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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: caracarn on August 04, 2017, 12:16:20 PM

Title: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 04, 2017, 12:16:20 PM
So I sat down with one of our kids today to work through some Net Price Calculators (NPC) on several college sites she was interested in.  She has good grades (a little over a 3.9 GPA) got a decent ACT score (29) and so we figured this would put her in good standing for scholarships etc.  In fact we've been telling her as she stresses over college costs the last few months as the mail has been pouring in from all over, that she should be in great shape, as compared to our only other college age student who had a 2.0 GPA and got very little other than basic scholarships the school gave to everyone amounting to about $1,000 per semester.  So anyways, it was a complete shock to me that every NPC comes up between $15- 20K that we would need to foot.  This includes public schools in our state and also some private schools in and out of state.  We have about $20K saved in a 529 and are trying to save as much as we can additionally but with six kids that only amounts to about $2,500/year right now per child.  She is working and has amassed about $4,500 herself in the year since she started working.  I was very disheartened to see how this turned out because we have been trying very, very hard to avoid even considering Parent PLUS loans because we feel they are a very poor risk.  We do not expect a default, but being on the hook for something that is not ours has always seemed like a very poor plan, but all the financial aid offices push that.

After a couple hours on line today, she ended very dejected feeling like there is not real way for her to make this work.  Sadly her high school counselors buy into the marketing hype so they sell the students on the "experience" of college, so she's really bummed about considering two years at a community college first to save some tuition and room and board and then only incur the $20K per year for the last two years (which is much more doable).  She'd like to go to school somewhere for four years and I get that.  I feel like college has been so overpriced at this point (really $40K- $50K for tuition ONLY at some not high end schools like Tulane and Roanoke College?!) that it has made it terrible.  Our only other option is to stop saving for ourselves and funnel all the money to the kids college for the next 8 years or so, which also seems like a stupid option to me.  That would give us another $20K per year to divyv up but would absolutely kill any FIRE option and likely threaten any regular retirement option given that we are just 20 years from the normal 67 age for retirement without any early options.

So are there any Mustachians out there that have tackled this ridiculous issue and how did you do it?  Did you give in a sign PLUS loans?  If she was asking for Harvard or Yale, I could feel OK telling her to tone it down, but when Kent State which is in state and public is coming in at $16,000 net price (after Stafford Loans already) .  It's not like she's not looking at options, but when even a base in state school has become so stupidly expensive, is college just becoming something you need to sign your life away for for your kids to go?  HELP!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on August 04, 2017, 12:38:57 PM
First, yeah, welcome to reality.  Unless you have some incredible "hook," you're not getting a full scholarship.  Even athletic scholarships are usually only partial, unless it's a big sport at a Division I school (e.g., baseball players get a few grand a year).

So the way you play the scholarship game is to start with ignoring public schools entirely, *unless* you have a kid who is a National Merit Scholar (which some schools offer full-pay scholarships for), or can qualify for one of the other major scholarships.  Public schools used to have low tuition in light of their perceived societal obligation to educate their citizenry, but a decade or so ago that philosophy changed to schools "paying their own way," and so costs have gone up dramatically.  This also means that any out-of-state public is right out of the question -- these schools rely on full-pay out-of-state residents to help subsidize in-state tuition, so they will cost even more.

What you need is a private school where your kid will be in the top say 5-10% of the entering class.  Many mid-range privates are trying to increase their "numbers" to get better ratings and attract better students, and so they do this by offering honors scholarships to the kids with the numbers they are trying to attract.  There are a number of these schools that even offer "honors colleges" that include things like separate dorms and smaller classes for the kids in the program.  If you can find some of those places, they will be much more likely to throw money at your kid.

The other part is to try to think about ways that your kid can stand out from the crowd.  I always heard that colleges wanted "well-rounded" students, but my mom (the college prof) told me that what they really want is "angular" students -- kids who are freaking awesome or unique in one area.  They'd rather have someone who was, say, all-state trombone with 1250 SATs than someone who was 6th-chair flute in the HS band and had a 1275.  Geography is another big one:  I was a National Merit scholar myself, and I didn't get into the private that was 1.5 hrs from my home, because everyone else from my area wanted to go there -- but the higher-ranked schools several states away were thrilled not just to let me in, but to throw money at me to come.  So expand your research to smaller schools in different parts of the country.

