Sending Kids to College--Do You Shoot for the moon or consider the budget?? Big Divide between DH

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melissa
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Posted: 11/15/2012 7:12:29 AM
The fact is that you have not planned sufficiently for college.

The fact is that even many of those who did plan sufficiently will not have enough.

Another fact is that aid package you get a freshman is not the same aid package you get as a senior. My aid package had more loans each and every year. And that was when tuition at an expensive private engineering school was only around 12K a year.

Shooting for the moon and planning to do so will be saddling your kids with an unnecessary debt. That is, unless they get into a place like Princeton or Harvard with a huge endowment. Otherwise, your plan makes the most from an economic standpoint. 2 yrs of community college and transfer. Of course, not all school take transfers. It rules out places like Dartmouth. But who cares?

I had a similar discussion when I was chosing a medical school. This is a discussion I had with several physicians, both academic and community physicians. I could have attended some well known private medical schools but I chose my state school. The difference was for me was graduating with 63K in debt (which includes my undergrad and a loan I took out in grad shcool... remember this was 20 yrs ago) vs graduating with over 100K in debt. Even physicians who graduated from private medical schools told me that unless I was planning a career solely in academia with a goal of becoming a department chair or something, there was no reason to take on the additional debt. At the time, I was not sure of my goals but the idea of another 40K of debt scared the heck out of me. I am SO glad I took the advice. I had barely looked at the state school. It was my safety school. It turned out that my state medical school had EVERYTHING I loved about the various private schools. I had liked that school A had X, school B had Y and school C had Z. My medical school actually had X,Y AND Z!

I can also tell you that no patient has ever asked me where I graduated from school. It just doesn't matter. They may look before they make an appointment (back in the days when I had an office), but reputation trumps all of that as it does in the vast majority of the world in most fields.

I'll add that my husband has completed all the coursework to be a certified financial planner. Hands down, from a financial standpoint, the community college and then transfer route is the most economical route for a 4 yr degree. Where you go to graduate school is much more important than undergraduate. Save the money for that.

Oh.. one more thing. My sister in law did this route. She went to her local community college, did very well and transfered to the University of Southern California. Because she did so well at the community college, she was eligible for additional aid that she would not have gotten straight away. She has a degree from USC. No one knows or cares that she went to community college first.



mollyw
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Posted: 11/15/2012 7:20:11 AM
Go run the financial aid calculator on each colleges website. They will all calculate with different formulas. Also many selective schools follow their own formula or the CSS profile. Non custodial parent can be a huge surprise for financial reasons.

Some majors are better starting at 4 year school. For example engineering, calc 3 might be taken in the first year. Around here comm. colleges don't offer this. They also don't have the high tech labs for intro classes and physics experiments. Also first year students get the majority of money.

If a student has the stats for ivy/ Stanford/ MIT then they have the stats for full rides from other good schools. These awards are highly competitive and a lot of research is needed. Outs of state publics like Michigan and uc's keep the money for in state students but others are extremely generous.

Is grad school in the future.
Check out www. Collegeconfidential.com. Parents forum and financial aid forums will be helpful.

twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/15/2012 7:40:43 AM
Keep in mind that if your child chooses to go to a university with high tuition,he is limiting his career choices if he is racking up serious debt.

I just KNEW I wanted to be an engineer when I started college! I had an opportunity to go to a well-known engineering school out-of-state, and although I would have had scholarship money, I would have still had some serious student loan balances (not so much in today's terms, but a pretty sizable chunk of change in the early 80s). Instead, I chose an in-state school (also a very good engineering school), and my scholarship money covered all but maybe $2000 for my first four years.

Guess what? I only stayed an engineering major for 3 semesters. In spite of a 3.8 GPA in chemical engineering, I didn't want to do it! Because I wasn't under the pressure of paying back student loans, I was able to switch my major to special education which was were my heart really was. I don't think I would have done that without the financial flexibility I had without the burden of student loans.

Of course, I did take out a small loan to cover my 5th year (I ended up with 180 credit hours after switching majors but only needed 140 to graduate) because my scholarships ran out, and I couldn't work as many hours the last year when I was doing my student teaching.

The same concepts applied when I went to law school. I was accepted at a top-tier private law school, but the costs would have been astronomical, even with student aid (housing alone was very expensive). Instead, I went to WVU where I had a scholarship to cover books for 3 years and a position as Resident Director that paid my tuition, gave me an apartment and parking space, and paid me $500/month salary. Between the RD job and my summer internships, I made waayyyy more than I would have as a first year teacher.

