Author Topic: How to pay for kid's college?  (Read 7886 times)

Pigeon

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #100 on: August 10, 2017, 10:41:17 AM »
Yah, a biology degree is going to get you a boring as hell job as a lab tech making 13$ an hour and not much else.

The vast majority of bio majors at the university where I work and the college my bio major daughter attends are doing it because they are going into health care related professional programs, not because they plan to stop with a BA/BS biology degree.

Pigeon

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #101 on: August 10, 2017, 11:24:48 AM »
I'm scratching my head at the idea of choosing to  have six kids and being surprised that college costs what it costs.  No, it's not vaguely the same as knowing how to finance nuclear plants, unless your job is building nuclear plants.

I work at a large university, dh is a high school teacher and I've got one in college and one almost there.

Mrs. Pete has the wise.

Community college can be a great option for lots of students.  It can also be a gigantic waste of time and money.  The key thing is to figure out what school you want to transfer to and look carefully at articulation agreements.  I'm in a state university system.  We have agreements for with some community colleges and some 4 yrs for some programs.  In those cases, the kids pay far less for the first two years and transfer seamlessly.  But tons of students go to cc for a couple of years first and then decide where to transfer and are shocked to find very few of their courses will help them at all with program requirements or even for gen ed requirements.  This is particularly important in highly sequenced programs (generally STEM, but some others).

So many parents do think their kids are snowflakes.  ITA with Mrs. Pete about the rarity of full ride scholarships and the fact that mediocre private schools are the ones that give much more generous financial aid.  I wouldn't push my kid to go to school internationally unless I had an exceptionally mature kid, and again, most people do think their own kids are snowflakes. 

I have not seen guidance counselors pushing expensive schools.  Our guidance counselors and the ones at dh's school are pretty level-headed and reasonable.  They put on seminars about college costs, financial aid and picking good school for your particular situation.  They don't push the students in one direction or another.  They have a mandatory meeting with the families to discuss goals and realistic expectations.

Where the pressure comes in is from the kid's peers.  My older daughter is attending an in-state public college.  It is a gem of a school and is perfect for getting into the kind of professional program she wants.  However, she got a lot of crap from her friends whose parents were determined that they go somewhere more prestigious.  One guy was relentless with her, and she felt bad for a time for not going to the kind of school his family valued.  She hasn't seen this kid once since high school, but yet his opinion carried great weight.  Go figure, they are teenagers and don't have much perspective.

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #102 on: August 10, 2017, 12:37:11 PM »
I'm scratching my head at the idea of choosing to  have six kids and being surprised that college costs what it costs.  No, it's not vaguely the same as knowing how to finance nuclear plants, unless your job is building nuclear plants.

Just for clarity, we each had three kids, just when we got married to each other now we had six.  I get we chose to get married, so yes we had an option to not have six kids.  We both have exes who do nothing for their expenses now, and will not do a thing for college.  Not complaining or looking for sympathy, it is what it is.  Just clarifying the slight misconception.

I never had to navigate financing college before because when I went I just paid my way, and more importantly it was possible.  And it is crucial to note I did not go to community college I went to a then relatively costly private school (DePaul), but I did live at home since I grew up in the Chicago area so I was a commuter student.  I could work while going to school and make over $7,000 per year to cover my tuition.   I'd like to see a student now entering that school could work and make $39,000 a year to do the same thing.  They can't (or it would be a rare, amazing high school student that could have a skill set that commanded an income like that).  This is where the frustration comes from.  College costs are too high.  I could have use the loan system to finance room and board.  My parents would not have co-signed any loans, but I could have made it work.  Now they still offer nothing for students to get loans on their own other than a pittance of what is needed.  This is what I did not fully understand and why I was surprised.  I understood that college costs had risen to the point they had, but what I was unaware of was that the financial aid system has not kept pace and that it now basically requires parents to co-sign to be able to go.  My analogy was simply saying I'm entering a system that I have never had any experience with and being told, in effect, I'm daft or something for not getting it ahead of time and being surprised.  My surprise is not college costs, it's college aid or ways to finance.

ETA:  Keep in mind when I did that I could have bought a home for $103,000 (which I did the year I graduated college, so I was able to pay my tuition AND save $20,000 for a down payment).  That same house now has a Zestimate on Zillow of $135,953.  So while the appreciation of the house (which has a stupid run up as tuition has) has only been 32%, somehow it makes "sense" in this country for tuition to follow some other track.  If a private school cost 32% more and cost $9,240 per year I'd not be pissed off at the situation.  But we continue as consumers to pay 457% more for this "service" and whistle while we work.  And I could get that loan for my house without a co-signer, but my kids can't do that for their tuition.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 12:44:30 PM by caracarn »

Goldielocks

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #103 on: August 10, 2017, 12:52:19 PM »
I was hit with the same surprise 18 months ago..  I had always assumed that any student could qualify and get our equivalent of a Stafford government student loan, then found out that NOPE!   If you make as a family more than $80k per year income, the first $15k - $25k per year or so is to come from family / personal contributions... until you are 4 years post-high school graduation.     That means that most programs where you live at home provide zero chances of student loans, and even the residence ones would only provide about $5k of the total.

I was so surprised, and then looked deeper into other funding / financial education models, and saw that my assumptions were very incorrect on so many items, that I started hosting a education seminar for other parents about it.

Please note, this is AFTER I had been a member of this board for 2-3 years and am obviously someone who is interested in learning this stuff.

One huge alternative here -- the student works full time for 1-2 years, then goes into college.  Why?  either A) they save a lot of money for it ...o r B) after 2 years full time work, the parent's income does not get included.  2 years is not such a long time for someone with zero other options...and if it qualifies them for increased scholarship / bursary grant money, may be worth more than a large student loan...  (I digress)

Heroes821

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #104 on: August 10, 2017, 12:52:37 PM »
Just for clarity, we each had three kids, just when we got married to each other now we had six.  I get we chose to get married, so yes we had an option to not have six kids. 

Definitely off topic, but your the Brady family!

Also I've said it before, but your name is an awesome reference.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #105 on: August 10, 2017, 01:07:05 PM »
Someone mentioned travel to Canada as an international student.

I looked it up.. U of Calgary  Science with 15 credits per term (Full load) is $18k tuition plus $1.5K in general fees for 2 terms.  Plus approx $8k- $11k for room and $ board.  Total per year $29.5k  Canadian dollars. - $23k USD per year.

This is very typical of most of the top universities outside of Toronto, Quebec (cheaper), and East Coast (cheaper tuition, more for room).  Excellent transfer credit potential from these universities back to US colleges, according to our guidance counselor.    Some require exceptionally high grades to get into, but U of C should accept a 3.9 GPA into general science.  (They base it on the top 5 "academic" courses, so she may have a 4.0 calculated GPA according to Canadian universities).

Oh, and over 50% of the students at these universities are international students, so easy to fit in, lots of on-campus support.



Cranky

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #106 on: August 10, 2017, 01:21:59 PM »
Someone mentioned travel to Canada as an international student.

I looked it up.. U of Calgary  Science with 15 credits per term (Full load) is $18k tuition plus $1.5K in general fees for 2 terms.  Plus approx $8k- $11k for room and $ board.  Total per year $29.5k  Canadian dollars. - $23k USD per year.

This is very typical of most of the top universities outside of Toronto, Quebec (cheaper), and East Coast (cheaper tuition, more for room).  Excellent transfer credit potential from these universities back to US colleges, according to our guidance counselor.    Some require exceptionally high grades to get into, but U of C should accept a 3.9 GPA into general science.  (They base it on the top 5 "academic" courses, so she may have a 4.0 calculated GPA according to Canadian universities).

Oh, and over 50% of the students at these universities are international students, so easy to fit in, lots of on-campus support.

But Ohio State is about $25k for tuition/room/board and books, and the OP has said that's too much, so I can't see moving to Canada as a great alternative.

I have heard that it's difficult for American students to be admitted to European universities right out of high school because our graduation requirements are different, but I don't know anyone who as tried it out.

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #107 on: August 10, 2017, 01:40:36 PM »
Someone mentioned travel to Canada as an international student.

I looked it up.. U of Calgary  Science with 15 credits per term (Full load) is $18k tuition plus $1.5K in general fees for 2 terms.  Plus approx $8k- $11k for room and $ board.  Total per year $29.5k  Canadian dollars. - $23k USD per year.

This is very typical of most of the top universities outside of Toronto, Quebec (cheaper), and East Coast (cheaper tuition, more for room).  Excellent transfer credit potential from these universities back to US colleges, according to our guidance counselor.    Some require exceptionally high grades to get into, but U of C should accept a 3.9 GPA into general science.  (They base it on the top 5 "academic" courses, so she may have a 4.0 calculated GPA according to Canadian universities).

Oh, and over 50% of the students at these universities are international students, so easy to fit in, lots of on-campus support.

But Ohio State is about $25k for tuition/room/board and books, and the OP has said that's too much, so I can't see moving to Canada as a great alternative.