Good luck.  It's very depressing.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Felipe on August 04, 2017, 12:45:46 PM
There is a cheap, cost-effective way to handle college in USA and an expensive, fun but debt-inducing way.

The cheap way is live at home and go to the local community college for 2 years-join the honors program and get straight A's. You can jump right into the junior year. We use assist.org in California to figure out which classes transfer over. Ratemyprofessor helps you find which teachers are actually good or easy. My best teachers came from community college, not university.

Community college living at home with cost around 50/unit so 60 units for the first 2 years is $3000 for the first 2 years of education (4 full time semesters and 2 summers).

Then comes the last 2 years. There are 3 types of public universities in California: UC (15k/yr), Polytech (San Luis Obispo at 11k/yr), and CSU (7.2k/yr).

CSU's and Tech are better for hands on experience, UCs are better for research.

Assuming we take the 7.2k/yr for 2 years and live at home those 4 years:
2*3k+2*7.2k=20.4k total for the 4 years with 0 scholarships. So your 529+ her savings cover college.

Some schools are horribly overpriced, don't go even if they have good marketing that's convinced you it's special. It's not, you'll learn the same things at most schools. Unless it carries the wow factor in the name like oxford, the school won't matter much once she's passed the entry level job. Her portfolio of skills and work will matter more in the end.

In my opinion, the real value of college is in making connections with good teachers. There are horrible teachers at universities everywhere, even the expensive ones. You're better off putting that money into a trust in your daughter's name that's invested half US, half international index than going 50-100k into debt.

My friend went to UCSC for Biology and she worked as a catering waitress after to pay off the debt. Multiple of my girlfriends still had over 10k of college debt 15 years after finishing college. It's worth it to find a no debt way to pull it off.

As Laura said, some small private schools will cover almost everything. I found one in the midwest like that but it was run down, mold problems, insect problems, didn't seem serious, didn't seem like a fit. ymmv

There are ways she can get a good college education without debt. The 25k saved should be enough with some brain power to figure out the best way to meet her education needs with that money.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: NeonPegasus on August 04, 2017, 12:52:35 PM
From what I recall, there are a few very prestigious colleges that automatically give free tuition to kids who can get accepted but whose parents make less than 100-125k. Stanford is one.

Other than that, look at tier 2 colleges. Those are private colleges that are just below Ivy League. I went to one of those - Agnes Scott College (all women's college). The scholarship they gave me covered more than the one I got from UGA, even getting free tuition due to GA Hope scholarship.

I loved ASC and would hands down recommend it and other all-women's colleges to any smart, fiesty girl who wants to go to college today. They attract a different kind of student - one who is interested in academics and leadership rather than partying - and the experience of going to school where gender bias wasn't a factor really shaped who I am and how I deal with working in a male dominated field. My classmates have done so many cool things since graduation and are an awesome bunch of women to know.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: ysette9 on August 04, 2017, 01:07:02 PM
I realize your kid would be disappointed by not getting the "experience of a four-year a school, but I think some reframing would help. First, college is not fun. It is not supposed to be fun. That is not the point. The point is to make this investment in your future that the future you will reap great benefits from. If you work your butt off in college then you will have the rest of your life to play and will have more fun and more $ to buy yourself toys. If you have fun in college then your future self will pay the price for decades to come.

I second other opinions about the quality of education at junior colleges. I did two years at junior college and then went on to UC Berkeley for undergrad and Stanford for grad. I had some great mediocre teachers at all three places, but the junior college experience was probably the best.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 04, 2017, 01:19:16 PM
I second (or third) the advice to find a private school with a good endowment where your child is in the top 25% in terms of grades / ACT score.  They will likely throw more money or at least a better aid package at your child.

If all of the NPC calculators are throwing the same number at you, that's because that's how much the colleges think you can pay (your EFC).  Get some books from the library to find out how the colleges calculate EFC, and start to see if there are ways you can change your financial situation to lower your EFC.  For colleges that use the FAFSA (most of them), home equity is excluded but checking account balances are included.  It may make sense to pay down your mortgage.

Kids' incomes and assets are heavily assessed (effectively taxed).  A book I read recently advocated that time your child spends on a job could be better spent working on improving grades or test scores.  Could she retake the ACT and do better?

