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Old 06-25-2007, 05:22 PM   #21
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Youbet I know every kid is different . Being this is my 4th we've visited many colleges over the years. I'm just having a hard time accepting that my tight hands are going to need to open up be cause this is more than likely a great fit for her.
It been good to hear that there are people who are frugal who have felt thier high tuition costs were worth it.
I definately find it it harder to spend more money on things that will do, just to have better, like updating a waterheater or apliances before it breaks or cosmetic braces, new house siding. What do you hate to spend money on?
5j404 - just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from: the car I'm driving now is the most expensive, by almost double, I've ever owned - a 1993 BMW 525it. Paid $3400 for it. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without has been my dictum, along with live well below your means, for uhmm - my life? St John's was worth it for me -but!- Bank of Mom & Dad were not involved. How long does the kid have to be emancipated before her finances alone are considered? This bit where Mom & Dad foot the bill into the college years at the expense of their retirement kinda escapes me. But so does buying the kid a car. How is the kid supposed to value something that costs them nothing?
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Old 06-25-2007, 05:30 PM   #22
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both my sisters went to good schools - older one ended up a makeup artist (after 3 mths at makeup school, after undergrad and working a few years) and the other one finished her undergrad and now is in for 4 more years (i think 2 years left) of art school (pricey private) for interior design.

moral is - how many 17-18 year olds really know what they want to do? i don't think a pricey private would have made a difference for either of them.

i don't know a lot about st. john's but make sure it gives her the opportunity to explore what she really wants. and make sure she isn't going to get that at the public U if she's not going down that road. would you feel resentful if she went to 4 years at st john's with no further idea of what to do?
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:09 PM   #23
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Nords thread about college tours has me wondering about our next year's choice and Nords both spoke about St. John's being a great liberal art's education.. But is it really worth the cost?

It's a school my DD is very excited about but at $40- $45,000 a year VS $12-$15 at VA state school. I'm having a hard time being convinced any college is worth that much. It means a difference of over $100,000. Having had 3 kids go the State school route... it really is worth the excess cost. I was for it till we realized there is No Merit aid, only financial need based and since we've saved and LBOM it's all on our dime. It would mean DH giving up his ER and going back at least PT or me going FT.

Are Private schools really worth the extra cost?
We looked at it this way. If a state school is $15k and St. Johns is $40K, what incremental value am I receiving for the additional $25K?.

We concluded that spending that much on an undergraduate education was not a good value. Graduate school is a different matter. I think spending the money on graduate school is a better choice.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:37 PM   #24
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We looked at it this way. If a state school is $15k and St. Johns is $40K, what incremental value am I receiving for the additional $25K?.
Of course, in some situations, the $40K private school gives more than $25K incremental value over the $15K public school.

If I could do it without too much sacrifice for myself or the family, I'd send the child in question to both a top notch private undergrad school, if that's what she wanted, and to a top notch grad school. If the sacrifice would be too painful for myself or too unfair to the rest of the family, it would be State U for undergrad and Big Bux U for grad.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:48 PM   #25
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I'm just having a hard time accepting that my tight hands are going to need to open up be cause this is more than likely a great fit for her.
Of course. Just be glad you can do it........ And congratulations on launching four!
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:08 AM   #26
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Private Colleges do cost more than Puiblic. If your kid has the grades and class rank, there can be some good scholarship money to help defray the private cost - for us the private ones were more aggressive in this area.

But a critical factor is how long it takes to get the degree. I think private schools are very good at getting the kid done in 4 years..that's been the case with my three. I hear 6 years at big public schools is not that unusual. So four years at private with hopefully scholarship and grant money vs. maybe 6 or ? years at public with perhaps not so much incentives. The cost difference shrinks, plus I think a small private school that is a good fit for your kid and endeavors to educate the whole person, has a supportive environment provided by the administration and faculty is worth the premium if you can swing it. Not to say public can't do the same, but that wasn't my experience at the state school I went to in Illinois.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:09 AM   #27
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Well, I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm going to share my philosophy regarding my responsibility to put my kids through college.

I am simply not willing to stay extra years in the saddle to pay for a gold-plated degree that doesn't provide any more return on the investment. I priced out the cost of a 4-year state education. I deducted the money that had been saved in UGMA accounts over the years by banking their Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend cheques. I deducted reasonable savings from summer jobs. I agreed with the ex on a ratio for the two of us to cover the rest. I stuck the money in a bank account and dole it out year by year.

If they want to go somewhere more expensive, then they are on the hook to find funding for it. If they want to go to grad school, funding is usually more available for that, although I might be convinced to "reopen" negotiations at that point.