I have heard that it's difficult for American students to be admitted to European universities right out of high school because our graduation requirements are different, but I don't know anyone who as tried it out.
Again clarity.  Originally I said it was "too much", but the discussion has gotten me to see the reality, hence error, or my understanding and "hopes".  Certainly getting room and board covered was a dream as I see it now.  The gap I've got is that I'd like to get to a point that the kids can handle it as part of their "responsibility" meaning it gets down to a loan level they can do on their own without us co-signing anything.  Again, while that's what I wanted, we can't always get what we want, and I see from this thread that we either need to suck it up and sign on the dotted line (with some agreement with the kids as some have suggested of them refinancing as soon as out as a likely possibility) or make it very clear that they have almost no choice except 2 years community college 2 years somewhere reasonable like Ohio State/Kent/Miami etc. or something with the same net price if we can find it out of state.  So at this point I've resigned myself to the fact that we need to assume $20-$25K as OK for any school with room and board and perhaps we can get that to $15-$20K if we work at it or get a good merit package which gets closer to full tuition versus 60% which is what I as mainly seeing right now.

marion10

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #108 on: August 10, 2017, 01:54:33 PM »
When my husband ran the FASFA it said our expected contribution was $48,000, I said there must be some mistake- but that is what it was.  When we were in school, we had a small amount of loans- and the interest rate was very low- my husband had loans that were 1.9%. Also interest did not begin to accrue until graduation. Now it accrues (at least for what we looked at) when you start the loan and the rates were very high. My son took out a loan for a summer program and that was all. Illinois has cut funding for state schools to where the students have to pay more and more.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #109 on: August 10, 2017, 01:57:49 PM »
Yep.

I found it helpful to tell DD that:

 "We have X money for your education.   You need to make the choice on how to use it (and I won't be taking out or co signing a loan for you, there are other kids to consider, here).   Here are your the options:  live at home and attend locally, community college then transfer, work for 1-2 years before going to college to pre-save the money / qualify for loans, get scholarships, save your own money, ask another relative for assistance.

If you don't spend X by the time you are 22, then it is yours, subject to your dad and I approving what you will spend it on.  It could be a down payment, a new business, or something else that will get you started in life."

Then it was up to her to figure it out, and I would just help her research it / bounce ideas off.  She was actually relieved that there was any money for her presaved at all.  Many of her friends did not have parents providing funds.

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #110 on: August 10, 2017, 02:46:23 PM »
Yep.

I found it helpful to tell DD that:

 "We have X money for your education.   You need to make the choice on how to use it (and I won't be taking out or co signing a loan for you, there are other kids to consider, here).   Here are your the options:  live at home and attend locally, community college then transfer, work for 1-2 years before going to college to pre-save the money / qualify for loans, get scholarships, save your own money, ask another relative for assistance.

If you don't spend X by the time you are 22, then it is yours, subject to your dad and I approving what you will spend it on.  It could be a down payment, a new business, or something else that will get you started in life."

Then it was up to her to figure it out, and I would just help her research it / bounce ideas off.  She was actually relieved that there was any money for her presaved at all.  Many of her friends did not have parents providing funds.
You make a good point that the surrounding friends situation plays a big role.  We are certainly not anywhere that I would call affluent as far as a school district, but it is certainly middle class or a bit higher in general.  As you said, there are other kids, and with some of them being stepkids (obviously in both directions depending on which child we're talking to), there can be that added resentment of well if they were not around then there might be more, even though that's not true.  It's tough for a kid to think of the realities, and I'm not going to take them through the details about how if we had stayed single the situation would actually be worse financially because the other expenses (childcare, lack of two incomes, less cost of raising them all together than each of us raising them independently in two households etc.) would have made our cash flow situation even worse.  They also do not see how a family who has one child can more easily cash flow more for them than when there are multiple.  So in our case many of her friends have the blessing of having all four years paid for wherever they want to go.  That's just not our reality.  Even though we have high income, the financial hurricane that is divorce blew away any savings there may have been, and again I'm not going to bad mouth my ex and say she could have saved from her half of the proceeds, as I did, but instead chose to spend it all and now will give them nothing.  I just focus on what our household can do for them.  It's just less than her friends and that's a tough pill to swallow when you have learned the spendy pants ways of keeping up with the Jonses that is prevalent in high school.

Paul der Krake

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #111 on: August 10, 2017, 02:54:42 PM »
I have heard that it's difficult for American students to be admitted to European universities right out of high school because our graduation requirements are different, but I don't know anyone who as tried it out.
Yup. US universities may be the best in the world, but high school is generally a joke, at least in the hard sciences.

Still worth looking at though. If you live on the East coast, going to school in Western Europe is about the same as going to California, distance wise.

mxt0133

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #112 on: August 10, 2017, 03:16:46 PM »
One huge alternative here -- the student works full time for 1-2 years, then goes into college.  Why?  either A) they save a lot of money for it ...o r B) after 2 years full time work, the parent's income does not get included.  2 years is not such a long time for someone with zero other options...and if it qualifies them for increased scholarship / bursary grant money, may be worth more than a large student loan...  (I digress)

Can you elaborate on what you mean by B?  Are you referring to filing as an independent student in the FAFSA application?


shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #113 on: August 10, 2017, 03:32:30 PM »
One huge alternative here -- the student works full time for 1-2 years, then goes into college.  Why?  either A) they save a lot of money for it ...o r B) after 2 years full time work, the parent's income does not get included.  2 years is not such a long time for someone with zero other options...and if it qualifies them for increased scholarship / bursary grant money, may be worth more than a large student loan...  (I digress)

I could be wrong, but I don't think it's enough to work full time and be deemed independent if you have parents who are otherwise (according to FAFSA) able to help with college but won't.  Pretty sure you basically have to be 24 or get some form of a very rare hardship override.

Cranky

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #114 on: August 11, 2017, 05:28:58 AM »
I think the take home message, as it were, is that universities increasingly are focusing on need based aid rather than merit aid, as they see it as a way to increase diversity. One of my kids actually *was* a National Merit Finalist, and we still paid our EFC.

Also, the college years was when I really appreciated our foresight in spacing them all 4 years apart. ;-)

Pigeon

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #115 on: August 11, 2017, 06:20:38 AM »

goatmom

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #116 on: August 11, 2017, 06:23:34 AM »
Yes, agree that it is harder to get money.  My DD was NMF and was able to get a full tuition ride to a second choice school.  It was tough for her to turn down her first choice due to the price tag.  Especially as she watched friends go these top schools on "full scholarship."  She was able to get RA after first year - so she had pretty much a free ride to a pretty good school.  As for the state schools - we live in New York - and they only offered her about $5,000 each year.  New York now has a "scholarship" for everyone making under a certain income.  I think that will make it even harder for kids like mine to get any money at all.  I agree with retaking the ACT.  Did she take the SAT?  Some kids do much better on one or the other.

GizmoTX

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #117 on: August 11, 2017, 07:30:55 AM »
OP, have you considered a co-op school/program? While it takes longer to graduate, the student gains valuable work experience & feedback in addition to pay as you go. https://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2012/02/27/why-college-co-op-programs-totally-rock/#1a8ffd371db7

I agree that graduate school is best delayed if it's an MBA, but some careers require the PhD, not just a Masters degree, & it is expected that the student will keep on going. It is important to find this out ASAP.

A number of universities now have "4+1" programs, where the student starts graduate courses in the senior year to eliminate a year of grad school. SMU not only has co-op & 4+1, it is dedicated to facilitating 2 majors if the student so desires. DS earned 3 degrees in 5 years: BS Electrical Engineering, BS Math, MSEE. He didn't do co-op but did paid summer internships at tech companies, & is now an Applications Engineer at one of them. He worked as a Teaching Assistant for a first year design course his last 3 years, & the last year paid his grad school tuition, fees, & a stipend, making it a full ride. He was also a student Ambassador & tutor for his engineering school -- service as well as high GPA was critical for getting his TA position & scholarships. My point here is that there are numerous opportunities for financial assistance after becoming a college student, not just before.

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #118 on: August 11, 2017, 07:39:59 AM »
MrsPete, excellent responses so thank you.  I was thinking, "is this MMMs wife responding" but the I quickly recalled she's running an Etsy business not a high school teacher.... :)

No, but my husband's name is Pete.

I had mentioned a book I stumbled across as a freebie in our public libraries book giveaway called "Right College Right Price"


Personally, I have not found any books I would recommend on this topic.  Books tend to be so general /try to cover too  much ground.   

I've been told out school district is one of the best in Ohio and the fact that our academic teams tend to place well in state competitions would seem to validate that, so I am assuming that the pool of talent she is measured against in her class would be pretty high. 

It's a good and a bad thing to be a part of a high-academic crowd:  On the one hand, it means she's likely better prepared for college; on the other hand, it means the competition for scholarships is tougher.  Regardless, she's likely to find college "a step up". 

This may be one area I am mistaken in, as I have no idea how to determine that.  I'm hoping that since my daughter was part of a Science Olympiad team that made it to Nationals twice in her tenure that this would differentiate for scholarships.  She has had a job at McDonald's since she turned 16, works 30-40 hours a week and was promoted to Crew Trainer within 6 weeks of starting, which would seem to show some leadership qualities.  She won an essay contest for Daughters of the American Revolution in middle school, so she's got some unique items that I would think are a little rare.  She does all that while maintaining involvement in Science Olympiad and theater which both require year round commitment of a heavy nature.  In all this I may certainly be succumbing to special snowflake syndrome where I feel she is doing a lot, but maybe it is just "meh" compared to everyone else.

Paired with her 3.9 GPA, these are positive ... but not head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest positive.  It's important that she writes these things up well in her essays /applications to show herself in the best possible light.  Except I wouldn't mention any middle school accomplishments. 

I do feel she is feeling that going to community college is in some ways "lesser". 

My oldest went straight to a 4-year university, but my youngest opted to begin with community college -- her choice, the right choice, and the day she made the choice she cried with relief because the pressure of "going away" was removed.  Yes, people looked at her (and me) as if they wanted to ask, "But, but, but, isn't she ... smart?"  The truth is she wasn't emotionally ready to go away.  She has grown tremendously in community college, and she is now ready for the 4-year university. 