I took a job with one of the top 3 law firms in Pittsburgh making exactly the same salary as the tier 1 graduates I worked with. After 2 years, I realized that working at a law firm was NOT for me, and because I had already paid off all my student loans, I was able to go to work in a bank legal department doing work that I really enjoyed. (If I hadn't married DH and moved away, I would have stayed there for as long as they would have me!)

I was virtually debt-free when DH and I got married (had a mortgage, but sold that house within a couple of months of getting married), as was he, and I cannot tell you what a relief it was to start our married life with the ability to buy the house we wanted and not put off starting our family (oldest DD was born a couple of months before our second anniversary).

So I guess I just don't buy into the whole "go to the best school no matter what" thing. The choice of school may or not pay off in salary down the road, but enormous student loan debt can have some very negative impacts on your child's quality of life once school is over.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:18:29 AM
In state tuition for a public university is 45K? I find that a little hard to believe. When my older son was considering attending UCLA as an out of state resident it was close to that figure. You might want to recheck.

I would not do community college for my children, but I don't think you are looking at nearly the debt load you think you are. You need to do more investigative work on the actual cost for in-state tuition. And I would start saving more aggressively since you still have time.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:30:08 AM
Does your DH make a habit of buying things without considering whether you can afford it? College is no different. In my opinion, we are not entitled to the "best schools." We go to them if you can afford it.

My DH chose 30 years ago to go to a local state school rather than run up lots of debt at the ivy league school he was admitted to. After he graduated he got a job at large company. His office mate those first few years went to Brown and spend many years paying off the college debt he incurred. DH is now this guy's boss.

Which college you graduate from makes a difference very early in your career, but soon no one cares. They want to know what you've done lately.


Laurie

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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:33:58 AM
I would never allow my child to go into deep debt for school nor would I do so myself. There are other options, they might not be the options everyone wants but it's better in the long run.

MergeLeft
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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:38:53 AM

Does your DH make a habit of buying things without considering whether you can afford it? College is no different. In my opinion, we are not entitled to the "best schools." We go to them if you can afford it.

Which college you graduate from makes a difference very early in your career, but soon no one cares. They want to know what you've done lately.


I agree with this. And would also say: save the big expense for grad school. For the average person, no one cares where you got your bachelor's degree, and if you're going into a field where a very high level of accomplishment is expected, they're also going to expect a master's degree, and they may want to know where you got that at first - but as stated above, a few years into your career, it makes no difference. An incompetent Harvard grad is just as unemployable as an incompetent state school grad.

We will definitely encourage our daughters to get their core classes out of the way at the community college, and then transfer to a four-year school. The name and degree on your diploma are the same whether you spent two years at that school or all four (or five). If they're fortunate enough to get into an elite private school with a large endowment that subsidizes tuition for middle class families, then we'll discuss that as an option. Otherwise, expensive private schools are completely off the table for our kids.



twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:06:09 AM
You might want to check out this link comparing the starting and mid-range salaries for graduates research institutions.

Rankings of research universities based on salary potential

There isn't really a HUGE difference between the reported salaries once you get past the very top schools, especially once you factor in the type of degrees awarded (i.e. probably not to many teachers or social workers from Harvard dragging down the average compared to most state schools) and the locations where the graduates work (a lot of the IVY graduates end up in the northeast where salaries are higher simply b/c of the cost of living while many midwest/southern state schools end up with graduates who live closer to the school in areas with lower cost of living).

For example, my daughter is majoring in forensic science at WVU, which comes in at #147 on the list with a starting salary of $42,000 and a median salary of $77,500. George Washington University also has a forensic science program and comes in at #40 with a starating salary of $47,300 and a median of $93,100. That sounds like a huge difference, but consider that WVU has a significant portion of its students graduating in fields that won't pay as much (i.e. teaching and "human sciences" and who find jobs in WV and surrounding states with lower cost of living.

So what is the difference in tuition? DD started with out-of-state tuition that was about $15,000/year after scholarships, but she will qualify for in-tate tuition second semester which is about $6100/year. Her room and board is about $8000/year. Add another $1200 for books, and she is looking at a total of about $20,000 altogether (which would have been about $15,000 total if she had been in-state all year).

At GW, her expenses would have been as follows: Tuition $45,800; room and board $10,000; books (I assume would be the same) $1200. Estimated grant aid (based on GW aid calculator) $1800. So for one year at GW, the cost would be about $54,000.

Difference between the two? About $34,000 x 4 years = $136,000.

It would take MANY years of employment at the higher GW salary to overcome that difference, especially considering that this is an after-tax difference since student loans are not tax deductible (the interest may be, but not the principal). You also have to take into consideration that jobs in forensic science are more likely to be government jobs that don't really pay more just because your degree comes from a higher tier school.