I want my sons to take the major responsibility in providing their education. I want to be strictly in a supporting role. I think that's a major part of the battle.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:58 PM   #28
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Bosco - In theory I agree with you. Kids need to be responxible for their education. Parents need to stay in a supporting role.
We worked it out so that the other kids all had final choice their school, their major and where they would live. They had to pay their books and day to day living expenses and a reasonable portion of the tuition /board costs - (We tooked the formular of the amount of weeks the had they had in the summer , 40 hrs Week at X $ Hr. and they had to contribute that too. If they didn't work hard one summer they would need to borrow that.)

In reality this kid may need the different enviroment to soar, and the only way it can happen for her is if we choose help more, even as she works (apply for scholarships, saving, summer jobs, afterschool jobs).

Then again maybe she'll really fit at another school as we continue to look. I guess I wish I hadn't pointed this school out to her
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Old 06-26-2007, 04:24 PM   #29
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Trombone Al we've found the same thing- "The problem is that no level of motivation will enable her to get that much dough. No one will lend her that much."
That's why I know a lot of the extra cost will effect how WE GET TO LIVE for the next 5 years If it's a great fit it and she thrives it would be worth the cost but you can't predict how well your kid will do off on there own - and at a net cost of $30,000 more a year (this college gives no scolarships, grants on merit just need based) It's a big gamble. If she makes the most of it awesome if she fumbles ouch .
As a former English major with an advanced degree and a parent of two graduates of private colleges I know a little about this situation. If I were in your situation, I would not send my daughter with writing ambitions to St. John's. It's a college with a very narrow academic program, which is fine and probably wonderful. But a writer needs a wide ranging academic program. Your daughter can read and write just as well in an excellent state university, maybe one with an honors program which has small classes for undergrads. If she wants to work in publishing then the extra money could be used for a Publishing Institute program when she graduates (there are several, such as at the University of Denver), which will help her get a JOB.

I am a huge fan of the small liberal arts college. My son went to Carleton, was able to do research under a professor which allowed him to get a National Science Foundation award as well as excellent recommendations to graduate school. The small college environment has advantages for the undergrad, which the state university can hardly match with its HUGE introductory classes. Many have scholarships for academic achievers. Take a look at first tier colleges farther down the list and those on the second tier. Lots of scholarship money and financial aid. They are excellent!

IMHO, a high school graduate has no idea how important his/her college education will be. They shouldn't be placed in the position of being responsible for making the final decision, neither should they be financially responsible (unless there is no other choice). I put myself through college and graduate school but there was a lot more financial aid available then (circa mid-1970s). Huge college debt is an awful fate to deal with as a new graduate.

That's my take on it. Good luck! It's hard to disappoint your child. My son didn't want to go to Carleton (ugh, those Minnesota winters), but it turned out fantastic for him.
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Old 06-26-2007, 04:40 PM   #30
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Which St. John's is this? NY or MN?

The one in NY is rated 3rd tier among national universities by US News & WR. The one in MN is ranked 69 among Liberal Colleges by the same organization.
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:20 PM   #31
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Which St. John's is this? NY or MN?

The one in NY is rated 3rd tier among national universities by US News & WR. The one in MN is ranked 69 among Liberal Colleges by the same organization.
There maybe as many as 4 that are being talked about here! My youngest son is at St. John's University in Minnesota, daughter went to the sister school College of St. Benedict. CSB/SJU

Just noticed this startling factoid - 81 percent of CSB/SJU students complete their degree; 90 percent of those graduates finish within four years. Nationally, the six-year completion rate is 58 percent of all private college students and 36 percent of public college students.
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:23 PM   #32
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Which St. John's is this? NY or MN?

The one in NY is rated 3rd tier among national universities by US News & WR. The one in MN is ranked 69 among Liberal Colleges by the same organization.
'Scuse me, but I think Oldbabe's talking about my school, St. John's college:
NOT the basketball dominating school. This one:
St. John's College - soccer, ballroom dancing, croquet, sophistry...

Electives? No electives for you! You don't know what you need - we will give you the curriculum that we deem proper. That St. John's.
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:29 PM   #33
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I agree with OldBabe. You need to find a school that prepares her for the job she thinks she wants, but also has other programs should she change her mind. You really need to consider college as an investment in a career. What will give her/you the best return on the money and time?

My DD went to a Jesuit university in California. She wanted engineering and my analysis was that this school did an excellent job transitioning their graduates into the work world (providing additional value) so we said OK. Like many undergrads she changed majors, in her case to finance. Their School of Finance is very selective and highly regarded.