Honestly, in general, I do think it's better (if possible) to begin at the 4-year school, but it isn't always the best path for every student.  In the last 6-8 years I've seen a disturbing trend:  I'm seeing (or hearing about) more and more of my students going away to 4-year schools and "not making it".  Some just leave school, others come home to matriculate at the community college, but I think most of the ones who "don't make it" haven't chosen well -- for some it's money, for others it's lack of emotional readiness -- but, if in doubt, starting at community college is probably better than the knock of "failing" to a young person. 

I do also worry that she has no idea what a real job in her desired major will be.  If she can really only do very basic lab work with a BS, she may be disappointed and not prepared that she will need more schooling


She's interested in Biology?  I think your fears are reasonable -- unless she wants to teach Biology.  I have a relative who first earned a Bio degree and could not find a job.  He added a Chemistry degree and was suddenly flooded with options. 

Has your daughter considered nursing?  It is somewhat related to Biology, though it requires more Chemistry classes, and it is a highly employable field.  When my oldest started nursing school in her junior year, 44 people were in her class ... 40 graduated ... 40 had jobs waiting, even though they hadn't yet taken the NCLEX exam to become RNS.  It's a tough (and expensive) major, but very worthwhile. 

Most of our interns say their most valuable experience is having their eyes opened to how an actual workplace functions versus what they are told in school.

I think that's a very typical experience.  Your daughter's a senior this year?  Can you set her up for some job shadowing experiences so she can have a look at the reality of the job she's considering? 

We do also have a challenge with being up front on what we can contribute because they is all dependent on everything going according to plan.  We are saving this up over the next 10 years, it is not sitting there ready to give them.  I worry about saying we will give her $25K and then we lose our jobs 4 years in and the whole plan derails but in the meantime she's on the hook with the expectation that we are going to provide $25K which has not become $10K.  Therefore it seems to need to be a "floating number".  It seem like not being up front to pretend that this could not happen given job instability in this country for the last two decades. 

You're talking about saving for the younger children, right?  I understand where you're coming from -- things haven't been "going to plan" around our house lately:  College is a lot of money.  However, between good choices and scholarships, we paid less than 25K total for our oldest's education ... and although we're not done yet, I feel sure we'll be able to say the same about our youngest. 

I understand why long-term financial commitments are "floating numbers", but that's tough for a kid to deal with.  They're not firm in terms of financial management yet.  Perhaps the best thing you can do is sit down together and look at the four-year cost of community college first vs. straight to a 4-year.  And given your budget concerns, I would go ahead and nix the idea of out-of-state and private schools right now ... I personally just don't see that they make anyone more employable, and they are so much more expensive (both in obvious ways and in smaller ways such as transportation). 

With younger children coming along later, I think it's important that you can offer them all the same parental help later.  I've known more than a few families who go "all out" for the oldest child -- take on loans, whatever -- only to realize that they cannot do it for all the children, and it leads to resentment among siblings.  For example, I'm thinking of a good friend of my daughter's ... her parents had literally no college savings, and she was determined to go to a reasonably-priced 4-year school, yet she was a mid-range student and earned no scholarships.  Her mom told her that she'd borrow 50% of the cost and the daughter would borrow 50% of the cost ... but after a very successful freshman year,, her mom told her that she had calculated the cost of doing this for four years + four years for the younger sister ... and she just couldn't continue.  So the girl was left with two bad choices:  Leave the university where she was established and successful and go to community college ... or borrow 100% the cost herself.  Not a fair position to place a young person. 

« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 07:45:19 AM by MrsPete »

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #119 on: August 11, 2017, 07:43:47 AM »

I agree that graduate school is best delayed if it's an MBA, but some careers require the PhD, not just a Masters degree, & it is expected that the student will keep on going. It is important to find this out ASAP.


I think this is fallacy borne out of a new view of the world best explained by https://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html.  I agree the CAREER requires it, but you do not get a CAREER fresh out of school.  You work towards it.  It is not REQUIRED that you have those credentials to BEGIN working in the field.  We seem to have lost the fact that you build your career over decades of blood, sweat and tears, not though immediate rewards of special snowflakes.  Think about the implication of what your statement implies.  IF entry level work required advanced degrees and everyone got them then you'd never have high level researchers with more knowledge because everyone is coming in with a PhD, which is a lot of book larnin' but not a whole lot of knowing how to do the work.

A key section of some research for the article above:

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here where her expectations for what is possible in early years out of college meet up with reality.

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #120 on: August 11, 2017, 07:54:07 AM »
Mrs. Pete has the wise.

Aw, thanks, but I'd say it's not so much wisdom as experience with a wide variety of high school seniors. 

Community college can be a great option for lots of students.  It can also be a gigantic waste of time and money.


This is true.  MOST of my students who go to community college drop out in their first semester; however, that's because community college is the "path of least resistance" for the kids who never had any business going to college.  They are a big part of what gives community college a bad reputation.

The key thing is to figure out what school you want to transfer to and look carefully at articulation agreements.  I'm in a state university system.  We have agreements for with some community colleges and some 4 yrs for some programs. 


This has been very hard for my community college daughter.  The community college absolutely SUCKS in terms of helping kids plan for their AA/AS degree ... much less planning to transfer.  If I didn't know how to help my daughter, she'd be lost, and I feel badly for kids who don't have help.  Yeah, it's not hard to look up the 4-year school to which you want to transfer, and it's not  hard to find a website that addresses exactly what classes transfer and whether they transfer as electives or specific classes ... but when you don't know what you don't know, it's not so easy.   

In those cases, the kids pay far less for the first two years and transfer seamlessly.  But tons of students go to cc for a couple of years first and then decide where to transfer and are shocked to find very few of their courses will help them at all with program requirements or even for gen ed requirements.  This is particularly important in highly sequenced programs (generally STEM, but some others).

So true.  And this isn't about being academically able ... it's about understanding the nuances of higher education.

I have not seen guidance counselors pushing expensive schools.  Our guidance counselors and the ones at dh's school are pretty level-headed and reasonable.  They put on seminars about college costs, financial aid and picking good school for your particular situation.  They don't push the students in one direction or another.  They have a mandatory meeting with the families to discuss goals and realistic expectations.

I agree; rather, they offer up "all the choices", and students tend to think, "I must go for the one at the top!"  Yeah, I have high school students with C averages and poor attendance records who genuinely think they're going to prestigious universities and will become surgeons.  On full scholarships.  The counselors do push the COLLEGE FOR ALL agenda, but I don't see them saying, "You must attend an expensive school."  They're involved in setting up the expectations, but they aren't necessarily the ones pushing the prestigious/expensive schools.   

Where the pressure comes in is from the kid's peers.  My older daughter is attending an in-state public college.  It is a gem of a school and is perfect for getting into the kind of professional program she wants.  However, she got a lot of crap from her friends whose parents were determined that they go somewhere more prestigious.  One guy was relentless with her, and she felt bad for a time for not going to the kind of school his family valued.  She hasn't seen this kid once since high school, but yet his opinion carried great weight.  Go figure, they are teenagers and don't have much perspective.

Yep, I've seen that among my students.  My daughter heard it when she opted for community college.  Two of my brothers heard it when they opted to go into the military right out of high school.   

I could be wrong, but I don't think it's enough to work full time and be deemed independent if you have parents who are otherwise (according to FAFSA) able to help with college but won't.  Pretty sure you basically have to be 24 or get some form of a very rare hardship override.

Yeah, being two years out of high school won't suddenly make you eligible for financial aid. 

Financial aid has some big blind spots.  I fell into one:  My parents didn't particularly support me in going to college -- I knew they didn't have any money, but I sure could've used emotional support and guidance -- and some years they wouldn't fill out my FAFSA paperwork.  I remember going to the financial aid office and trying to get them to help me do something different ... they told me flat-out that I couldn't possibly be supporting myself on what I was earning ... but I was.  I was at the end of my rope, and they slapped me in the face.  To my great shame, I burst out crying. 

In retrospect, I should have joined the military. 

I think this is fallacy borne out of a new view of the world best explained by https://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html.
I've read this before, and I think it's an excellent explanation of what's going on in the world.  My students absolutely have an unrealistic expectation that their career will bring them extreme personal fulfillment and joy -- not just pay the bills.  And, yes, they expect it to happen fast; they seem to think that their college years will be their "putting in their time" years, and the rewards will begin the day after graduation.  And, yes, yes, to them falling for social media perceptions about how well their peers are doing. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 08:19:44 AM by MrsPete »

Goldielocks

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #121 on: August 11, 2017, 08:52:20 AM »
Yep.

I found it helpful to tell DD that:

 "We have X money for your education.   You need to make the choice on how to use it (and I won't be taking out or co signing a loan for you, there are other kids to consider, here).   Here are your the options:  live at home and attend locally, community college then transfer, work for 1-2 years before going to college to pre-save the money / qualify for loans, get scholarships, save your own money, ask another relative for assistance.

If you don't spend X by the time you are 22, then it is yours, subject to your dad and I approving what you will spend it on.  It could be a down payment, a new business, or something else that will get you started in life."

