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Old 06-02-2014, 02:37 PM   #41
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My Grandson is a Junior 3.9 (4.0 scale) at IMSA... and hoping to attend my college, which he chose independently. Curious, I took a peek at the 2013/2014 college expenses, and the Alumni Fund,which totals more than 1.2bn., and provides an average annual grant of $36,000 to 50% of all students.

He is hoping for some of that scholarship money... either there or at another IVY League type college. His parents (my kids) will have three in college or Grad school, at the same time, between now and 2020.

When I graduated in 1958, the comparable annual cost to the chart below, was approximately $1,400./year. Using the US inflation rate, this would equate to today's $11,500./yr.

I looked at the numbers on a comparative basis just to see how much higher education costs are today.

I put myself through school, working 25 hrs/wk and all summer.... this along with a tuition scholarship of $800/yr. A far different world. Graduated with no debt. I don't see any way this could be done today.

My heart goes out to those who will be accepting the student loan debt, and I hope that the chosen field of endeavor will balance out in the long run.

Yearly costs for the 2013/2014 year.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:13 PM   #42
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One thing I see with a few of our kids' friends is both parents working, either one full time or maybe the dad works full time and the mom picks up a part time job to help pay for college, and the kids are going to some party school on the ten year plan for an undergraduate degree. There is no way we would both work, especially at a minimum wage type job, so our adult kids could go to school part time and otherwise basically live a life of leisure.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:23 PM   #43
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Yeah, its much harder today than it was in the 90s when I did it.

In addition, a bachelor's degree is now a basic requirement to enter Corporate America today. There are also good alternative paths (the trades and the military are two), but most of the paths to a decent paying job for anyone under 30 today involve a college degree.

I have two very young daughters. My current plan is to pay full tuition and books for four years at any State school or any private school that I feel gives enough value to justify the added expense, assuming that they are passing their classes. So if they get into MIT, I'll happily suck it up and pay the bill. Not so much for the $50k/year extended high schools that some private schools are.

I will encourage them to move out to go to school, and will expect them to pay their own living expenses from part-time and summer work. I think that it is reasonable to expect a student to earn enough to support themselves if their tuition is paid for. I also think that it is very good for kids to leave the nest and deal with the day-to-day issues of living on their own without having Mom and Dad available to solve every little problem they run into.

None of this is set in stone, or an indictment of how anyone else is going to do things. My plans may change over the next 15 years. This is just my current plan. I'd like to give my daughters a decent chance to graduate with a bachelor's degree and minimal debt.



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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
When I graduated in 1958, the comparable annual cost to the chart below, was approximately $1,400./year. Using the US inflation rate, this would equate to today's $11,500./yr.

I looked at the numbers on a comparative basis just to see how much higher education costs are today.

I put myself through school, working 25 hrs/wk and all summer.... this along with a tuition scholarship of $800/yr. A far different world. Graduated with no debt. I don't see any way this could be done today.

My heart goes out to those who will be accepting the student loan debt, and I hope that the chosen field of endeavor will balance out in the long run.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:00 PM   #44
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It's too bad kids of today couldn't do what I did in the early 80s. My father paid for my first 2 years, and I was to pay the last 2 years. I loaded up max on student loans first three years and put them all in bank CDs. Interest earned ( 12%- 15%) from the loan dollars paid completely for my senior year, so I only had to pay for one year. I never did take the money out of the CDs as the rate was always higher than the charged loan rate even when paying back loans, so I just paid back out of pocket.


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Old 06-02-2014, 06:18 PM   #45
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I live in a State with sub par State colleges in the field my son wants to follow. So, we just chose an out of State, State college and out State tuition is about $38000 a year with room and board an additional $10600 PLUS a couple of grand a year for books.

Now DS graduated qualifying for the National Honor Society and is smart, works hard and is a good kid. But......4 years of school will be a couple hundred grand and I know he wants to go on to get a PHD. It's my understanding the IVY Leage colleges are even more expensive. I have and make just enough that we dont qualify for student aid but the good news is that I've been putting away college money from the day he was born. Still, I never thought it would be so expensive so we'll enjoy fewer new cars, less expensive dinners and vacations for a while. I don'[t know what I would do if I had 3 or 4 kids all wanting the same type of education. I think he'll qualify for stipends when he works on an advanced degree.....or, so I've been told. He is so smart he's received a paid intership this summer at a local University.....the Professor validated our decision to send him out of State for a quality education. In closing, I'm lucky to have been financially able to help....it would hurt if I couldn't provide him with the education he deserves based on how hard he worked in High School.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:40 PM   #46
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Well, around here, I think you would be wrong. At the CCs DS attended they had courses of study for those planning to transfer into engineering. It is laid out very clearly what courses transfer and you can look up the in-state school you plan to transfer to and see what the course will transfer as.
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Many were disappointed since the engineering program has specific requirements like "calculus for engineers", "physics for engineers", etc. They were beefed up harder classes that the engineering school required for engineering majors to pass with a C or better to matriculate into a designated engineering curriculum.
I guess I should have known the answer would be it depends on the state/school. But it is still useful to see the specifics so thanks for the information.