The education she received was top notch and the relationships developed opened doors to a very successful career. Would she be where she is today if she hadn't attended that school? Unless she had attended Stanford, I don't think so. In this case her tuition was a bargain.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:34 PM   #34
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I'm going back to the OP's original question and sound a different note, having gone through this process three times in the last 7 years. IMHO, there are only a few elite private colleges that are worth paying $40-45K a year if you essentially have to put yourself through financial hardship and stress and jeopardize your own retirement security. My list of those schools consists of the usual, well-known suspects, like, for example, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Cal Tech, and MIT. If your child is fortunate to get into these schools, then he or she most assuredly will likely be able to get into the flagship state university. Except for only one of my kids, none of these elite schools was on their radar screen, and fortunately for us, she got waitlisted and then rejected for one of these schools -- we never had to squarely address this issue. However, when it came down to figuring out whether my two daughters should go to Cornell, Duke, Columbia vs. UVa, it was basically a no-brainer for the entire family, including our two daughters.
We all couldn't see paying close to $320K for 8 years at Duke or Cornell vs.
$24K (with schorlarship money) at UVa for an undergraduate education, especially since both of them wanted advance degrees (and the oldest has already received hers) that are more important to their careers than the undergraduate degree!

There are many great small private colleges -- they offer first rate educations and first rate experiences, but the public universities are exceptional too, at a fraction of the cost. And yeah, everyone talks about being lost in the crowd of a big school and graduate assistants teaching classes, but that has to be balanced against the great resources of the public colleges. I think it's fair to say that in many cases, if the school fits the child, no one can really go wrong with the selection.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:47 PM   #35
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Another point (which I may have already made). The best graduate schools in every field realize that undergrads coming out of good small liberal arts colleges are way more prepared for their grad programs than students coming out of State U.

Also, the honors programs at State U are comparable in quality to the small college and a great bargain!
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:31 PM   #36
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Again, OldBabe, you are spot-on.
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:31 AM   #37
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Which St. John's is this? NY or MN?
Gosh, I thought we were talking about the St. John's in Annapolis.

It never occurred to me that there might be more than one. And I bet it never occurred to them, either!
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:24 AM   #38
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Another point (which I may have already made). The best graduate schools in every field realize that undergrads coming out of good small liberal arts colleges are way more prepared for their grad programs than students coming out of State U.
This is really an untested view, right? I doubt this is true for most professional graduate schools, like law schools, business schools, or medical schools, where the specific undergraduate education does not necessarily prepare anyone for advanced professional study. And while St. John's (and perhaps Carelton College) graduates might do well in professional schools, so do graduates from New College of Florida or William & Mary College in Virginia, public colleges with student-faculty ratios of 10-1 or 12-1. And grads from some of the bigger state universities like UVa, UNC, Mich, Berkeley, or UCLA generally fare well in almost all programs. I'm not denigrating the accomplishments of students from small private colleges, but we paint with an exceedingly broad stroke when we say that graduate programs view these graduates better than those from public universities or colleges. And quite simply, there are some programs or studies that are simply not available at the small, elite private colleges like St. John's, where the graduate would have an uphill battle convincing a grad program for admission into a grad program with no antecedent at the small private college.(Maybe a St. John's grad can get into an advanced engineering or physics program at Cal Tech or MIT, but to say that the St. John's student would be better prepared for that grad program through the 100 great books program than a student getting a traditional B.S. in Engineering from Virginia Tech or Penn State is a big stretch.)

We both have biases here about the value of small private colleges and public universities, but I think it's not accurate to say that grads from small private colleges are "way more prepared for their grad programs than students coming out of State U." Certainly, there are cases where Reed, St. John's, or Carleton grads might do better than grads from Berkerley, UNC, or Mich in certain graduate programs -- in many cases, this has nothing to do with the quality of the undergraduate program, but rather the quality of the college graduate who probably would have excelled in any undergraduate program anyway.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:36 AM   #39
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.... You need to find a school that prepares her for the job she thinks she wants, but also has other programs should she change her mind. You really need to consider college as an investment in a career. What will give her/you the best return on the money and time?.....
Here's a bit of heresy: While useful, the Great Books program from St. John's college does not aim to ready the student for a specific career. It's difficult to determine what the coursework is equivalent to in a standard college: other schools are given a key to aid in the translation. It's considered poor form to even enquire what your grades are. Still... for some it is a great use of time and money.
Driving a Chevy Sprint for years was efficient and helped as we were collecting properties. Taking sailplane lessons and ridgesoaring in Calistoga, doing a hammerhead stall over Pearblossom, was fantastic and gave me great return on my money and time. Hanging, wings outstretched, hanging in the face of God, for just that instant before falling back toward earth.... Even though the sailplane is a lousy choice for a run to Homer Despot there were moments soaring that i treasure. There was a concentration of moments at St. John's.
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Old 06-27-2007, 02:54 PM   #40
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Certainly, there are cases where Reed, St. John's, or Carleton grads might do better than grads from Berkerley, UNC, or Mich in certain graduate programs -- in many cases, this has nothing to do with the quality of the undergraduate program, but rather the quality of the college graduate who probably would have excelled in any undergraduate program anyway.

Of course, the individual case always trumps the generality.
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