I have three kids.  The way I've handled it so far is to save up enough for 4 years of in-state public university tuition/fees/room/board/transportation/books for each of them in 529's and ESA's.  This took a lot of effort over the past 22 years.  With those two vehicles, one can move money back and forth from kid to kid depending on what they end up doing.  Being FIREd, I am also trying to arrange my financial situation such that we have a low EFC.  I am also trying to make sure I qualify for the various education tax credits that are available.  I also talk to my kids about looking at the price of colleges and making sure they take price into account as a factor - not that it is the only thing, but at least a factor to consider.  There are also schools out there that don't have quite the marketing that other schools do but they quietly do a good job for lower costs - you have to search to find them, but they are out there.

I plan to do the best I can to avoid PLUS and other co-signed loans for my kids and aim for them to avoid loans as well.  If I had six kids and didn't have the savings to pay all of it, I would say to them early and often, "OK, kid, your Mom and I are saving $X per year for you for your college fund, and you should appreciate that contribution from us, but you're going to have to figure out the rest."  Most people's advice is to not short-shrift your retirement savings for kids' college costs.

Someone mentioned Stanford for free.  Most Ivy League schools have similar programs because they have huge endowments that are tax free now only because they have agreed to use some of those funds to help lower-to-middle-income families with costs.  The government leaned on them a few years back that they might lose their tax free status if they didn't.  In addition to Stanford, Harvard and Princeton also do the same thing.

Good luck!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Wexler on August 04, 2017, 01:24:50 PM
I think it really depends on what she wants to do with her life.  There are jobs and careers for which having a 2-year college or community college on her transcript will close doors.  Those tend to be high prestige jobs like investment banking or management consulting.  I'm not saying it's fair or defending the practice in any way, but I think that there's a social class element to it: certain jobs like to mine only from the upper middle class or higher, and college choice just serves as a marker for social class. I do hiring, and I wouldn't count a 2-year college against an applicant, but I have experienced that some people tend to see it as a negative.

However, the good news is that for many (most) careers, this isn't much of a factor.  If your daughter's stats are that good, I'd focus on the state schools where you live and wait to see their aid packages.  You likely won't pay anything close to sticker at private schools. I'd also grab some of those ranking of schools that do best by their students in terms of future earnings and focus on those schools with the best ROIs.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Righty on August 04, 2017, 01:34:49 PM
Have you filled out the FAFSA yet?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Heroes821 on August 04, 2017, 01:38:07 PM
What I'm not seeing here is your Daughter's goals.  If she is heading into college this soon she is either an adult or almost an adult. Point her to MMM 50 jobs that make over 50k. Show her the zero to hero post.  Let her see from someone other than a parent, a real person out in the real world that most of the college marketing is smoke and mirrors.

That being said, if Kent state is local, you're in north east Ohio and while Youngstown has a well deserved garbage reputation as a city. YSU is one of the upper tier Engineering schools.  They have good Scholarships and low state prices.  All of my co-graduates High School (2006) that went to YSU and joined the engineering programs. Either Mechanical, Chemical, Electrical or Computer that graduated started with 70-80k+ jobs. And that was in 2010 when "jobs were scarce".

But like I said I don't see what your daughter wants to do. Explain to her the problem with entering a tens of thousands of dollar commitment when her plan is "I'll figure out what I want to do freshman year" vs waiting 1 year to work and save or go to community college for much cheaper elective courses.  It's also significantly easier to apply as a transfer student in my experience than it was applying to college out of high school.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: ysette9 on August 04, 2017, 01:39:01 PM
Quote
There are jobs and careers for which having a 2-year college or community college on her transcript will close doors. 

I am by no means an authority here, but that just strikes me as false. I transferred to Berkeley and I got the same degree on the same diploma as my husband who went there for four years. Except for the pre-employment verification where HR confirmed that what I put in my application was factual (post job offer acceptance), no one knew I went to JC. It just doesn't come up unless you put it on your resume. I certainly don't have it on my resume now and any background verification will turn up a legitimate degree. Same with Stanford: no one knows I went part-time while working because my degree is just as valid as those who went there full time.

If something like that narrows your opportunities in life then I suspect they are few, far between, and likely of the sort your kid already isn't in the running for since you are not some upper class, connected, special family.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: yachi on August 04, 2017, 02:04:33 PM
Parent PLUS... being on the hook for something that is not ours has always seemed like a very poor plan, but all the financial aid offices push that.

