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  • Public vs Private College

    What's your thoughts?  What's your philosophy or approach to college, in general or for your kids?  Who's paying? What major(s)?

  • #2
    We plan to cover 4 years of state college tuition for our kids, regardless of what major they choose. If it takes them an extra year, or they want to go to a private school, the difference in cost is on them. My kids are both under 2, and we plan to use 529s, but thats the tentative plan

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    • #3
      I've told my kids that if they are pursuing a STEM degree from an elite college that we'll pay for it, otherwise they'll go to the state school of their choice that offers them in-state tuition.

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      • #4




        I’ve told my kids that if they are pursuing a STEM degree from an elite college that we’ll pay for it, otherwise they’ll go to the state school of their choice that offers them in-state tuition.
        Click to expand...


        What, no degree in basket weaving or critical studies from an overpriced, not terribly selective liberal arts school at $60K+ per year in tuition plus housing in a high cost of living / very high cost of living location?

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        • #5
          whatever 4 years.  No 5 year plan.  Many public colleges are reporting a challenge in getting all courses in 4 years and that's an issue.   1 less year in whatever career is significant opportunity cost.  If private college saves that 1 year, absolutely worth it in just that alone.

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          • #6







            I’ve told my kids that if they are pursuing a STEM degree from an elite college that we’ll pay for it, otherwise they’ll go to the state school of their choice that offers them in-state tuition.
            Click to expand…


            What, no degree in basket weaving or critical studies from an overpriced, not terribly selective liberal arts school at $60K+ per year in tuition plus housing in a high cost of living / very high cost of living location?
            Click to expand...


            I believe the degree is Underwater Basket Weaving.

             

            I've taught at 3 different private universities / colleges, all regionally known though not prestigious. I am of the opinion that students by and large receive a superior education from larger schools. Not only are private colleges more expensive, most faculty are part time / adjunct, therefore do not have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of their department, and simply are not held accountable as they are at larger schools. My favorite story is of the student who came to her professor asking what grade had so she could know what to aim for on her final. Nothing was up on the online grading system. The professor's words were "Karen, you know I'm not good at that." As in, grading assignments from the semester. She kept pushing it and ultimately he graded a fraction of the assignments and attributed them to her total grade. I've heard so many stories like this over the years I take every opportunity to encourage students to attend cheaper public schools.

            I have no doubt bigger name small schools like Wellesley are of a different ilk.

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            • #7




              We plan to cover 4 years of state college tuition for our kids, regardless of what major they choose. If it takes them an extra year, or they want to go to a private school, the difference in cost is on them. My kids are both under 2, and we plan to use 529s, but thats the tentative plan
              Click to expand...


              This is very similar to our plan except twice as many kids.  I plan to fund 529 to cover 4 years at my alma mater with the ability to cashflow shortfalls.

              My wife and I both went to State U.  We both made it into professional school also at State U.  I see no reason to pay a premium at this point.  Now if one of my kids turns out to have real talent and wants to go to some specialized school that would be more expensive we might have to take it case by case.  Assuming my kids are similar to me and have an idea what they want to do and a reasonable plan to get there.

              You do not go to college just to go to college.  If you do not know why you are there you are wasting your time and money in my opinion.

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              • #8
                We pay for 4 years at the state flagship, incl housing, books, fees etc (& maybe spending money) regardless of degree. If they take longer or go private they need to figure out how to fund the difference. I feel like this is generous. If they fool around and don’t apply themselves we will pull funding if things don’t improve the next semester. A kid with bad grades that works hard will keep funding. A kid with bad grades because they don’t try will get funding pulled.

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                • #9




                  I’ve told my kids that if they are pursuing a STEM degree from an elite college that we’ll pay for it, otherwise they’ll go to the state school of their choice that offers them in-state tuition.
                  Click to expand...


                  this is interesting. At most schools you don't have to declare your major officially until the second semester of your sophomore year. So what would you do if your kid is halfway through, on track to major in a STEM field, and then because the college requires they also be well-rounded and take some foreign language or history courses, and he/she loves it so much that they change their major to not be STEM? you're halfway paid in at this point.