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Whether the CC route is a good idea depends greatly on the child's committment to a major. If you want to be an engineer or scientist, it is a waste of time. First, those majors don't necessarily spend a lot of time on "common" courses. Further, they require a great deal of lab work even early in the college experience and CCs don't usually have that available to the degree needed.
This matches my personal experience (which actually was in canada not the US and was some time ago) -- at my school, I think there were only five general ed course that you had to take (out of 40 courses over 4 years) but 1 was technical writing and the other was engineering ethics so there wasn't much else. Only the first year could arguable be described as general courses, and it was very problematic in that if you failed a course, it could mean that you were pushed back a year due to timing of when it could be retaken.

Also even if you could get the "same" course in say a different department, the emphasis on examples/applications was very different. I remember a very smart (but in this case naive) math guy bitching about how eigenvectors were totally abstract (and not practically useful). This was in the top math undergrad department in canada.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:53 PM   #47
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If you want to be an engineer or scientist, it is a waste of time. First, those majors don't necessarily spend a lot of time on "common" courses. Further, they require a great deal of lab work even early in the college experience and CCs don't usually have that available to the degree needed. Now, if a child has no clue what they want to do, then it is a different story.
As ever....it entirely depends on the CC and perhaps the state you are in. My son is a CS major and will receive a Bachelor of Science. It is true that, as such, he doesn't have to take the 2 years of a foreign language required by a BA degree.

However he did have to take:

6 hours of English
3 hours of visual/performing arts
3 hours of cultural studies
3 hours of literature or philosophy
6 hours of history
6 hours of political science
3 hours of social science
1 hour of kinesiology
(the above requirements are basically the same requirements for anyone at his school getting a B.S. degree even in one of the sciences other than CS)

Also, 12 hours of electives

Even if he took no science or math at the CC there was plenty of room there for him to take those courses at the CC.

As it turned out he also took at the CC 4 hours of the 16 hours of lab science he was required to take (he found the labs fine for the beginning science course that he took at the CC).

He also could have taken 11 hours of his required math courses at the CC (Calc I, Calc II and Discrete Math).

So, in the state where we live, it simply does not put you behind at all to go to CC and then transfer to the state university. I can understand not wanting to do it, but not being able to take enough courses at the CC is simply not a reason not to do it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:31 AM   #48
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I started working summers after my junior year in HS, and my parents insisted I work summers while in college, and that money was supposed to be used for all my personal expenses while at college (so I couldn't just blow my summer income partying during summers). But they paid for tuition, room & board and books. They did not want me to work while in school, for fear it would compromise my study time. I consider myself very lucky my parents could provide me with an education. I was not eligible for any scholarships.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:49 AM   #49
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The high school my son is in is affiliated with the state university. We pay an "admin fee" for a college level class ... the HS pays the tuition. As a sophomore he already has 4 college credits. By senior year I expect he'll have more than a semester of college under his belt. Total cost to us .... less than a grand.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:11 AM   #50
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That would not have worked for the mechanical engineering program at the University of Minnesota in the 90s when I took it. There were just too many classes that you had to take early because they were prerequisites for other classes. There were also very few general classes or non-engineering electives required. It was all math, science, and engineering classes.

The first year was pretty much entirely Physics, Calc, and Chemistry. I think I took one elective class in the entire first year. You could take most of that at a community college, but you'd have to be very careful that it would all transfer.

The 2nd year I needed to take the Statics/Deform/Dynamics series of classes that is a prereq for all of the other engineering classes. Note that Physics and Calc were prereqs for Statics, so you needed to be taking Phyiscs and Calc the first year to be taking Statics/Deform/Dynamics in the 2nd year. I don't think most community colleges offer Statics, Deform, and Dynamics as classes.