Parent PLUS loans are loans made to, ummm, Parents.  You might be thinking of cosigning student loans, where you add your name to the loan because of your kids lack of credit history.

I wonder if you could build up your kids credit rating by adding them as authorized users to your credit cards.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Wexler on August 04, 2017, 02:06:31 PM
Quote
There are jobs and careers for which having a 2-year college or community college on her transcript will close doors. 

I am by no means an authority here, but that just strikes me as false. I transferred to Berkeley and I got the same degree on the same diploma as my husband who went there for four years. Except for the pre-employment verification where HR confirmed that what I put in my application was factual (post job offer acceptance), no one knew I went to JC. It just doesn't come up unless you put it on your resume. I certainly don't have it on my resume now and any background verification will turn up a legitimate degree. Same with Stanford: no one knows I went part-time while working because my degree is just as valid as those who went there full time.

If something like that narrows your opportunities in life then I suspect they are few, far between, and likely of the sort your kid already isn't in the running for since you are not some upper class, connected, special family.

Agree totally-but there definitely are some.  For example, if you want to do IB straight out of college, they will require your transcripts as well as your resume. Same with Bain or similar. I've looked at a ton of college transcripts, and they do indicate that you've transferred in credits from other schools.  But, more importantly, I agree with your general take that, outside of just a few fields, it won't matter much.  I just thought I'd mention those fields, if only because many entering college students want to enter them.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 05, 2017, 06:11:46 AM
First, yeah, welcome to reality.  Unless you have some incredible "hook," you're not getting a full scholarship.  Even athletic scholarships are usually only partial, unless it's a big sport at a Division I school (e.g., baseball players get a few grand a year).

So the way you play the scholarship game is to start with ignoring public schools entirely, *unless* you have a kid who is a National Merit Scholar (which some schools offer full-pay scholarships for), or can qualify for one of the other major scholarships.  Public schools used to have low tuition in light of their perceived societal obligation to educate their citizenry, but a decade or so ago that philosophy changed to schools "paying their own way," and so costs have gone up dramatically.  This also means that any out-of-state public is right out of the question -- these schools rely on full-pay out-of-state residents to help subsidize in-state tuition, so they will cost even more.

What you need is a private school where your kid will be in the top say 5-10% of the entering class.  Many mid-range privates are trying to increase their "numbers" to get better ratings and attract better students, and so they do this by offering honors scholarships to the kids with the numbers they are trying to attract.  There are a number of these schools that even offer "honors colleges" that include things like separate dorms and smaller classes for the kids in the program.  If you can find some of those places, they will be much more likely to throw money at your kid.

The other part is to try to think about ways that your kid can stand out from the crowd.  I always heard that colleges wanted "well-rounded" students, but my mom (the college prof) told me that what they really want is "angular" students -- kids who are freaking awesome or unique in one area.  They'd rather have someone who was, say, all-state trombone with 1250 SATs than someone who was 6th-chair flute in the HS band and had a 1275.  Geography is another big one:  I was a National Merit scholar myself, and I didn't get into the private that was 1.5 hrs from my home, because everyone else from my area wanted to go there -- but the higher-ranked schools several states away were thrilled not just to let me in, but to throw money at me to come.  So expand your research to smaller schools in different parts of the country.

Good luck.  It's very depressing.
Thanks for the great info.  Would you happen to have some examples of these "mid-range privates"?  Also even if I identify some I am assuming because of the  uniqueness of the situation you are describing their online net price calculator will not show me that my student is one they would "throw money at"?   Is my only way to know if this is the case to have her apply, thereby having to go through application fees to see if we made a good pick?

My daughter has been involved in Science Olympiad since middle school and has been on two teams that have gone to Nationals and placed in the top 10.  I am thinking that would be unique enough to some schools considering her intended major is in the sciences (biology focused but still trying to hone in on exactly what).  Beyond that she's been on makeup/costumes in the theater department for her so far three years in high school, but not sure that will flag anyone's interest.

Also are there any good sites/resources you have found for college scholarships?  The school have them a site, but it seems to big and and general that I'm not sure it will really be useful.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cgbg on August 05, 2017, 06:26:06 AM
College confidential has a financial aid and scholarships forum with a pinned thread on just what you're looking for- should be  eat or at the top of top of that forum.

There are some schools that offer scholarships based solely on tests and grades- University of Alabama is one.