Then it was up to her to figure it out, and I would just help her research it / bounce ideas off.  She was actually relieved that there was any money for her presaved at all.  Many of her friends did not have parents providing funds.
You make a good point that the surrounding friends situation plays a big role.  We are certainly not anywhere that I would call affluent as far as a school district, but it is certainly middle class or a bit higher in general.  As you said, there are other kids, and with some of them being stepkids (obviously in both directions depending on which child we're talking to), there can be that added resentment of well if they were not around then there might be more, even though that's not true.  It's tough for a kid to think of the realities, and I'm not going to take them through the details about how if we had stayed single the situation would actually be worse financially because the other expenses (childcare, lack of two incomes, less cost of raising them all together than each of us raising them independently in two households etc.) would have made our cash flow situation even worse.  They also do not see how a family who has one child can more easily cash flow more for them than when there are multiple.  So in our case many of her friends have the blessing of having all four years paid for wherever they want to go.  That's just not our reality.  Even though we have high income, the financial hurricane that is divorce blew away any savings there may have been, and again I'm not going to bad mouth my ex and say she could have saved from her half of the proceeds, as I did, but instead chose to spend it all and now will give them nothing.  I just focus on what our household can do for them.  It's just less than her friends and that's a tough pill to swallow when you have learned the spendy pants ways of keeping up with the Jonses that is prevalent in high school.

May I say that it sucks that your divorce settlement did not include apportioning out  money for (some) of the college expenses before dividing the remaining assets?   

I mean, that really sucks, as I bet it would not have left either of you in a bind at the time.  Most of the agreements here take college into consideration, somehow.

I find my DD to be quite rational at 17 about a lot of things (and immature about others, of course!);  could you sit your kids down (just yours and you) , and show them how the finances worked out during the divorce, and how you put money aside for them, and just for them, during the process?  (I assume you DH did the same for his kids), and now that expenses are higher than thought, you and DH are trying to cashflow additional money for everyone jointly? 

Heck, show a current household budget...

Goldielocks

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #122 on: August 11, 2017, 09:01:33 AM »
One huge alternative here -- the student works full time for 1-2 years, then goes into college.  Why?  either A) they save a lot of money for it ...o r B) after 2 years full time work, the parent's income does not get included.  2 years is not such a long time for someone with zero other options...and if it qualifies them for increased scholarship / bursary grant money, may be worth more than a large student loan...  (I digress)

Can you elaborate on what you mean by B?  Are you referring to filing as an independent student in the FAFSA application?

Yes,  except it is not FAFSA for us.  Our CSL application is very similar, but has a few slightly more generous rules about independence  (and some more difficult conditions, such as the family income threshold cut off is quite low where you don't qualify for any federal loans, and you need to qualify for a federal loan to have a hope at any need based bursary or work study opportunity, and sometimes even on-campus employment from your school).

I know private US universities take a very long view of how long parental income qualifies -- 6 or 8 years, sometimes.   Here is it 4 years after graduating, UNLESS you have 2  full years of documented FT work (e.g. paid into EI for 2 years, logging up to 4000 hours),.  Or are married, a parent, etc.

What is the FAFSA cut-off for state schools in the US for determining independence from family income?

ETA
Oh, hey -- thanks for the link.   

CSL's "2 years full time employment" is essentially the same clause as "Be a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances."...

  eg., that you have been supporting yourself independently for 2+ years, with your own employment.... but it is very clearly defined here and less subjective.    We still need to provide proof that the 2 years full time employment occurred, but don't have to show that the student was living outside of the house (as many live at home and pay rent here).

Question -- What does "Be a graduate or professional student;" mean?
Could you take a 2 year diploma and then say that you are a graduate?

« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 09:08:15 AM by Goldielocks »

Laura33

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #123 on: August 11, 2017, 09:11:23 AM »

I agree that graduate school is best delayed if it's an MBA, but some careers require the PhD, not just a Masters degree, & it is expected that the student will keep on going. It is important to find this out ASAP.


I think this is fallacy borne out of a new view of the world best explained by https://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html.  I agree the CAREER requires it, but you do not get a CAREER fresh out of school.  You work towards it.  It is not REQUIRED that you have those credentials to BEGIN working in the field.  We seem to have lost the fact that you build your career over decades of blood, sweat and tears, not though immediate rewards of special snowflakes.  Think about the implication of what your statement implies.  IF entry level work required advanced degrees and everyone got them then you'd never have high level researchers with more knowledge because everyone is coming in with a PhD, which is a lot of book larnin' but not a whole lot of knowing how to do the work.

I love that article, but I think you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

1.  Yes, some careers do not require a Ph.D, or even a Masters.  Others do require an advanced degree but allow you to get that over time as you work (or, like an MBA, even want you to have work experience first).  Not having a Masters or Ph.D will not make your DD unemployable.

2.  However, some careers DO require a Ph.D right out of the gate.  My DH is in E.E., and he needed a Ph.D to do the advanced tech development he wanted to do.  Sure, he could have worked as a tech, pushing wafers, with a B.S., but he would not have had the time/opportunity to do a Ph.D with all of the lab work and independent research "on the side" in his spare time -- that Ph.D was itself a full-time job.  (Conveniently, many of these areas also provide fellowships that allow people like my DH to go straight through -- so this isn't a question of "can I afford it," but instead "do I want to sign up for a path that commits me to 7-8 years of school instead of 4?")

3.  The important point here is to know which category the jobs your DD is interested in fall into.  It makes no sense to invest in a 4-year Biology degree if she gets to her senior year and discovers that the biology career she was interested in requires a Ph.D, and she has no interest in a Ph.D or is in a field that doesn't provide sufficient funding so she can afford it.  Figure that out early on so that she can choose the school and major appropriately.

4.  Don't forget the time value of money.  By going straight through, my DH walked right into making @$70K+* at age 25.  Sure, he could have gotten his B.S., taken a couple of years to work as a tech for maybe 1/3-1/2 that amount, and then gone back for his Ph.D.  But (a) that may have made him less likely to get a fellowship, as Ph.D programs tend to snag promising undergrads instead of focusing on the "continuing ed" crowd, and (b) that would have meant treading water financially until maybe 30.  Not the end of the world by any means -- but in his field, he was much better served by going straight through.  Same with me:  at the time, I could have taken a year or two off and made $7.50/hr as a Kelly Girl; or I could have gone straight through to law school and immediately begun making $57K.  Again, the delta between what I could make with my Bachelors vs. my J.D. made it worthwhile to go straight through, even though it required loans to do so.  [*Yes, we are old.  This was a lot of money at the time.]
 
5.  Finally, credential inflation is, unfortunately, a thing, and it's real.  When very few people went to college, just having a college degree was sufficient to distinguish yourself; as more people go to college, many jobs that used to require only a Bachelors now require a Masters.  Would you believe that at least one law firm now requires a Bachelors degree for a receptionist position?  Almost none of this is because the required skills have changed!  It's because they get a gazillion resumes, and the degree is a way to sort candidates -- it is a marker of reasonable intelligence, yes, but perhaps more critically it also signals a demonstrated ability to get up on time every day for class, to persevere through long, hard projects, and other character traits that employers see as desirable.  Stupid?  Probably.  But it's the reality our kids are living in. 

Tl;dr:  It's best not to focus on what our generation thinks "should" be required for a particular job or career path, but instead to talk to people who are currently in that field and look at the ads from people hiring in those areas so your DD knows ahead of time what she needs to position herself well for whatever it is she decides she wants to do.
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mm1970

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #124 on: August 11, 2017, 10:43:48 AM »
Quote
Financial aid has some big blind spots.  I fell into one:  My parents didn't particularly support me in going to college -- I knew they didn't have any money, but I sure could've used emotional support and guidance -- and some years they wouldn't fill out my FAFSA paperwork.

Yeah, my dad refused to fill out FAFSA paperwork.  That added extra money to my bill every year.  Thanks man!

mm1970

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #125 on: August 11, 2017, 11:01:50 AM »
on PhD's: it depends.

Honestly -
I'm an engineer with 25 years of experience and I work in semiconductors.  I work with a LOT of PhDs, and have for the last 17+ years.

I'm also married to a guy with a PhD in electrical engineering.

It depends.
- To be honest, in semiconductors, you don't really need a PhD, depending on what you want to do.  If you want to teach?  Yes.  If you want to do certain types of research, particularly for the government?  Yes.
- But I spent years "pushing wafers" as an engineer, not a tech (we did hire a few engineering majors as techs during the recession, because they were desperate). 
- I work with many senior engineers and tech managers who have bachelors degrees and know more than the PhDs.  The type of work you do depends a lot more on your personality and desire to learn.
- That said, some areas are PhD snobs.  You can know everything in the world, but occasionally you are going to get that one hiring manager...
- My companies have done will with each group having a variety of engineers and PhDs.  The PhD comes in handy, in our industry, for specific materials knowledge, materials growth, electronics applications and performance, and simulations.   You can learn all this on the job, but it's incredibly useful to hire a fresh PhD grad who just wrote his thesis on this one tiny area - that happens to overlap with what you want to do.
- That said, an engineer with 5 years work experience and a fresh PhD make the same amount of money.  Or pretty close.

Hubby got a PhD because he really wanted to study something in-depth after his more general Navy experience.  It's funny, because he'll say he feels like a "failed" PhD, because he's not a prof and he doesn't publish.  My company is full of PhDs who aren't profs and don't publish.  He's got a lot of in depth knowledge in his field.

Laura33

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #126 on: August 11, 2017, 11:29:16 AM »
on PhD's: it depends.

Honestly -
I'm an engineer with 25 years of experience and I work in semiconductors.  I work with a LOT of PhDs, and have for the last 17+ years.

I'm also married to a guy with a PhD in electrical engineering.