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So, in the state where we live, it simply does not put you behind at all to go to CC and then transfer to the state university. I can understand not wanting to do it, but not being able to take enough courses at the CC is simply not a reason not to do it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:29 AM   #51
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The high school my son is in is affiliated with the state university. We pay an "admin fee" for a college level class ... the HS pays the tuition. As a sophomore he already has 4 college credits. By senior year I expect he'll have more than a semester of college under his belt. Total cost to us .... less than a grand.
Similar situation here with my oldest grandson. His school district entered into a cooperative agreement with a community college that is constructing a classroom building next door to the high school. Starting next year he will be able to take dual credit courses in English and history. Plans are to expand the program so that his two younger brothers will be able to obtain even more college credits by the time they graduate.

Another nearby district takes the CC dual credit concept "all the way". 45 students graduated this year and received both their high school diploma and an Associates degree.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:30 AM   #52
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I am a divorced father and my daughter just graduated from an expensive private Catholic liberal arts college. My ex is very religous and pushed our daughter to attend this school. Since my wife works for the state University my daughter chose to forego the 1/2 tuition discount available. She majored in Communication which is a more difficult degree to sell then say Nursing, Engineering etc. I gave my daughter $5K a year, a used car with maintainence, registration and insurance covered by me. and a new car (economy sedan) as a graduation gift. She has graduated with about $40K in student debt. She became gainfully employed in a field I call high satisfaction, low pay with starting salary of 30K. I would like to have done more for her, hope I have done enough for her but I did not want to compromise my retirement, early or not. She and my ex had a much less expensive option at a state University and chose not to take it, that was not a choice I would have made at that age. In fact I chose to live at home for 3 years while I attended college, went into ROTC to help pay for it and in my senior year I worked 32 hours week in addition to being a full time student. My paradigm was much different, I graduated debt free. I love my daughter, wished she had made a less expensive choice but I must accept what is done is done.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:34 AM   #53
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I agree with OP Rob, and think students should have some responsibility for their college costs. Not only does it emphasize that money is not free, but they have a better appreciation for why they are there. It is an investment in education with an expected higher paying job when graduated. Assuming of course the education major is one with good employment future, not some useless liberal arts degree where the employment option is no better than a HS diploma: "Do you want fries with that?"

I paid for approx 80% of my college costs, the rest picked up by my parents. The 80% majority from a J-O-B scholarship, i.e. working 25 hours/week during school and full time at an engineering intern type job in summer. I never went on spring break, remember that PT job that I was required to keep up? I also have worked full time since 15 years old, with PT during school. I went to an excellent in-state college and that helped the costs for tuition/registration fees. I went to college away from home for all 5 years (that working thing......), and did not do the local junior college starting 2-3 years. I am an engineer, so school with PT work was a significant time commitment.

I do think that it is harder now for a student to be self-supporting than in my time of mid-80's. College costs have gone way up much higher than the rest of inflation and costs of living have. Some other methods of saving money and/or getting money to pay for school is needed.

Counting on scholarship money is a high risk plan. Per most people here on E-R.org, a plan with minimized risks and evalulating the options is far more likely path to succesfully meeting the end goal.

There are far too many spoiled kids that go to college without any personal stake, it is the next step in their lives without any goal for their life after graduation. Their parents might very well be able to afford it, or the student could be maxed out on loans and then takes forever to get out of that debt. Either way, you must have a degree that will be positive cost/benefit ratio. Too many useless degrees with negative ratios.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:48 AM   #54
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My kids will definately have a skin in the game via college loans.

Watched my golf partner send his son to a small college for 33k freshmen year. His son hooked up with a few pot heads (lax team mates). Got a 0.0 first semester. Is now home lifeguarding while attending a CC. Comically, every phone call home he said he doing well in his classes. Expensive lessons indeed.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:06 AM   #55
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..

My biggest surprise has been with my oldest (younger is still in high school). He was a strong student in high school, did very well on his SATs, took many AP classes, super responsible, overall great kid, etc. He has finished his first two years in college and still is struggling to settle on a major. He started off in engineering and did ok in all his calc classes, etc. But he doesn't love it and has told me he isn't sure he wants to keep going down that path. The next two years will be all upper level math and engineering and he said he can get through it, but he hates it. He also is considering IT or Finance but keeps going back and forth. He is still signed up for engineering classes for fall classes but is leaning towards changing them and choosing a new major. This will add another semester to his schooling, which he will pay for using his savings from his summer/winter jobs over the last few years. I am at a total loss to guide him other than providing him a list of careers/earnings to consider. I also am not sure that just taking a semester or two off will help him decide either.