Will your daughter consider taking the ACT again? It's a decent score but she may have more options if she can get that up a bit. You're basically looking for full tuition as an award, and that's pretty competitive. Schools have tightened up over even the last few years.

Edited to add: the best scholarships overwhelmingly come from the schools themselves. There are sites for individual scholarships but most of those will be one time only scholarships.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 05, 2017, 06:31:27 AM
I realize your kid would be disappointed by not getting the "experience of a four-year a school, but I think some reframing would help. First, college is not fun. It is not supposed to be fun. That is not the point. The point is to make this investment in your future that the future you will reap great benefits from. If you work your butt off in college then you will have the rest of your life to play and will have more fun and more $ to buy yourself toys. If you have fun in college then your future self will pay the price for decades to come.

I second other opinions about the quality of education at junior colleges. I did two years at junior college and then went on to UC Berkeley for undergrad and Stanford for grad. I had some great mediocre teachers at all three places, but the junior college experience was probably the best.
This is an excellent point and one I've been certainly attempted during our excursion through this process yesterday.  I came across a good book "Right College, Right Price" last year in my library's free book giveaway.  I read it in a couple days last fall and figured it would help me a lot.  It has lists in the back grouping colleges by type so it might help target what Laura is discussing, as it had mid-range private as a category.  We did look at some of these and still had the same issue.  I had a really high bonus in 2015 (which is what the net price calculators ask you to use) so our AGI was over $200K.  Normally we'd be around $190K which I knew would put us out of needs based aid.  Being divorced introduces other issues here but I do not think they are an option.  My ex makes substantially less than I do ($40-$50K) but my kids are with me 80% of the time so I do not think we can use the other household as the one we pull data from. 

Anyway, back to reframing.  The challenge that I seem to have is that the counselors at school are selling the "college is supposed to be fun" process and she also runs in a circle of very high achievers.  She was in tears explaining how one of her classmates was accepted to Harvard but ended up choosing Ohio State for a full ride academic scholarship instead.  Another has a full ride to MIT.  They may be National Merit, I do not know that.  I have explained the purpose of college almost exactly as you mentioned above, but obviously my version is not as entertaining as what her counselors are telling her.  For example, she has for some reason decided that Tulane is her #1 choice simply because she wants to be in New Orleans.  My wife and I have explained she can go to school somewhere much more affordable and vacation in New Orleans as much as she wants as an adult and be there for fun versus trying to study and get good grades.  She gets it but as this point is in the stage of disappointment.  She's just been sold the marketing hype by her high school and so I'm fighting against that.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 05, 2017, 06:40:36 AM
College confidential has a financial aid and scholarships forum with a pinned thread on just what you're looking for- should be  eat or at the top of top of that forum.

There are some schools that offer scholarships based solely on tests and grades- University of Alabama is one.

Will your daughter consider taking the ACT again? It's a decent score but she may have more options if she can get that up a bit. You're basically looking for full tuition as an award, and that's pretty competitive. Schools have tightened up over even the last few years.

Edited to add: the best scholarships overwhelmingly come from the schools themselves. There are sites for individual scholarships but most of those will be one time only scholarships.
I've talked with her about retaking the ACT.  She's reluctantly willing.   Her reasoning is that she did not feel there were any questions she did not know how to do etc. so she thinks she'll just get the same score, so she views it as a waste of time.  I did how her how for one school she was looking at their grid for merit scholarships showed that the difference between $8,000 per year or $12,000 per year was one point higher than what she got (she had a 29 and the next range was 30-33).  So she gets that even that one point could make a big difference. 