Hands down, GW is going to come out far ahead of WVU in the academic rankings--it is more selective and does not have a mission to serve the people of the WV (land grant college, in-state admission nearly guaranteed for most students). But is that reputation worth the extra expense?

And actually, when it comes to forensics, WVU is highly ranked with excellent lab facilities. They have internships with the FBI and Secret Service, and undergraduate students have opportunities for research through FBI projects that are housed on the main campus. So don't overlook a state school based on "overall" rankings--how does it compare in the field of study that your child wants to pursue?

And if that program of study doesn't work out, what other options are available? DD has struggled a bit with her biology class this year and doesn't know if she is cut out for forensic science (those first year doubts LOL!). But she has the option of continuing with a chemistry degree or even switching out of science altogether to study criminology. Fortunately, with in-state tuition being so low, she has a lot of flexibility without student loan repayment hanging over her head.


myliesmom
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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:07:07 AM
Community college professor chiming in here ... CCs are a great option. Many universities have scholarships available for students transferring from a CC. There shouldn't be transfer problems if they complete their degree. Also, at our school, most of the faculty used to teach at the university, so students often are getting the same first two year education that they would have. I follow many of my students who transfer and most of them feel they are academically prepared for transfer. One more thing - look at dual credit while in high school. Sometimes the school pays for it or sometimes it is at a reduced rate - but students can get a great (inexpensive) jump start on their college courses.

Having taught at both, I love the community college most, hands down.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:20:47 AM

Send your kids to the best school you can afford and they can get in to. End of story.

ITA

I have never heard/read of a year or two at a local college being held against someone who later graduated from a 4-year institution.

If your child has not made up his/her mind regarding an area of study, it doesn't make sense to shell out megabucks for the privilege of aimlessly wandering through the gen ed requirements at a "prestigious" university. Aimlessly wandering requires a full-ride scholarship, IMO.

Also, think about not only what your child will learn at college, but what YOU are teaching your child about researching options, prioritizing desires, and financial responsibility.

ETA

Where you go to graduate school is much more important than undergraduate. Save the money for that.

Totally agreeing with Melissa on this.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:37:03 AM
I have a college freshman and a HS senior. This is a subject that we have talked about a lot. It's going to be $140K to put both of them through school in 4 year colleges. We had $115K (used some to pay for fall tution). We are asking them to make up the difference by taking out the $5000 stafford loan each year. My DH feels that they should be contributing something as we both paid for school ourselves without parental help. We are also aware that paying back big loans can be a burden so will help them pay off some or maybe all of their loans. We don't want them to have large amounts of debt. Our family income is such that they will receive basically no financial aid.

We had to look at the hard numbers. My oldest DD is a very good student with a high GPA and excellent ACT. She looked at the top schools in our state - public and private. She is also a violist. She really wanted to go to a private school with an excellent reputation. She received a half tuition scholarship and a music scholarship. This brought her dream school living on campus to just $1k more than top public school living at home. Plus she could continue to play her viola where as she wouldn't be able to at top state school. She also had enough AP classes transfer in that she will take 5 less classes, saving her over a semesters worth of tuition. When we were talking about her next semester courses, she has most of her generals completed between her first semester classes and AP classes.

Younger DD is an average student with average ACT. She is seeing now why we were on her case about grades. We looked at 8 schools that were in state, most of them public, but a few privates with reputations of giving good scholarships. They run $15K/yr including room and board.

I write all this to say that we have looked at a lot of options between the 2 girls in the last few years. We do have a nearby community college. It's okay. A 2 year degree transfers as completing general Ed requirements for several public colleges. The main sticking point for my DDs is that tons of kids from their HS go there. Mostly to save money. Everything we have heard about it is that it is pretty much like HS socially. Neither of my girls were interested in that.

My best advise is to start looking at schools now. Even schools your kids might not be interested in. Look at a lot of options. Talk to the people in the financial aid offices. Tell them your situation. They can give you a realistic picture of what it will take to pay for it. then decide how much you are willing to go into debt. You might find some acceptable cheaper options.

One more story. My DDs had a friend who lived with us last year. She had 3.7 GPA and 31 ACT score. Her parents were divorced and she was living with us due to mom's live in boyfriend. Mom makes about 30K/year and due to Dad being abusive his finances were not considered (really had to jump through hoops for that). Friend only applied to top schools and private schools (one being my DD's). We had encouraged her to apply to other public schools, but she felt she was too smart to attend them. She only got into the private schools. She got half tuition scholarships and some grants but still had a $7k shortfall. Her mom didn't have good enough credit to take out a parent loan. So friend is currently living with another friend and will be starting community college after the first of the year.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:42:59 AM

here are kids that going to a JC works well for, others never get beyond it. Act like it's an extension of high school and don't treat it seriously. Some kids need a 4 year college, they need the support, the more focused students.