It depends.
- To be honest, in semiconductors, you don't really need a PhD, depending on what you want to do.  If you want to teach?  Yes.  If you want to do certain types of research, particularly for the government?  Yes.
- But I spent years "pushing wafers" as an engineer, not a tech (we did hire a few engineering majors as techs during the recession, because they were desperate). 
- I work with many senior engineers and tech managers who have bachelors degrees and know more than the PhDs.  The type of work you do depends a lot more on your personality and desire to learn.
- That said, some areas are PhD snobs.  You can know everything in the world, but occasionally you are going to get that one hiring manager...
- My companies have done will with each group having a variety of engineers and PhDs.  The PhD comes in handy, in our industry, for specific materials knowledge, materials growth, electronics applications and performance, and simulations.   You can learn all this on the job, but it's incredibly useful to hire a fresh PhD grad who just wrote his thesis on this one tiny area - that happens to overlap with what you want to do.
- That said, an engineer with 5 years work experience and a fresh PhD make the same amount of money.  Or pretty close.

Hubby got a PhD because he really wanted to study something in-depth after his more general Navy experience.  It's funny, because he'll say he feels like a "failed" PhD, because he's not a prof and he doesn't publish.  My company is full of PhDs who aren't profs and don't publish.  He's got a lot of in depth knowledge in his field.

Yes, this is all accurate, as far as I know.  DH was in one of those "tiny areas" (non-silicon-based) and wanted to do advanced R&D stuff.  Was not trying to argue that all EE jobs require a Ph.D -- just trying to make the point that it makes sense to know what your desired career path entails before you commit to a particular degree, because some do require that Ph.D (or Masters, or whatever), so if you're not up for that, best to know beforehand.
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Cranky

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #127 on: August 11, 2017, 12:48:11 PM »
Saying it again, for emphasis - a PhD in biology should be fully funded by the university, and that's because  it will be actual *work*, first as a TA and then in a lab.

shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #128 on: August 12, 2017, 06:47:00 AM »
A key section of some research for the article above:

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

Ha this is funny.  And it really resembled my oldest, until her first semester as a freshman in bioengineering and she realized that there were kids who were just, well, smarter than her. 

My son starts college next month.  I have zero worries about him in this regard.  He was a HS wrestler.  Nothing could possibly teach humility to a teen boy more than  getting into a singlet and getting your ass handed to you in front of your peers week after week.  Really a great character building experience.

I'd find it VERY hard to believe that a student would not have learned some humility by the time they reach/graduate from grad school.  I still remember my own "oh shit, I am the dumbest guy in the room" epiphany during my first week at law school VERY clearly.

ltt

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #129 on: August 12, 2017, 05:25:08 PM »
OP, you don't have to sign on the dotted line.  Your child can do that; however you will have to fork over some cash, some money out of the 529; your child will need to work, apply for scholarships, dividend/capital gain income, bonus money.

Plan out one/two semesters at a time; don't look at everything in totality.  Because chances are your child will be doing an internship during their senior year and/or working more and should be able to come up with additional funds.

I cringe every time I see that $20k per semester bill.  But once scholarships are applied, it's knocked down tremendously, and then I can start seeing the light. :)

 

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #130 on: August 14, 2017, 11:10:32 AM »
OP, you don't have to sign on the dotted line.  Your child can do that; however you will have to fork over some cash, some money out of the 529; your child will need to work, apply for scholarships, dividend/capital gain income, bonus money.

Plan out one/two semesters at a time; don't look at everything in totality.  Because chances are your child will be doing an internship during their senior year and/or working more and should be able to come up with additional funds.

I cringe every time I see that $20k per semester bill.  But once scholarships are applied, it's knocked down tremendously, and then I can start seeing the light. :)
I think it keeps getting lost that the net price calculator (a good one that asks lots of questions) already includes about $30K in scholarships before you get the $20K bill for the year. 

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #131 on: August 14, 2017, 11:39:50 AM »
Ha this is funny.  And it really resembled my oldest, until her first semester as a freshman in bioengineering and she realized that there were kids who were just, well, smarter than her. 
I think this is fairly typical.  Let's say 1000 kids attended your daughter's high school, and let's pretend they're equally distributed into age groups ... so she's been with the same 250 kids for what feels like a long time, and she knows that maybe 10% of them are considered "the really smart kids" ... so she's been one of something like 25 outstanding kids in her high school.  She is used to thinking of herself as the cream of the crop. 

Then she went to college, and she realized that in her freshman year at a four-year school, her classmates were ALL those 25 outstanding kids.  She didn't realize that EVERY high school has those same 25-or-so outstanding kids, and they are the ones who populate her college classes.  She didn't stop to think that she would no longer be "top of the heap"; rather, she'd be among peers, so she's no longer outstanding. 

Not an insult to her in any way, but it's a typical experience. 

I'd find it VERY hard to believe that a student would not have learned some humility by the time they reach/graduate from grad school.  I still remember my own "oh shit, I am the dumbest guy in the room" epiphany during my first week at law school VERY clearly.
Oh, yeah.  I remember a similar epiphany ... and it doesn't make me look particularly good:  In my first semester of college, my advisor recommended that I jump right into a sophomore-level major class -- she said it would give me just a taste of the major and let me see if it was "right for me".  It was good advice. 

BUT when we wrote our first papers, the professor wrote a scale of grades up on the board to let us see that most of the papers had skewed towards high grades ... with one outlier of a 55.  I'd always liked seeing grade scales because it assured me that I was at the top of the class, and it reinforced my idea that I was Really Smart.  So, of course I sat back and thought, "What an idiot.  How could anyone do that badly?"  Obviously you've already jumped ahead to the conclusion, and you know that the 55 was mine.  I was SHOCKED, and I went to see the professor, sure that something had gone wrong -- nope, he tore my paper apart in person.  It was an epiphany for me:  It was a moment when I said to myself, "Okay, so high school papers won't fly here ... I have to up my game."  And I did. 

I had a more personal "I'm not the smartest person in this room" moment when I was in about 4th grade.  I was having trouble with fractions, so I asked my mother for help.  She was busy and told me to go to my great-great-great aunt (who happened to be visiting).  I was sure that she was too old, too stupid, fractions weren't even invented yet when she was young, how could she possibly help ME?  And I made my disdain clear.  Not only did my 90-something year old aunt teach me fractions, she showed me multiple ways to approach the problems and was FAR superior to my classroom teacher.  Real lesson 1:  Do not underestimate people because of their age.  Real lesson 2:  A little humility is a good thing. 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 11:51:54 AM by MrsPete »

shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #132 on: August 14, 2017, 11:48:17 AM »

I think this is fairly typical. 

*     *     *

Not an insult to her in any way, but it's a typical experience.

Right. I think it's typical too. But it would seem to directly contradict the premise of the article, which is that kids who AREN'T special somehow make it to the workforce feeling super special and are unable to deal with the humbling nature of grownup life.

I think most peeps get a healthy serving of humble pie long before entry into the workforce.

I find the whole "millenials are different" thing to be just the gen x/baby boomers' way to oldsplain why millenials are "doing it wrong."

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #133 on: August 14, 2017, 12:18:01 PM »
Right. I think it's typical too. But it would seem to directly contradict the premise of the article, which is that kids who AREN'T special somehow make it to the workforce feeling super special and are unable to deal with the humbling nature of grownup life.
Well, I teach high school seniors, and I can comment on that: 

- High school is still a caste system.  A whole lot of my students -- the majority, really -- take the classes they can pass with little effort.  And they tend to do well in them.  So we have a whole lot of kids who COULD HAVE taken an advanced level math class, worked hard, and learned a lot ... but they would've come out with a C ... and nobody wants a C.  Instead they opt to take general level math, where they can earn an A doing only half the homework and focusing hard on the test review.  So they come out of school saying, "I am an amazing student!  Just look:  I have a 3.5 GPA!"  People at this level don't seem to realize that there's a whole level of student "above them" pushing themselves, challenging themselves, learning harder math ... and those people will get the really good jobs that the mediocre students expect to go to them. 

Example:  Last year I taught a girl who was genuinely lowest-of-the-low in terms of academics.  She spent two periods a day in a supervised study hall with a Special Ed teacher, and she had an IEP that required me to give her reduced assignments and reduced tests.  In other words, she was getting A GREAT DEAL OF HELP in getting through high school.  Her career goal:  Join the Army, go through basic, then somehow magically get the Army to pay for her to go to medical school.  This girl, while extreme, had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that she was not average and ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that a person of her intellectual capacity would never make it to medical school ... much less get someone else to pay for it.  When I talked to her about becoming a CNA -- a job that pays more than minimum wage and is within her ability range -- she was highly insulted.  I know, I know, those of us on the outside don't understand how she could be so blind, but she believed in this plan with 100% of her heart.  And she did make it into the Army, so she IS in the work force at this very minute, so she will likely experience this "humbling nature of adult life" in the next year or so. 

- In my experience, lots of people -- young and old -- tend to blame others (or extraneous circumstances) when things don't go their way.  So when they're not promoted, it's because the boss doesn't like them, or because that nasty co-worker set them up somehow.  When they're reprimanded for being late multiple times, they blame the heavy traffic.  I know lots of people who feel quite superior, yet have no real basis to feel that way.  It starts with the trophy-for-every-kid thing. 

Laura33

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #134 on: August 14, 2017, 12:32:53 PM »
- In my experience, lots of people -- young and old -- tend to blame others (or extraneous circumstances) when things don't go their way.  So when they're not promoted, it's because the boss doesn't like them, or because that nasty co-worker set them up somehow.  When they're reprimanded for being late multiple times, they blame the heavy traffic.  I know lots of people who feel quite superior, yet have no real basis to feel that way.  It starts with the trophy-for-every-kid thing.

