.

She understands the UTMA $ is hers, but I don't think she fully understands what that $ means. But she doesn't want to spend $ if she doesn't need to. Yay.

I will support her in whatever she chooses (and probably will end up paying a bunch of her costs myself, letting her keep the UTMA $).
__________________
In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. YB
gcgang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2019, 12:28 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 15,294
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
If the kid needs a Master's or PhD to have a viable career in that field, strongly suggest he do the undergrad work in-state and spend that kind of money on the graduate work.

Personally, there is no way I'd spend 250K on a degree that left one of my kids unemployable in their field without further education.



+1 on this... it is rare that a degree is worth the $250K vs the $100K or so for in state school... my all in cost for in state school is about $20K to $25K... but DS is in a 5 year program...


Remember, things can change... DS found a GF last summer and she moved in with him... I kept asking is she was paying her half of expenses and he kept telling me she was... found out it was not so... I do not plan on paying the living expenses of his GF...



She has applied for admission but will not get in the same university... my brother said to not be surprised if DS transfers to a different uni that is not anywhere as good... we will see.


Remember... they are adults and will need to make a decision on their own...
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2019, 01:00 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,137
I know the UW well and even though I think itís a great school, Iím not convinced itís worth the money for out of state, especially for an undergrad. If he was considering it for a grad program, then my answer might be different (depending on the program). Or if he was direct admit to CompSci. Thatíd also be worth it.

Iím not that familiar with the psych major, but I know a lot of intro classes have large class sizes. Have you looked at the time schedules for the UW? This will give you an idea of how many students to expect in the classes.

So I took a quick look and last fall, there were 3 psych 101 sections each with over 400 students (440 was the highest). Thatís a lot of students in a single class.

In the sciences, the lectures are handled by professors, but the actual grading and tutorial/quiz sections are handled by grad students (TAs). You might already know this, but if not, you definitely want to take this into consideration. Iím also not sure if this is true for non-science courses, so maybe itís not an issue?

Personally, Iíd save the money for grad school, unless you really believe your son will get a better education at the UW versus the alternatives.

Thatís where Iím at with DD right now. Sheís also a senior in HS and needs to commit in the next couple of weeks. In her case, itíll probably be a smaller in-state private university. We visited last Monday and we both really liked it, primarily because of smaller class sizes (<30 per class) and a better sense of community. Itíll cost more than a public university, but in her case, I think sheíll get a better education than if she went to a public university, so itís money well spent.
__________________
Eat, Drink and Be Merry.
tulak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2019, 01:07 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,147
I pretty much agree with everyone who said that for psychology don't spend a lot of money for the undergraduate degree. He will need a graduate degree to work in the field and the grad school is far more important. Even then I would be OK with a decent school that wasn't the most expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocean view View Post
T
Community college is brought up regularly, but he really wants to go to proper university away from home. Once he sets him mind to something it's hard to steer him away.
Where I live some community college actually have dorms and you can stay in one even in community college. Also, in terms of steering him away when he sets his mind to it, this is one situation where it is pretty easy. For example, you could say "We will pay for you to attend community college for 1 year and then you can transfer and we will pay for university." Or "we will pay for any in state school you can get into." I mean -- this is your money. It is up to you what you pay for. If he wants to go someplace that isn't a good value, then he is free to get loans and pay for it himself (or at least for the difference beyond what you would pay).

Quote:
He is young for his grade; he may still be 16 for a few days at the start of the fall term depending on the state date. I'm sure that has something to do with his indecision. Academically, he is more than ready. And because of his academic ability, I worry that CC, the CSU schools and U Hawaii will not be academically challenging enough for him. That is one reason that we haven't just said NO to UW....
My son started college when he was 16. And actually, he had only recently turned 16 (he graduated high school at 15). Looking at it several years later, I am so, so, so glad that we insisted that he live at home and go to CC starting out. That way, it really wasn't quite so bad economically when he changed his major 5 times! Let's see. He started out as computer science, switched to English (he loved his English course), switched to Accounting (loved his Accounting elective), switched to general business (didn't love his second Accounting course), switched to psychology (just because he likes psychology), and then switched back to computer science just as he was transferring to the university. No, he did not graduate in 4 years. Yes, he did graduate. With a computer science degree.

I am not saying your son will change his major that many times. But, it really is fairly typical for people to change their major. And, that is OK. That is part of what college is for. Taking courses is often how people figure out what they are going to major in. I think it is lot easier to do this experimentation at a lower cost school.

So I would either do community college or a state school.
__________________

Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What does your kid get besides (perhaps) some college tuition? Nords Young Dreamers 35 07-24-2008 01:14 PM
State residency for Armed Forces personnels for in-state college tuition. Sam Other topics 9 07-30-2007 05:06 PM
Predicting college tuition... Xtreme Cowboy Other topics 11 06-16-2007 09:50 AM
Quick Tax Question re Tuition Deduction TromboneAl FIRE and Money 19 01-31-2007 12:22 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:19 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.