I don't agree with the above statement. My DD is in her first year at our local CC. Most of the kids she has met are on the same track as she is to transfer to a state school. They are not a bunch of slackers that aren't taking the CC seriously.

DD is also a part of a program to help the students stay on track and get the help they need to get all their credits and transfer in that two year window. She receives priority registration and is guaranteed to get the classes she needs each semester. She meets with a counselor regularly to discuss her academic plan and to keep abreast of the transfer requirements of her chosen state school.

I just don't want anyone to feel that kids don't get the attention they need if they chose a CC.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:45:02 AM
We are in a similar boat with a 15 yo DD. I'm thinking at this point that a JC will just have to do. I would love to send her to a 4 year school (and she would benefit from being away to learn to fly on her own).

However, we then have a 12 yo DS too and there's no way I want to assume huge debt for their schooling. With the way things are now, they are lucky to get a job after graduation.



Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:59:38 AM
I'll make two points - one, if you have a top notch student - don't assume you'll know what kind of packages you'll be offered. The numbers vary crazily. I'll give you my experience which is now 20 years old. I had the option of some very good instate universities (I lived in California), but the best private schools offers were ALL competitive or better than instate tuition and boarding at a UC (yes it would have been cheaper if I was within commuting distance). Now I had no clue where I'd get in, so I also applied to some second tier private colleges - this is where we had the extremes - they either offered a full ride, or essentially nothing. At least in those days, they seemed to make selective bets on attracting kids from the top tier schools by offering a ton, but didn't have the endowments to spread the money around like the top tier.

The other point is that the part that doesn't show up on the salary survey is your OPTIONS. If you have a kid who is truly one hundred percent sure of what they want to do, you can do some research on options that might or might not be available with a top tier degree. You can also factor in whether they need an advanced degree and the ability of getting into a good graduate program (and if they can get into whatever program they want, their undergrad degree will then become irrelevant).

I went to one of the top schools on the little survey someone posted. And it is certainly true that graduates from my school have good salaries in their career. But I'd say that the difference in midcareer salary between an engineer who graduated from my school versus any other solid university is going to be much more impacted by their work performance during their career than by where their degree is. BUT - that doesn't factor in the intangibles. What if you want to start your own business - I know many people from my school who have tried to take their next great idea to market - and here's where degree DOES MATTER. You average VC is going to take a much harder look at the group from MIT or CalTech versus your average state school. And what if they decide they don't want to stay in their initial field? In my graduating class - something like 25% went into investment banking - a field where a degree from a tier one school is essentially a prerequisite. I know a half a dozen people who took their engineering degree and became management consultants, and another dozen who are now in Washington DC working in everything from the state department to the CBO.

So in summary, if your child is an average student, with average ambitions - don't pile a bunch of debt on them. BUT if your child is hardworking and ambitious and has the ability to make it into a top tier school - I would absolutely make that happen - and it will probabably be easier than you think. I don't for a second regret turning down the full ride scholarships that were offered to me. I ended up with a moderate amount of debt, which I paid off within 5 years after graduating. And while I was offered a very nice salary out of school, the real benefit was that when I figured out that I wanted to change careers a few years out - the name on that diploma MATTERED. I was able to jump into a highly competitive field where in the first year, I made twice what I did as an engineer and within 5 years was making 10 times more. And I can honestly say that in that field, we only recruited at 10 universities - and your chances of landing an interview depended almost entirely, on where you went to college.




delilahtwo
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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:46:54 PM
Sorry but I think up to 200K for "a great college experience" is money completely wasted. The kids need to get a job. At the end of their education they need a job. Their college education is a means to getting a good job. Not a means to "a great experience".

Starting out life saddled with huge debt is stupid if it can be avoided. In the middle of life, accumulating huge debt (which may never get paid off and what about rising health expenses? Those usually increase as people get older) is stupid if it can be avoided.

Tell your DH to remove his rosy spectacles and look at real life.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:50:41 PM
We will only pay for private schools if it is an ivy league or other top school. Otherwise they can go to a top public university, or whatever public school they get into.

I think 2 years at a community college then switching to university is an excellent choice for you and makes complete sense.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:06:32 PM
I have a question. I work at a community college. Tuition for 12+ credits is around $3,300 per term. I don't work in financial aid. So I have a question.

Say you have no $ set aside for college. You go to college that costs $30k year. You have no scholarships or grants. You get your $5,500 loan. I know parents can take out a loan too. I'm sure there a max on that. How do people pay the rest? I hear people all the time say they didn't save for college. How do they do it?