ITA with all of this -- except the last sentence.  It didn't start with the trophies-for-all era; I was just as callow and egocentric when I was a teenager back in the stone ages.  Every "thing" someone else had that I couldn't afford was because the System was stacked against my family; every B I ever got was the teacher's fault (and this was through college even!).  I was probably 30 before I said, "hmm, maybe the reason other people have more than me is because they work harder/do a better job/sacrifice more than I do."  I think that attitude is incredibly standard immature-teenage fare. 

If there's a difference, I don't think it is a difference in the kids themselves; we just may not be giving them as many early opportunities to get that knocked out of them.  E.g., seems like fewer parents expect their kids to get regular minimum-wage jobs in HS; more grade inflation at school; more extracurriculars so everyone can be special at something; more expectations that more kids go to college and so delay entering the less-kind adult world, etc.

Then again, I had the minimum-wage job in HS and through college, I lived in the purportedly pre-grade-inflation days, I never got a single sports trophy for anything until my office won our softball league when I was in my 40s, and I still managed to be an immature twit who blamed the world for my problems for many years after graduation.  And our current politics would suggest that there are a lot of angry people my age who are still out there looking for someone else to blame for their problems.  So maybe we haven't been doing such an awesome job at this for a long time.  If we ever did.
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shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #135 on: August 14, 2017, 12:41:38 PM »
People at this level don't seem to realize that there's a whole level of student "above them" pushing themselves, challenging themselves, learning harder math ... and those people will get the really good jobs that the mediocre students expect to go to them. 

My kids are "those other kids," and their peers/friends have also been high achievers.  And I live in a small city that people like to make fun of (not an affluent area where everyone goes to college).  I tend to forget that there are kids out there who have high aspirations but low effort.  Within my kids peer groups, it really is a bunch of kids going out there to kick ass and take names.  No fear for what the future holds because there's a great crop of leaders waiting to bloom.

That said, some of the helicopter parents at my son's freshman orientation were on a whole 'nother level as far as wiping their kids' butts goes.   

Quote
Then again, I had the minimum-wage job in HS and through college, I lived in the purportedly pre-grade-inflation days, I never got a single sports trophy for anything until my office won our softball league when I was in my 40s, and I still managed to be an immature twit who blamed the world for my problems for many years after graduation.  And our current politics would suggest that there are a lot of angry people my age who are still out there looking for someone else to blame for their problems.  So maybe we haven't been doing such an awesome job at this for a long time.  If we ever did.

Ha!  nailed it. 
 

Paul der Krake

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #136 on: August 14, 2017, 03:00:06 PM »
Ha this is funny.  And it really resembled my oldest, until her first semester as a freshman in bioengineering and she realized that there were kids who were just, well, smarter than her. 
I think this is fairly typical.  Let's say 1000 kids attended your daughter's high school, and let's pretend they're equally distributed into age groups ... so she's been with the same 250 kids for what feels like a long time, and she knows that maybe 10% of them are considered "the really smart kids" ... so she's been one of something like 25 outstanding kids in her high school.  She is used to thinking of herself as the cream of the crop. 

Then she went to college, and she realized that in her freshman year at a four-year school, her classmates were ALL those 25 outstanding kids.  She didn't realize that EVERY high school has those same 25-or-so outstanding kids, and they are the ones who populate her college classes.  She didn't stop to think that she would no longer be "top of the heap"; rather, she'd be among peers, so she's no longer outstanding. 

Not an insult to her in any way, but it's a typical experience. 
Paraphrasing from a similar quote: if you're never the dumbest person in the room, start knocking on doors.

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #137 on: August 14, 2017, 03:17:20 PM »
DD just got here university first term book list.   Does anyone remember the name of the site with very inexpensive used textbooks? 

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #138 on: August 14, 2017, 03:30:01 PM »
OP, good luck with putting a bunch of kids through college. You're doing very well, and I'm sure it'll all be fine.

I've told my story before in this forum, but I was also an above average kid. I was in the IB program, took AP classes and passed the tests, varsity captain in multiple sports (though not nearly good enough for athletic scholarships), and an above average SAT test taker.

I applied to my dream school (an above average private school), got in, and accepted their offer without question. After all, my peers in the IB program and in my AP classes were all going to their first choice school if they got in...why shouldn't I? I don't hold it against my folks, but neither of them were college educated, so neither of them knew any better when it came to college stuff.

And....I proceeded to fall flat on my face.

A 1.7 GPA and nearly $40k in loans after the first year, I found myself realizing that the likely scenario, assuming I turn things around, is graduating with $160k in loans, a mediocre GPA, and a less than likely chance at a high enough paying job to pay it all off. An even more likely scenario: I get kicked out for failing academically. Let's just say that I succumbed to the typical vices of alcohol and general partying that I didn't focus on school at all.

I moved back in with my folks, went to community college, picked a major that had 100% guarantee of transfer credits to the local state school, and got a full time job as quickly as I could. I paid for my own transportation and tuition for the next 4 years.

5 years after I graduated high school, I was the proud owner of a state school BS degree. For those four years, I lived with my parents, maybe took 1 week off total over the 4 years, and either worked or went to school 7 days a week. Working in sales, I was able to make a high enough income to not only pay cash for school, but to start paying down those loans. I graduated with $20k debt from the private school, $0 from community college, and $0 from state school. 2 years later, I finished paying those private school loans off.

For what it's worth, 3 years after paying those off, I'm now married with a kid and a house. I have a job at a F100 company with great benefits and I keep making more money each year. Life is FAR from perfect, but money is not something that keeps me up at night, even though I think I still have a long way to go until I feel I make "enough."

Hopefully your kid gets over the disappointment phase. There's something to be said about working with what you got, and busting your butt from there. For some kids that means helicopter rides from the family estate to the full price private college. For others, it's figuring how to even get to school because they grew up in the projects and have a non-existent family life or support system.

Luckily, they're somewhere in the middle, and will have some skin in the game. It makes it that much more satisfying, in my opinion. They'll need to work (a bunch), study hard, and apply for as many extra sources of help, but it'll all work out.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 03:31:48 PM by patchyfacialhair »

caracarn

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #139 on: August 15, 2017, 08:11:03 AM »
Yeah, we've been having some good conversations since this started in earnest.  One question I have is that someone told my daughter that if she goes to CC and then transfers she will have forgone and academic scholarship oppotunities at the school she ends up in so that they felt the savings of the first two years would be negated by paying nearly full cost for the last two.  Anyone have any detail on this?  Given how many other things I had assumed were one way in this college game only find out were the opposite, is this also one I am not aware of that is true?  Do they only give the bigger (read 50%+ tuition coverage) to the freshman who go for 4 years and just given token aid to the transfers?

I got a ACT study guide and she was excited to see that.  She's also been using a couple sites to study that she found she said.  Most importantly, given her negative attitude about improving her score, I showed her the chart for scoring and pointed out that in some sections, each additional question right is another point in the score and for others it's only like another 2-3 questions per point, so that raising her score 1-3 points might involve getting 10 more questions right in total than she did the first time she took the test.  We did talk about the time aspect of the tests as several sources have said the SAT gives more time per questions so some kids do better, but she said time was not the issue, she never felt rushed, so that's why she felt just studying a bit before September 9th would be best.

So a few more questions.  Would you hold of on college visits, especially to the out of state schools she wants to check out until after she'a applied and been accepted and it looks like a financial possibility?   She's getting a ton of invites this week along with a lot of waivers of application fees, including to her dream school Tulane.  She seems to have been getting 1-3 schools a day for the last two years sending her stuff (which is a massive amount compared to her sister, who maybe got 10 total mailings in all of high school) but this is now about 10 a day since the start of August.    Step sister has not been getting any mailings yet even though they are both seniors, so this again gives me some confusion because it seems that in some way the one child hit the marketing radar and the other did not.  I figured it was the grades and extracurriculars but maybe that's just wishful thinking.  Comments on what you all think it is, even if just dumb luck, are desired.  Finally, should she wait to apply to any school until she retakes the ACT and gets results?  I have no idea how anyone would have any real "proof" that if you apply to a school with the 29 ACT and get $x and then she get's a 31 or something and they increase to $y, would the school have actually offered her even more if she had just waited to apply with the 31 in the first place?  Or do schools not even increase the scholarships if you have a change, or as I assume is most likely, that varies by school?  Ugh!  So many things!

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #140 on: August 15, 2017, 08:14:31 AM »
I think that attitude is incredibly standard immature-teenage fare. 
Okay, I have to agree that this attitude is not new, but I do think it's exacerbated in recent years.  I do think it's become stronger in recent years. 

I tend to forget that there are kids out there who have high aspirations but low effort. 
That's why I think I have a wider view of kids today.  As a high school teacher, I see a wide variety of kids -- not just my own kids' peer groups -- and I look at them without the emotional attachment I have to my own kids and their long-time friends. 

DD just got here university first term book list.   Does anyone remember the name of the site with very inexpensive used textbooks?
Used text books and rentals are available from multiple sites.  Your best bet:  Google the full name of the book /author /edition ... or Google the ISBN #, and compare the options on various sites. 

Hints: 
- Textbook assignments have been available on school websites for at least a month now.  The sooner you buy, the better your selection of used books ... and you don't have to pay expedited shipping or wait to have your books.

- Consider a slightly-older edition.  For example, my youngest was just assigned one book that was over $200 and wasn't available used (a hint that it's a brand-new edition).  It was a 14th edition, and we noted that a 13th edition was available for rental for something like $18.  Guess which one we chose. 

