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Old 01-05-2010, 04:41 PM   #61
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This is an interesting article on expensive colleges being worth the cost or not.

Heaven's Gate - washingtonpost.com

Personally, I went to a no name school and had some people who attended Ivy league schools working for me at my last corporate job. One even had a PhD from an Ivy league school. Maybe school name means more in other fields, but I never felt like it would have made a difference in my career. So right or wrong, we have never pushed our kids to get into a top ranked school because we are both very frugal and have no personal experience to validate the cost.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:46 PM   #62
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But, it doesn't say anything about how much your income potential rises by going to school B instead of school A. Or even, how much it goes up by going to college at all.
Here is an article on that you may find of interest:

Is your degree worth $1 million -- or worthless? - MSN Money
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:44 AM   #63
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....so I paid for 100% of my only child's undergrad and grad degrees, plus all room and board plus 2 new cars and $2,000/ month in spending money.
So you are the parent of the kid that every one else hated and/or was jealous of during college? $2000/month in spending money? That's a heck of a beer, or should I say champagne budget!
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:49 AM   #64
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Surprisingly, it didn't seem to affect her. Some of her friends didn't even know she was driving a BMW.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:51 AM   #65
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Surprisingly, it didn't seem to affect her. Some of her friends didn't even know she was driving a BMW.
During law school at least, a BMW 3 series would make one look poor. I hope you got her at least a nice 5- or 7- series?
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:04 AM   #66
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328Xi for the snow.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:59 PM   #67
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Two observations from a parent who just finished putting his two children through college. I paid tuition/room/board for both. They had to come up with books and pizza money.

Observation 1: Most (not all) 18 yr olds will not be able to decide on a specific career path at that age (but don't try and tell them that) and will end up changing their degree plans. My eldest did that and not only had to change colleges, but went on the 5 yr plan because of "lost" credits. Since she went from a program that was going to be fun (but not well paying) to a highly paid professional degree, I supported the decision. Initial college choice is important, but unless it offers a large range of degrees and programs, it may not be where you graduate from.

Observation 2: My 2nd has always been a very mature high achiever. His final decision came down to a choice between a very prestigious small private school (large merit scholarship) and a large State University in their Honors program. He went to the State U and the honors program gave him first choice to all classes. He just graduated this summmer and is working and living in NYC for a top tier company. If you are a top student, you do not need the Ivy leagues to get a top job, but getting into the best classes with the best teachers (who have the connections and recommendations) is key. The honors program also certainly helped getting into the initial hiring interviews.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:05 AM   #68
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I've seen this discussion quite a bit. It seems that where the parents went to college has the most influence on the outcome.
I'll say. We were determined to do better for our kid.

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Isn't there a new simplified FAFSA for 2010? Have you seen it? I did a prelim FAFSA a few months ago and our EFC was almost $90K (more than our taxable income!), so we're not expecting any financial aid. If the stock market is good in the next few years, then that will also be helpful with Plan B.
Having just finished my first FAFSA, I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel to know that it's "simplified". Bring 'em on.

Even before we got the results I was thankful for the NROTC scholarship. But what we're most thankful for (or that our kid should be thankful for) is 16 years of steady saving and aggressive equity investing during the world's greatest bull market, including buying Berkshire Hathaway at $2200/share and selling at $4700.

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Now there's something I had not considered--another reason/benefit to retire early--make ourselves elligible for more need-based aid. Brilliant!
Our kid's only asset is her Roth IRA, and that didn't appear to help her case. And although you're retired on savings that have to last you the rest of your life, anything outside an IRA and a personal residence is fair game. The FAFSA doesn't seem to look beyond four years.

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So that's where it stands now. I think my daughter should help pay for her own university education like I did. My wife still thinks otherwise. I have told my daughter that she is clever enough to figure out a way to pay for college just like I did.
After the 40,000 variations we've read on this thread over the years, I'm in the camp of offering a kid a full ride at Local U and letting them put skin in the game for anything more expensive.

But the most important thing is to load them with enough fuel to achieve escape velocity, and for some that may require more funding or even a year or two of parental supervision at home before they start dorm life.

I'd suggest that parents should start earlier and spend more money on the search & prep. Seeing colleges after 9th grade helped her clarify her thinking (and her commitment) and let her take driver's ed the summer after 10th grade. We still had time left over for a couple college tours that fall, and the summer after 11th grade she'd narrowed down her list and was able to attend programs at her favorite choices. Notre Dame wanted $1750 for three weeks, but after getting to know her and seeing her projects it was made awfully clear to her that they'd be saving her a seat. USNA was $750 for one week and worth every penny for her to learn that she'd seen enough.

Our kid took two PSATs, two SAT prep classes, and three SATs before she felt she'd nailed it. Sure, it was close to a thousand dollars in fees... to get into a school that charges $42K/year... but she also nailed a $32K/year scholarship.

We parents were confused about "early action" and "early decision". Our kid was solidly in the middle of the pack of the freshman demographics for the schools she wanted, so she chose early decision to get the 10-15% boost to her chances. ED also tends to cripple a parent's opportunity to negotiate on financial assistance, but we were pretty confident that NROTC would come through.

I don't remember the rules on early action.

Another good thing about ED was the 1 Nov deadline. The high school's counselor and the recommendation letters were hard enough to handle without having to stand in line among 500 other seniors. I can't imagine how nasty our holidays would have been with a 1 Jan deadline.

I was under the impression that corporate/charitable scholarship applications had similar deadlines, but last week I realized that most of the deadlines were 15 November. Eh, she'll be ready next year!
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:10 AM   #69
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I would get the undergrad from the State University and then get the law degree or second degree from the big name university, no question.
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