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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:13:50 PM

An incompetent Harvard grad is just as unemployable as an incompetent state school



Absolutely not true in my professional experience. But I suppose if you were not looking into a specialized field, maybe.
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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:49:40 PM
Depending on the kid first. Is he a Pre med kind of kid who is on task and needs to start at a great school.
Or is he a Good student that is not fully invested in a career choice that a community college even for 1 year to get their footing better. Not all kids are ready to jump full in a 4 year away from home. Some party..some just are not ready to be away yet. I find nothing wrong with community college then transferring. I also will not go in deep debt for college just so they have the college experience as a freshman.

tamhugh
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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:58:47 PM
When our first one was looking at schools, we told him to apply where he wanted to go, but to keep in mind that if he went to a really expensive private school, he would have a lot of debt at graduation. He applied to Villanova, Penn State, Temple, Ohio State, and JMU. Once the merit offers were applied, the two out of state schools would have cost the same or slightly less than PSU and Temple. Villanova was almost double and his grades weren't good enough to get him any merit help. Apply to a variety of different schools and see what is offered. You may be surprised because it sometimes feels like there is no rhyme or reason to what is offered.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 4:02:08 PM
I'm with you. Both of my daughters are currently doing their first years in Community College.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:30:12 PM
Is there really no middle ground between a junior college and an expensive state school? None? In no world would I ever go into debt for my kids' college education. My kids (I have 4) are still young and we are saving for their educations but when they go we will have what we will have and they can take their portion and subsidize it themselves (with loans, scholarships, working part-time, etc) or they can use it for a more affordable option. We will encourage our kids to get a reasonably priced under grad degree and shoot for the moon for any graduate schooling they do. That is what my DH did and he did go to an ivy league grad school but there is no way I'd saddle myself or my kids with that kind of debt for an undergrad degree. A degree is important but so are a lot of other things- work ethic, ability to multi-task, good internships/work experience, etc. Those things have served us as well as our degrees have.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:03:54 PM
Budget!

No way would we do something that would get us into trouble financially or put our child way into debt upon graduation.


Lingaling
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:06:39 PM
My opinion falls on the side of take zero or as few loans as possible. My "kids" are 24 and 26. My husband and I were able to save for their undergrad degrees and both went to 4-year research universities with the Georgia Hope Scholarship, other scholarships, and AP credits. Both graduated debt free. Son #1 went on to grad school and took out loans. I would strongly recommend not jepardizing your and your husband's retirement in order to send the kids to their dream school. You should watch Suzi Orman or listen to Clark Howard. They are realistic and give advice based on many many families who were unprepared to repay the loans.

singlewitch
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Posted: 11/15/2012 7:23:32 PM
As a parent and a teacher, I STRONGLY recommend going to a local community college for the first year or two. Get all the required courses out of the way and then transfer to the school of choice for your major. It's way too expensive to go to college today. Ultimately, it only matters where your degree is earned, not where you began.

We went good but affordable. Both sons went to local universities and commuted. About $12,000/year. We have some money put aside and they are taking loans for the rest. We just can't afford to carry the debt at our age (56 and 61).


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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:48:06 PM

I wouldn't want to send a future surgeon to community college.


Why not?

Also:

-most experts recommend kids not borrow more than $26,000. Total. For four years.

-I second the suggestion to visit College Confidential , especially the Parents' Forum and Financial Aid sub-forums. (Warning: try to ignore the many prestige junkies who populate that site. There's a dismaying number of parents living through their children...or just focused on bragging rights.)



sharonmnc
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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:06:00 PM
DH went to community college and transferred to the university where I was. He wishes he'd have gone four years because he thinks the dorms were a lot better than they actually were but we're both graduates just the same.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:22:43 PM
It isn't really practical for a lot of students to go to a community college.

My son, for example, has a lot of the general education courses needed for university graduation covered by the AP and concurrent enrollment classes he's already taken in high school. In fact, I think that there are only a couple classes that he could take at the community college to help cover the graduation requirements for the degree he wants. Here's a basic breakdown:

English: Composition I, Composition II, Technical Communications for Engineers (the first two he'll get AP credit for, and the last one isn't offered at the community college)

Humanities and Social Sciences: 12 credits. He'll have twelve credits of history, six credits of Spanish, and three in Psychology from AP classes and three credits of Literature from a concurrent enrollment course. Some of the extra credits can work toward electives, but he really won't have much room for electives! As it is, 138 credits are required for an engineering degree instead of the traditional 120.

He'll need 2 Physical Education classes, but he is planning on running cross country and track in college, so those will be taken care of. I was kind of surprised that the local community college offers PE classes. It certainly wouldn't be worth the extra money in most cases to take a required PE class at a more expensive school.