- Be careful about used books with computer access.  It may be available only to the original owner, and IF the professor requires computer homework, you may actually need the more expensive book.  In cases like these, email the professor and ask. 

- If you rent books, write your return date on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone.  I have two friends who work /worked at a university bookstore, and they both say the same thing:  Only about 1/3 of people who rent actually return the books (or return them on time) ... and if you're late, congrats!  You just bought a very expensive book.  They say that the bookstores are making money hand over fist on inexperienced consumers who aren't careful to return their rentals. 

secondcor521

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #141 on: August 15, 2017, 08:27:19 AM »
Yeah, we've been having some good conversations since this started in earnest.  One question I have is that someone told my daughter that if she goes to CC and then transfers she will have forgone and academic scholarship oppotunities at the school she ends up in so that they felt the savings of the first two years would be negated by paying nearly full cost for the last two.  Anyone have any detail on this?  Given how many other things I had assumed were one way in this college game only find out were the opposite, is this also one I am not aware of that is true?  Do they only give the bigger (read 50%+ tuition coverage) to the freshman who go for 4 years and just given token aid to the transfers?

I got a ACT study guide and she was excited to see that.  She's also been using a couple sites to study that she found she said.  Most importantly, given her negative attitude about improving her score, I showed her the chart for scoring and pointed out that in some sections, each additional question right is another point in the score and for others it's only like another 2-3 questions per point, so that raising her score 1-3 points might involve getting 10 more questions right in total than she did the first time she took the test.  We did talk about the time aspect of the tests as several sources have said the SAT gives more time per questions so some kids do better, but she said time was not the issue, she never felt rushed, so that's why she felt just studying a bit before September 9th would be best.

So a few more questions.  Would you hold of on college visits, especially to the out of state schools she wants to check out until after she'a applied and been accepted and it looks like a financial possibility?   She's getting a ton of invites this week along with a lot of waivers of application fees, including to her dream school Tulane.  She seems to have been getting 1-3 schools a day for the last two years sending her stuff (which is a massive amount compared to her sister, who maybe got 10 total mailings in all of high school) but this is now about 10 a day since the start of August.    Step sister has not been getting any mailings yet even though they are both seniors, so this again gives me some confusion because it seems that in some way the one child hit the marketing radar and the other did not.  I figured it was the grades and extracurriculars but maybe that's just wishful thinking.  Comments on what you all think it is, even if just dumb luck, are desired.  Finally, should she wait to apply to any school until she retakes the ACT and gets results?  I have no idea how anyone would have any real "proof" that if you apply to a school with the 29 ACT and get $x and then she get's a 31 or something and they increase to $y, would the school have actually offered her even more if she had just waited to apply with the 31 in the first place?  Or do schools not even increase the scholarships if you have a change, or as I assume is most likely, that varies by school?  Ugh!  So many things!

Way not an expert here, but willing to share my partial opinion/knowledge.

Schools throw scholarship money carefully at those they want to have attend that they think they need to give money in order to get them to attend.  Freshmen often have their choice of several schools, so there can be a bidding war.  Transfers are usually fairly committed to the idea of transferring and often only to one school, so less money needs to be thrown their way.  Also, I think the school would prioritize aid to their continuing current students rather than transfers.

On visits, my plan with my rising junior is to do visits to the most promising/interesting schools on his list, then apply to those schools and maybe some others.  Then depending on where he gets in, we'll go back and revisit or visit for the first time.  It's expensive, but choosing a wrong school is possibly more expensive.  We'll use judgment.  Note that for some schools, they gauge interest on whether or not you visit campus and maybe even when.  They gauge interest because they're trying to figure out if they offer you admission whether you will attend, and  they're trying to balance selectivity with yield and end up with a freshman class the right size and composition.

As for the marketing, my two kids so far have all gotten tons of stuff - mostly email these days, with some print stuff.  I always assumed it was due to the box they checked on the PSAT that said, effectively, "Yes, sell my name to colleges and have them barrage me with marketing stuff."  Maybe one kid checked the box and the other didn't?

As far as ACT retakes and applying, the schools we're looking at have grids - such-and-such GPA plus such-and-such test score = $X,000 off tuition.  If your kid moves up a row on the grid, then I gather you just point that out and they'll up the discount.  I'd suggest applying as early as possible since the acceptance slots get dearer over time.  Also, IMHO, applying with a 29 then upping it to a 31 vs. waiting to apply with the 31 *should* get you essentially the same amount of aid.  Again, FA dollars dry up as time goes by, so I think it would mostly depend on the timing of application vs. getting the second ACT score.

Good luck.  My opinion worth what you paid for it.
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MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #142 on: August 15, 2017, 08:33:18 AM »
Yeah, we've been having some good conversations since this started in earnest.  One question I have is that someone told my daughter that if she goes to CC and then transfers she will have forgone and academic scholarship oppotunities at the school she ends up in so that they felt the savings of the first two years would be negated by paying nearly full cost for the last two.  Anyone have any detail on this?  Given how many other things I had assumed were one way in this college game only find out were the opposite, is this also one I am not aware of that is true?  Do they only give the bigger (read 50%+ tuition coverage) to the freshman who go for 4 years and just given token aid to the transfers?

I got a ACT study guide and she was excited to see that.  She's also been using a couple sites to study that she found she said.  Most importantly, given her negative attitude about improving her score, I showed her the chart for scoring and pointed out that in some sections, each additional question right is another point in the score and for others it's only like another 2-3 questions per point, so that raising her score 1-3 points might involve getting 10 more questions right in total than she did the first time she took the test.  We did talk about the time aspect of the tests as several sources have said the SAT gives more time per questions so some kids do better, but she said time was not the issue, she never felt rushed, so that's why she felt just studying a bit before September 9th would be best.

So a few more questions.  Would you hold of on college visits, especially to the out of state schools she wants to check out until after she'a applied and been accepted and it looks like a financial possibility?   She's getting a ton of invites this week along with a lot of waivers of application fees, including to her dream school Tulane.  She seems to have been getting 1-3 schools a day for the last two years sending her stuff (which is a massive amount compared to her sister, who maybe got 10 total mailings in all of high school) but this is now about 10 a day since the start of August.    Step sister has not been getting any mailings yet even though they are both seniors, so this again gives me some confusion because it seems that in some way the one child hit the marketing radar and the other did not.  I figured it was the grades and extracurriculars but maybe that's just wishful thinking.  Comments on what you all think it is, even if just dumb luck, are desired.  Finally, should she wait to apply to any school until she retakes the ACT and gets results?  I have no idea how anyone would have any real "proof" that if you apply to a school with the 29 ACT and get $x and then she get's a 31 or something and they increase to $y, would the school have actually offered her even more if she had just waited to apply with the 31 in the first place?  Or do schools not even increase the scholarships if you have a change, or as I assume is most likely, that varies by school?  Ugh!  So many things!
Every scholarship is different, so you have to do your reading to see whether each one is applicable to just this specific school, or whether it can be used at another school (i.e., a community college).  Some scholarships are good for 1 year or 2 years, others are good for 4 years as long as the GPA remains high.  Some can be delayed a year, most cannot.  New scholarships can be had mid-college ... it's not a matter of now-or-never.  Also, community colleges have scholarships, and for a strong student choosing community college, they're not so hard to get -- check your potential school's website. 

Think about it this way:  Every scholarship-granting group makes its own rules, which is fine since they provide the money themselves.  Example:  A long-time, now retired state senator graduated (years ago) from the high school where I teach.  For decades he has given a modest scholarship to the senior at our school who has the highest GPA and will be the first student in his or her family to attend college.  Why?  Because he himself was the first in his family to attend college, and he wishes to help someone similar to himself.  His money, his business.  Another scholarship specific to our school only is given by a family whose son was killed two weeks after graduation.  Students who plan to major in the same field he had planned to enter write essays, and his parents choose a winner from the essays. 

This won't help you, but it might help someone else:  Do not take the SAT in September ... wait 'til October.  Why?  Because October is one of the BIG MONTHS, and that means you can pay an extra $8 to get feedback.  You receive your questions, your answers, and the correct answers.  SO worth $8 -- for a younger student who's going to take the test again later.  We did this for our girls, and then we went through together and highlighted the questions they'd missed.  It helped them tailor their studies; for example, we might say, "You're rock solid on everything Algebra related, but you should review Geometry.  You've got the Reading Comprehension but should review Analogies."  My girls' scores skyrocketed with this specific feedback. 

With money such a concern, I would not visit any out of state colleges.  Assuming you don't live in an area with a dearth of schools from which to choose, I don't see that your daughter would be any more employable with an out-of-state degree.  Taking her to visit them just increases the chance that those schools will become "dream schools" in her mind and will make your decision more difficult.  Mean?  No, we told our kids we'd pay only for in-state costs, and they each were attracted to multiple schools. 

As for two seniors receiving different quantity of mail, I can make a guess.  When kids take standardized tests and/or take surveys from the state at school, OFTEN the test /survey sneaks in a tiny question about whether the student wants to receive mailings from schools that appear to be "good matches" for them.  Students who've checked "yes" will receive lots of mail.  Cynical me thinks the school /state sells these students' addresses to the schools, but I don't actually have any evidence.  Don't take any of these mailings too seriously; it's all marketing. Even my mediocre students bring these into school to ask questions about them. 

MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #143 on: August 15, 2017, 08:54:08 AM »
Schools throw scholarship money carefully at those they want to have attend that they think they need to give money in order to get them to attend.  Freshmen often have their choice of several schools, so there can be a bidding war.  Transfers are usually fairly committed to the idea of transferring and often only to one school, so less money needs to be thrown their way.  Also, I think the school would prioritize aid to their continuing current students rather than transfers.
If you're talking about a scholarship given by the individual university, yes.  They want to "spend" their scholarships in such a way as to attract the most capable candidates.  However, I think most inexperienced college applicants /parents have the idea that individual schools are the source of most scholarships ... and in my lengthy and varied experience, that's just not true.  Between my two kids, I think they've had a total of six scholarships, and only one came from the school.  They've had two scholarships from the state (one a scholarship-loan that requires repayment through working in the state after graduation), one from a local business, one from a community group, one from Dr. Pepper, and the one from the community college.

On the other hand, scholarships that originate from businesses, charity groups, etc. do not care what school you attend.  They have no "dog in the fight" about whether you attend State or Private U.  They want to choose the candidate who best meets their criteria.  Example:  My oldest graduated from a state school in a remote location ... several groups in that remote location offer scholarships to kids who live in that remote location.  Kids who are born and raised there do have somewhat limited opportunities, and these scholarships are aimed at giving them a "leg up" in the world.  My kid might've been a better candidate, but these groups set the rules, and my kid didn't qualify.  These scholarships are from private money, so it's their own business how they distribute their awards. 

I think it's important to realize that scholarships aren't all the same -- understanding can lead to better application strategy. 

On visits, my plan with my rising junior is to do visits to the most promising/interesting schools on his list, then apply to those schools and maybe some others.  Then depending on where he gets in, we'll go back and revisit or visit for the first time.  It's expensive, but choosing a wrong school is possibly more expensive.
I agree.  Junior year is for spreading your net wide, for exploring a variety of schools, for determining your opinions.  By the time he starts his senior year, ideally he'd have decided that School A is just too big, School B didn't offer everything he wanted and is overpriced ... but Schools C, D, and E are good candidates ... and it's VERY worthwhile to re-visit Schools C, D, and E.  And, honestly, if re-visiting these schools is cost-prohibitive, it'd be wise to ask yourself whether the cost of transportation is going to become an issue during the next four years. 

With our oldest child, we re-visited the school multiple times, attended a football game, went up in the winter to see the place in the bitter cold.  Since our youngest is opting for the same school, we haven't done as much re-visiting, but it's not necessary -- we've visited her older sister so many times that she's solidly sure of her choice. 


As for the marketing, my two kids so far have all gotten tons of stuff - mostly email these days, with some print stuff.  I always assumed it was due to the box they checked on the PSAT that said, effectively, "Yes, sell my name to colleges and have them barrage me with marketing stuff."  Maybe one kid checked the box and the other didn't?
Exactly what I thought!  I've been the administrator on these tests many, many times, and often kids are confused about this question.  I tell them, "Check that box if you want to receive mailers from colleges.  No commitment on your part, just information mailed to your home."  Some kids are excited and say, "Oh, yes!  I want that!"  Others say, "No, no, no, leave me alone."  Most seem to appreciate the explanation about just what that box means, but it's such a small thing that I doubt they even remember it -- and when the mailers start rolling in months later, I doubt they put it together and realize why they're receiving mail. 

Good luck.  My opinion worth what you paid for it.
And mine's worth the very same price!  While my knowledge is extensive and broad on this subject, it is also location-specific, and you should realize that things vary from place to place. 
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 08:58:18 AM by MrsPete »

shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #144 on: August 15, 2017, 08:57:39 AM »
On the mailing thing.... the cynical me thinks that there's often a darker motive for kids who are apparently "on the bubble" (i.e. at the bottom half of the "average" range for admission (considering gpa and test scores)).  My dark analysis is that selective schools need to turn A LOT of people down to maintain their selective status.  If everyone who wasn't going to get in was getting that message loud and clear before applying they wouldn't apply and then the school in question wouldn't be turning as many applicants down and thus wouldn't be as selective.  So a lot of the marketing materials are (IMHO) designed to create a class of kids who will apply so that they can be rejected.


MrsPete

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #145 on: August 15, 2017, 09:04:50 AM »
On the mailing thing.... the cynical me thinks that there's often a darker motive for kids who are apparently "on the bubble" (i.e. at the bottom half of the "average" range for admission (considering gpa and test scores)).  My dark analysis is that selective schools need to turn A LOT of people down to maintain their selective status.  If everyone who wasn't going to get in was getting that message loud and clear before applying they wouldn't apply and then the school in question wouldn't be turning as many applicants down and thus wouldn't be as selective.  So a lot of the marketing materials are (IMHO) designed to create a class of kids who will apply so that they can be rejected.
I'm with you on the "darker motive", but I don't completely agree with your details: 

The highly selective schools will always get their share of applicants.  I'm talking about the schools who have great reputations, outstanding sports teams, etc.  People talk about these schools, these schools are prestigious, and admission is desirable.  They don't have to create a group of applicants -- they appear on their own.  In our state, that school is UNC-Chapel Hill.  It's the oldest public university in the US, and pretty much everyone who attends was a "Top 10" -- not top 10% -- student in high school.  They never lack for applications. 

The mid-tier public schools also don't need to "up" their applications.  They are a good, solid value and accessible to our college-bound students.  Students will apply to those schools because those schools make sense -- not because they are academically selective. 

On the other hand, the mediocre small private schools DO want to appear to be more ... academically strong than they actually are, and I think they do just what you suggest. 

I think the "darker motive" is actually money paid for these students' names /addresses. 



Paul der Krake

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #146 on: August 15, 2017, 09:51:57 AM »
Here is some anecdotal data on financial aid at selective public universities.

DW is a UNC grad. Her mom was a firm accountant and her dad a high school teacher, so while nobody in their right mind would call them financially challenged, they were in no position to afford the out-of-state tuition sticker price of some 20-something thousand dollars per year, plus living expenses.

My in-laws don't share their 1040s with me so I'm not sure on the exact numbers, but the university basically brought it down enough for the family to afford it with a reasonable loan and some cashflow discipline.

Halfway through, the parents divorce, and let's just say her dad isn't contributing anything to college. Her mom becomes super stressed, must now cover her living expenses on a single salary instead of two AND see her only child through college. She calls the financial aid office, explains the situation, puts her on hold for a bit, and comes back with a revised figure that accounts for the new situation. She calls it the best 20 minute phone call she's ever made.

Come to think of it, we don't know anybody from UNC who graduated with a huge debt load, and not everybody who goes there has highly paid professional parents, far from it.

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #147 on: August 15, 2017, 10:01:22 AM »
On the marketing stuff, I think the schools also vary in who they're aiming for and what their marketing budgets are.  University of Chicago, for instance, seems to have a rather large budget and likes to send paper stuff in the mail.  My son has gotten three or four things from them already, which is noticeable in its relative excess to what other schools send.

For me it helps to ask my sisters what their kids got so I know whether a pattern I see is typical or atypical for the school.  Of course, it's not perfect as my sisters live in other states and their kids had different test scores.

But the schools at least get your address and test score, so they can slice and dice on those two variables.

...

And yes, earlier I was only thinking about school-awarded aid.  I know there are independent scholarships, but I hear differing stories on how big those two pools of money are compared to each other.  My oldest son got a lot of school aid and didn't even try for independent money.  I'll encourage my middle son to try for both, but from a bang-for-the-effort-buck perspective, it seems school money is the way to go.
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shawndoggy

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #148 on: August 15, 2017, 10:48:44 AM »

I'm with you on the "darker motive", but I don't completely agree with your details: 

haha well I can only speak from my own experience.  Both of my kids had very good/great test scores and high (top 5 in class) GPAs (in poedunk town USA), but still not the "hook" to get them into elite schools, like Yale/Chicago/Duke etc.  Nevertheless both got mailings from those schools.  The Yale one was actually REALLY nice... like a friggin coffee table book.  I swear it must have cost $25 at least.  So yes, those schools do market.  Apparently even Yale needs to be able to convince 18 people to apply for each spot. 

Maybe I'm selling my kids short and Yale was really begging for them ... but I don't think so (my daughter applied to about a dozen elite/ivy schools and was rejected from all (whew! would've been a budget buster!); my son focused on getting a merit based full ride, which automatically excludes most of the elites/ivies). 

And yes, of course the mid-tier publics / random privates do send a lot of stuff too.  Western Washington University, Rensselear Polytechnic Institiute and Southern Illinois University seem to have particularly robust mailing budgets for schools you've never ever heard of.

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Re: How to pay for kid's college?
« Reply #149 on: August 15, 2017, 10:58:17 AM »
Re- Scholarship question about freshmen year versus other years.

Here, this is definitely true.  The larger state / private universities have about 85% of their scholarship money given away to entice high qualifying freshmen.  There are smaller amounts (or fewer) for transfer students, but they do exist and actually get much fewer applications, so it may even out.

However, the local university (used to be CC but upgraded 8 years ago to full university) however, was able to give her a scholarship worth 1.5 years of tuition, versus a slight chance of 0.5 years worth of tuition at the larger institution.   That, plus living at home, makes a huge difference, so the money is much better for students with excellent but not top tier marks locally.

Also, the school money (unless you get one of the "big" ones) is only about a third of the total scholarship money out there.   The school and community and association / affiliation based ones provide a much larger pool, and quite a few of those affiliation related ones (e.g., your insurance company or union or Lions club) allow applications in all 4 years of universities.

TLDR -- your plan does not change because freshmen have the most scholarship opportunities.  You still apply, and if you get it, and it is worth more in terms of reducing final student loans upon graduation, great.  In my experience, the local cc scholarship is a much larger benefit.