I can imagine that there are a lot of 20 year olds that are in a similar boat.
My daughter went through exactly the same experience. She was an engineering major with very good grades but discovered that she didn't like work that is individual contributor in nature. In hs she was involved in things like debate and speech, active in sports. Engineering wasn't a good style fit for her. She switched to her university's school of finance, one that is well regarded. I warned her that she would need to get a CPA but she didn't really want to be an accountant. I told her that it is a ticket that she needed to get punched but after that there would be many career paths available. She has done well, she is a CFO where her analytical, presentation, and leadership skills are put to good use.

If we had known that she would be such a high earning we wouldn't have paid off her student loans.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:50 AM   #56
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Education in the US is one of life's best deals. Many of us had the good fortune to reach our high school and college years in the 60s and 70s when it was widely available, high quality and was still cost affordable. Now the price is much higher and still is a good deal - more so if the student can take advantage of it to acquire and reinforce critical skills and gain a competitive edge.

As for who pays and how much, my experience was that there was a much greater sense of value and cost benefit where the parents made clear at an early age how much they would pay. Being able to graduate with little or no debt is a tremendous gift and great way to start working life.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:41 PM   #57
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Kids learn a lot from college, not just academics. Depending on the school they go to and who they associate with they are also learning the lessons of frugality, or extravagance. I always planned to fund a state U for my kids, anything more they would have to do themselves.

When they finally got to the university after the freshman year they were required to get a job for spending money. Debt was never considered to be an option. No matter what, they had to find a way through college and get out without the burden of any debt.

One is finished now, working and doing well. The other is still there, getting good grades, working, and spending very little.

I don't buy the argument that the costs are exorbitant to get a quality education, just have to choose the school, the major, and handle living expenses well.

For myself I went to CC, some of the profs there were actually better than at the U. Took some courses from moonlighting engineers and UCSD professors. Though I did loose some credits in the transfer (probably more due to my choices than the CC).

As some others here I never took a dime from home, got some scholarships, and always worked. I went backpacking, but never skiing. My meatloaf was mostly corn meal. Met my future wife there who obviously didn't marry me for my money. I had a great time and learned a lot about frugality. I had money in the bank when I graduated with my BA and MS (worked full time doing the Masters).

My DS still at the University knows what is in his college fund, that it is only for education, and that when he finishes, what is left over is his. He is very frugal with that money.

The University is preparation for life in many ways, my feeling is if they don't learn frugality there they are pretty much doomed no matter what their major is.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:51 PM   #58
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I paid for almost all of my college and graduate school costs through savings, grants, loans, and work study. My wife's parent paid for the vast majority of her costs, although she ended up with some loans from grad school.

We decided that we would pay for our two kids' college-the best they could get into. Both go to very competitive small private colleges where you can get assistance only if financially needy (no merit aid). They pay for some incidental expenses and frills. Both have summer jobs and one makes a bit during school. Total cost for the two is about $125,000. We are happy to be able to do it. They are both doing well in places that are a good fit for them. As for grad school, we have told them to expect to pay most of that themselves, and to only go after they have worked for at least two years. They know how fortunate they are. They have seen friends struggle and fall by the wayside.

I've read articles that say that one of the top predictors of happiness in a career is how much the person has in student loans (inverse relationship).
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:30 PM   #59
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I was fortunate that my parents paid for my education through College. I will do the same for my 2 sons. I think it boils down to each family's financial situation.

The cost of college has skyrocketed!! I purchased the Florida Prepaid program but now that is only covering about half the cost. My goal is to save for 1 or 2 more years after college expenses are completed to be FI (2019), then RE whenever I want after that.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:58 PM   #60
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I was involved in a discussion about whether kids should work p/t jobs in college. A friend stated that kids will only do X amount of studying. Free time is spent partying. A p/t job reduces the partying, and is probably better for them not getting into trouble.

I tend to agree with this idea.

I have lots of coworkers who state they don't want their kids to work because they want them to focus on school. I always ask their kids GPAs and whether they're on track to graduate in 4 years.

As far as getting college credits in highschool... my sons are attending International Baccalaureate public schools - if they do it right - they'll end up with up to 30 transferable units upon graduation - recognized by UC/Ivy schools, etc. This is more bang for the buck than AP courses. But it involves academic rigor in high school and passing some really hard exams at the end. I debated whether to send them to a well rated neighborhood school that focuses on AP courses, or this school that is 10 miles away (still part of the same district) but has the IB program. They're in middle school now but already starting on the IB course work.
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