Math: Calculus I, Calculus II (credit with AP), and Calculus III (he could take this one at the community college). The rest are upper-level courses and not offered at the community college.

Basic Science classes: He'll have two semesters of chemistry and two semesters of physics covered with AP. The rest of the science classes he'll need are either upper level or engineering specific and not offered at the community college. He could take Biology or Geology at the community college, but neither is required for his intended degree.

He was able to take Engineering Design, a CAD-based SolidWorks course, while in high school. He got six college credits for it, but I think only three will transfer.

It looks like the ONLY class he'd be able to take is the Calculus III, and even then, I would want him to make sure it would transfer first.

Don't take this post as bragging ... it really isn't. Almost all of my kid's friends are in the same boat. In some ways, my kid is a "slacker." Our district really pushes the college-level courses and makes it easy for the kids to take APs and concurrent enrollment. Some kids have way MORE credits than my son does. One of his friends has already completed college credits for Calculus I, II, II, Differential Equations, an upper-level Algebra course, Statistics, and Combinatorial Algorithms! I think he already has enough credits for a math minor and he's still in high school. With so many kids completing community college general-education courses or the equivalent while still in high school, the two-years-at-community-college route doesn't always work.



StampinBetsy
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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:47:59 PM
We have some money saved, but not a whole lot. I am hoping that my kids will consider the local community college, at least for the basics. After that, we'll see. DD still can't decide what she wants to do with her life, so I don't even have a clue where she'll end up.

We have friends whose daughter started college this fall after 2 years in a program at a local university where she finished her high school diploma and started college at the same time (like dual credit, but you actually go live on campus and only get to come home once a month). She is off in Montana, because she wants to be a paleontologist and that is one of the best schools to go to. We had a conversation earlier in the spring about where this girl wanted to go and how her parents couldn't afford to send her there unless she got an awesome scholarship. That must be what happened, because I can't see this family going into debt, even though they completely support their children's goals in life.

Personally, I can't see going into that much debt for my kids' education. I don't want to limit them, but I have to be realistic.


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bestcee
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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:44:23 PM

An incompetent Harvard grad is just as unemployable as an incompetent state school
Absolutely not true in my professional experience. But I suppose if you were not looking into a specialized field, maybe.


My husband has fired 2 Harvard grads, and an MIT grad who couldn't manage to work the front desk at a hotel for just above minimum wage. He's fired state grads too. But only the Harvard grad had Mommy call and beg for Daughters job back. Seriously.

My college experience is 8 years old. I got $1000 from my parents. I've paid for all the rest or got a scholarship. DH took out loans. I wish he hadn't. We are still paying them back, and unfortunately he went to a 4 year school, then switched to a community college. The college loan is almost paid off. The 4 year one we have a ways to go still. There were a lot of kids at both the 4 year and the community college who would goof around because mom and dad were footing the bill. I think you need to know your kid, and be ready to set limits. I don't think you should be the one paying fully for their education, especially to the tune of $150,000.

And FWIW: My best friend graduated from Georgetown with her lawyer degree after doing all undergrad at the community college. No one cares about the community college, and Georgetown just cared that she had her degree.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:41:55 AM

My best friend graduated from Georgetown with her lawyer degree after doing all undergrad at the community college. No one cares about the community college, and Georgetown just cared that she had her degree.


Just curious about this......did she got a Bachelor's Degree at a community college? Or did she go to Georgetown's Law School with just an Associate's Degree?

twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:19:31 AM

It isn't really practical for a lot of students to go to a community college.

Kelly/Mom-- In your son's case, aren't the AP courses going to count toward his degree? I thought that was how AP credit worked.

If so, then your son has already received an even better benefit than community college. He earned his college credits at NO COST (other than test fees if you high school didn't cover them) instead of paying the community college costs. So I really don't think the "go to community college" suggestions would apply to him. He has already done the equivalent of community college in high school.

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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:54:49 AM
My daughter wants to be a nurse and attend a really nice private school about 90 minutes from where we live. We've been putting away money for years and we can make it happen,. If we had not been doing this we would have been encouraging her to look at public colleges that have a nursing program. I really want my kids to attend four year colleges because I consider those four years to be some of the best years of my life. I want them to have that.


Ellen

Kelli/Mom
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/16/2012 11:43:04 AM

Kelly/Mom-- In your son's case, aren't the AP courses going to count toward his degree? I thought that was how AP credit worked.

If so, then your son has already received an even better benefit than community college. He earned his college credits at NO COST (other than test fees if you high school didn't cover them) instead of paying the community college costs. So I really don't think the "go to community college" suggestions would apply to him. He has already done the equivalent of community college in high school.