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                  • #10
                    My wife and I planned to cover undergraduate, and set out expectations such as finish in four and degree must be viable. (My daughter wanted art. I said sure, just double major in something else. She picked graphic design. Doing great in her career and I have some great art on the wall.) We did not stipulate where, but had a conversation with each about cost v. benefit. Daughter picked private over public, but received significant scholarships. Son big school out of state. (Admitted to $60K per year private, but no scholarship. I asked him if he really wanted that school and why. He convinced himself public out of state met all his desires and goals.) Each kid's education cost about the same and both were within the budget I had saved in 529s.

                    As an aside, we made very clear kids were on their own for grad school but spent time with them on how to pay for it on their own. Daughter lived at home and worked. Son took a job with education benefits. One done with master's in her field and the other well on his way.

                    Back on the public v. private, in my experience the public was better, but both had issues (e.g., instructors did not speak English at Big Public; no one to teach coding at small private). Kids need to take responsibility to make the experience what they want.

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                    • #11







                      I’ve told my kids that if they are pursuing a STEM degree from an elite college that we’ll pay for it, otherwise they’ll go to the state school of their choice that offers them in-state tuition.
                      Click to expand…


                      this is interesting. At most schools you don’t have to declare your major officially until the second semester of your sophomore year. So what would you do if your kid is halfway through, on track to major in a STEM field, and then because the college requires they also be well-rounded and take some foreign language or history courses, and he/she loves it so much that they change their major to not be STEM? you’re halfway paid in at this point.
                      Click to expand...


                      This is not my experience. Both kids (2012 and 2018 grads) had to declare majors in freshman year, and it made a big difference in my son's case because he decided to change majors. Put him several course behind, because the majors start down specific course sequences freshman year.

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                      • #12
                        wow things have changed since I went to school! I could declare freshman year but it wasn't "set in stone" until 2nd semester sophomore year.  I actually find this new way unfortunate. What 17 or 18-year old knows his/her interests well enough to know what they want to study? case in point: i went to an undergrad school where something ridiculous like 50% of the incoming class declared themselves premed. Wanna guess what %age actually majored in STEM and got into medical school? yeah, much lower than 50% of the class

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                        • #13
                          Definite change since my day when freshman curriculum was same for all. It is a turn for the worse in my view. Forced my son to take a summer semester to catch up.

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                          • #14
                            I will pay for good Ivy schools but no 2nd tier like Vanderbilt or WashU that cost more and really don't matter more than state U, unless they give good scholarships.

                            Foreign languages = Yes. Basket weaving or pottery =No.

                            Our state college tuition is rather inexpensive at $14K and board + other expenses come to a total of 30K/year. But we have state scholarships that give $7K off for students with >3.5 GPA and SAT >1200, which is dead easy to attain. Plus with all the AP and IB courses she can easily get a year off and complete undergrad in 3 years, if she chooses to do so.

                            She would like to go to London School of Economics for Undergrad, which is quite affordable at 30K per year for overseas students. Living in London would be a tad expensive but she may have to board up with others. Unfortunately it is 7+ hours away by flight and my wife vetoed her living alone on the other side of the pond.

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                            • #15


                              i went to an undergrad school where something ridiculous like 50% of the incoming class declared themselves premed. Wanna guess what %age actually majored in STEM and got into medical school? yeah, much lower than 50% of the class
                              Click to expand...


                              I remember my intro bio class (450 kids) asked by raise of hands how many were premed, pre dental, prepharm of the first day of classes freshman year. Premed was about half and the other half was mostly pharm and a little dental.

                              At the final they did it again and it was vastly different.  Maybe 100 for all the 3 professions at about the same distribution.  Talk about a weed out class.  And it was pretty accurate too because a good chuck of those 50 premed kids made up my medical school class.  I am not sure about the other professions.

                               

                              They asked what majors everyone switched to and the overwhelming majority was psychology and communications.

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