Yes, he's already taken care of a lot of the general education requirements for a degree while in high school. In some ways, it has been better than community college because he's had to pay very little for the credits ($89/AP exam and $30/concurrent enrollment class). In other ways, it is not as good as a full-fledged community-college education because there is no associate's degree at the end of the road, and credits don't transfer quite as readily as a completed associate's degree would. Different school districts take different approaches to AP and concurrent enrollment. Some are designed to award an associate's degree upon completion of high school.

Most of his AP credits will apply toward his degree, but not all of them. He has 24 credits of what his intended college would count toward humanities and social sciences, but engineers don't need that many. He'll still need to A LOT of credits to get his degree.

voltagain
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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:57:58 PM
Most of his AP credits will apply toward his degree, but not all of them. He has 24 credits of what his intended college would count toward humanities and social sciences, but engineers don't need that many. He'll still need to A LOT of credits to get his degree.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yes, he will still have a lot of credits to take. But, even if he went to a normal community college (2 year school) only 60 credits can be applied to a four year degree. Your son has already done the community college route being suggested. He did it concurrent with his high school work. He is already way ahead of the curve.

To get in 60 college credits at a 2y college you can't expect him to earn the rest of a 4 year degree at a 2 year school. Community colleges are not 4 year institutions that grant 4 year degrees (bachelor level)


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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:02:08 PM
Is there really no middle ground between a junior college and an expensive state school? None?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

There is. Each state has its expensive "flagship" research university.
It will also have a number of regional universities that are not research intstitutions and are considerably less expensive. Then there are the community colleges. The middle ground exists and is utilzied by millions of students every year nation wide.

But peas, being peas, can only accept the most expensive. Or cry because they are at the other extreme and community college will be a stretch. Peas do nothing in moderation.


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StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:21:58 PM

I wouldn't want to send a future surgeon to community college.


Why not?



If someone is going to be a surgeon then I would expect they should be at the VERY TOP academically. If so then they would be getting merit based scholarships to private four year colleges, which would be just as good, if not better financially, than CC.

The Ivy Leagues and a few similar schools (Stanford) don't do any merit based scholarships, all are need based. If you have the need, you will be covered IF you get accepted.

But if you don't meet their need criteria, there are plenty of private colleges in the next category, still with VERY good reputations, that offer merit based scholarships to attract top students.


M

TaneshaN
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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:42:17 PM
I refuse to go into debt or have to eat cat food one day just because my kid was able to get into an Ivy League school....and that's with us earning a very good 2-income household salary!

OP - are you having your kids, esp. the 16.5 yr old looking into scholarships? Even a bunch of small ones add up. I have a friend whose daughter applied for over 300 $100-$500 scholarships and she was able to get about 90 of them, earning her over $18,000 towards school. Yes, she spent as much time applying as if it was a f/t job, but basically it WAS her job and it paid off.

Anyways, I want my kids to go to a good college as I do feel it's worth it long-term. However, I think it's putting more of a burden on them at a young age to saddle them with debt to pay off for a degree that doesn't guarantee them a job that will earn them enough in salary to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time. And if you as the parent put yourself into huge debt to pay for college, you are again potentially saddling your kids with not only their own future retirement but yours. Many many folks out there right now are having to help a Mom and Dad who "gave up everything" to help them, and they are so stressed out about finances because of it.



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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:54:52 PM
i dont understand why people have such a bad attitude against community college. my oldest is away at college as a junior, her 1st year away. she worked with our community college knowing where she wanted to go and all her credits transfered. none of her employers will ever know or probabley care that she went to comm college, her bs will be from university.

I'm sure several successful DR's went to community college.

sdt
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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:54:54 PM
i dont understand why people have such a bad attitude against community college. my oldest is away at college as a junior, her 1st year away. she worked with our community college knowing where she wanted to go and all her credits transfered. none of her employers will ever know or probabley care that she went to comm college, her bs will be from university.

I'm sure several successful DR's went to community college.

LBP
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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:55:42 PM
We went back and worth with this with our DS. Ultimately he ended up at a private 4 year university because of the amount of scholarships he got. Still, it costs about $12,000 per year, we have paid for 2 years and he is paying for the other two. He will owe $24,000 when he graduates. Not too horrible.

MergeLeft
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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:04:35 PM
I don't get the bad attitude about CC here, either. We have excellent CC systems with beautiful campuses, and the class sizes are much smaller than the university. Students get more individualized attention and often have a teacher with more experience and a higher degree than the TA who teaches the same freshman-level class at the four-year university. If you're struggling with a subject (or for that matter if you love it and are really good at it), are you better off in a lecture class of 600 or a class of 40? Are you better off with a grad student TA who barely speaks English and for whom this is just a "side job," or with a career teacher with a terminal degree in the field?

Our state law is that all public CC core credits have to transfer to our state four-year universities as core credits. Advisors work with students every step of the way to make sure that they're taking coursework that will be transferable and useful.

I believe CCs are the future of our educational system - they're providing high-quality, affordable general and specialized education to a wide variety of people for whom the traditional four-year experience is either undesirable or unaffordable. And I see no reason why a future surgeon with his or her eyes on the state's four-year flagship university couldn't start out at the community college.




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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:17:00 PM

Yes, he will still have a lot of credits to take. But, even if he went to a normal community college (2 year school) only 60 credits can be applied to a four year degree. Your son has already done the community college route being suggested. He did it concurrent with his high school work. He is already way ahead of the curve.

To get in 60 college credits at a 2y college you can't expect him to earn the rest of a 4 year degree at a 2 year school. Community colleges are not 4 year institutions that grant 4 year degrees (bachelor level)


I understand. I should have said that he will need a lot more credits in order to get his bachelor's degree in engineering. With the general ed college credits he has earned in high school, there is very little left that a community college could do for his ultimate goal of a bachelor's in engineering. Because many of the courses are particular to his intended major and/or need to be upper-level courses, classes at the community college wouldn't work for his situation.

I don't have anything against community colleges. If my son needed general education credits and Physical Education classes, I would be all for him completing those classes at the community college.

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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:25:14 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
i dont understand why people have such a bad attitude against community college.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

mostly snobbery and some fantasy about dorm life and other social aspects of college

I don't think this is fair. It varies from area to area, but the poor reputation of CCs is accurate in some cases. I'm not as familiar with the community colleges in Oregon, but when I lived in Washington, the community colleges had a well deserved reputation of being "13th grade." They really were like an extension of high school and were not academically rigorous.

I had several high achieving friends who decided to start at CCs after graduation for financial reasons and by Christmas the first year, they had all transferred to four year schools. The courses they were taking there were not as challenging as the AP courses we'd taken in high school and they felt they were wasting their time. They decided the extra money for a four year school was worth it for them in the long run.

I'm certain this isn't the case everywhere, but it is the case in some areas and I think that contributes greatly to the negative perception some have of community colleges.

pudgy_groundhog
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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:35:35 PM
I have no problems with community college (and conversely, I could ask why anybody who is in favor of a four year school is automatically a snob - you seem to have a real chip on your shoulder about these things). My opinions are based on my experience which was private university and an amazing four years (and yes, an excellent education as well - these things aren't mutually exclusive). I hope to give my daughter the same (provided she'll work hard, graduate on time, and have good job prospects, yadda, yadda).

There are many ways to get a good education and are all valid. The best path is what best fits each student and family's situation.



AussieMeg
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Posted: 11/16/2012 4:18:05 PM
Not a chance in hell would I go $200k into debt for my kids to go to college. They will be taking out a HECS loan like pretty much every other university student in Australia.

But things are VERY different here to the US. I don't know a single person who has funded Uni for their kids. It just doesn't happen here.


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Posted: 11/17/2012 12:22:04 AM
Your kids are responsible for their education too. I WISH my parents had 28k to split between my brother and I got college. I now have 65k in student loans and I'm finishing my masters. Same with my hubby.


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Posted: 11/17/2012 11:11:51 AM
I live in an area that has 2 major universities and a community college. I decided to attend the community college for 2 years (it has the same professors as the universities) and then transfer to one of the universities. I'm graduating in May with my associates and at this point I have $0 debt. My friend on the other hand, decided she wanted to go to a private school. She paid $22,000 a year for tuition. When she graduated she got a job in her field starting out at $30,000.00. When I graduate, I will be making the same amount as she is, if not more, and I will not have the loans to go with it.

If you have the money fine, but I would not go into debt for something, just to have an "experience".

enjoytotheend
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Posted: 11/17/2012 11:15:59 AM
I think anything but a community college the first 2 years is a waste. Those grades are not factored into their final gpa at a state or private university. I highly recommend them going to a community college first. That way if they do goof around, which most do, it won't affect their gpa. I feel like I learned just as much at a community college as I have at my state college. I also had just as much socialization.

voltagain
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Posted: 11/17/2012 11:22:08 AM
Those grades are not factored into their final gpa at a state or private university. I highly recommend them going to a community college first. That way if they do goof around, which most do, it won't affect their gpa.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Grades from a community college most certainly ARE factored into the gpa when they transfer to a four year university. If they goof around in the cc it can keep them out of transferring at all. The up side would be they don't owe loans or have drained the parent's savings as much during the goofing off.

The only grades that we don't count in the gpa are remedial level courses. We consider those as "high school level" in preparation for college level work.


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