I assume there is no good way to see the scholarships for the schools themselves too easily. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: marion10 on August 05, 2017, 06:47:42 AM
My kids are 25 and 29, so my experiences are fairly recent, but things may have changed. I personally don't know anyone who did well chasing all those scholarships on the internet. Both my kids got pretty decent scholarships as others have described by going to midrange schools. We did not get the scholarships until they had been admitted and got the financial aid award letter. In my  daughter's case, she had gotten more from another school, but my husband called up her preferred school and they gave her about $4,000 more a year.  My kids went to an old, established high school (over 100 years) in a fairly wealthy midwestern suburb. The high school has several scholarships they give out, although my kids did not get any of those. Maybe if you are going into investment banking on the east coast, community college. My kids also took AP classes- and the tests and got a significant amount of college credit that way. They possibly could have finished in 3 years- but used the extra credit to study abroad or do an internship and still finish in 4 years.  Even then, we still paid between $20-$25 per year per kid. We had saved enough to cover about two years and then paid the rest as we went along. I had worked part time for many years and the got a full time job- so that extra went to tuition. No loans.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 05, 2017, 06:49:06 AM
The authorized user on our credit cards is intriguing.  We have an excellent credit score (800+).  For those that have done that, I just call and add them but do not have to give them a card (I get their will send one), right?  Also given that she is entering her senior year and therefore would just have a year or so before she'd need any loans do you think that would be enough time?  Does it create any exposure against my credit or allow the kids to call the credit card company and make changes themselves?  I ask this last seemingly strange question because I have step-kids (one who is also a senior next year) that I'd do the same think with (adding them as authorized user), but my wife's ex is a con artist extraordinaire and if he ever got wind that one of his kids had access to our credit line he's be all over maxing it out before we knew what happened.  Without her having a card that limits it, but I want to be sure they can't them just call and have a card sent to another address without me approving it as the primary cardholder.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: GizmoTX on August 05, 2017, 06:52:31 AM
Southern Methodist University in Dallas actively recruits women for its excellent engineering school. We did not qualify for need-based aid but DS received 2 merit scholarships there that paid 60% of the 4 years of his Electrical Engineering & Math degrees, & was a TA that paid 100% of his EE masters degree. He graduated in the top fifth of his high school & had 700 Math & 760 English SAT scores. He had a tutor for optimizing SAT time & took it twice; many schools 'super score', taking the highest score from each section. Starting in high school, he worked summer internships in various computer & engineering related industries which helped him to further decide what he wanted to pursue in school & they paid well. As for fun in college, the serious STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) students discover that you get to pick 2 out of the following 3: study, social, sleep. The ones that pick social don't last in STEM. DS had several excellent job offers 6 months before he graduated.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: marion10 on August 05, 2017, 06:55:44 AM
There is no need to add your child as an authorized user on a credit card for student loans. They will be eligible themselves because they are students.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: AmberTheCat on August 05, 2017, 08:39:31 AM
i have 2 kids in college, and 2 more to go. I came to this forum looking for advice, too! (should we cash out some of our ROTH IRA for college expenses??)

someone above mentioned the web site College Confidential dot com. the forums there are excellent, with very knowledgeable active posters. Start reading through those forums. I'm hooked!  You might get some new ideas for colleges. You would be considered in the "donut hole" -- you make too much for FA, but you dont have huge savings for the costs.

The money thing is hard.  you can't take advantage of the AOTC (a 2500 credit on taxes that phases out right below your AGI) Like us, you dont have a lot of savings specifically for college, and have other kids to consider. You wont get much in need-based grants from private schools because financial Aid is very very income-based. Even if you tried financial gymnastics (such as paying off your mortgage, or spending your assets) there will be very little need-based grants because your income is high.  And need based grants come from private higher-ranked colleges mostly, with higher costs to begin with, not from small public and private colleges as much.

so, to lower college costs IF YOU dont want much debt you can look for merit scholarships at lower-ranking schools, as they are trying to attract higher-stats kids to help their rankings. Look through the "automatic full Tuition" thread on the college confidential  web site (financial aid & scholarships forum). Look also at NAIA colleges and small christian colleges. HBCUs are options too. Small, directional colleges might offer good scholarships. 

The higher the ACT/SAT the better the scholarships. A few more points might help. Or not! depending on the colleges. EG: my daughter looked at Iowa State; they offered the same amount discount to anyone with a 28 or above basically. But, it was still pricey, and didnt compare to our in-state system.  Out -of-state publics are pricey. Above someone else said the best scholarships come from the colleges themselves. Yep, it's true.  Also, her senior year, perhaps she can load up on Dual Enrollment classes and or AP classes to help as well. Transferring in those credits saves!

Room and Board is a killer. Very few places offer full-rides, and i see that as fair. Schools really dont need to pay for my kids to sleep or eat.  And, freshmen are often required to live on campus and you cant get out of that till soph year or later. So - take that into consideration - savings can be found by living off campus a few years into school, so your cost of college can go down a bit.

I'm guessing that her part-time earnings, your contributions, your savings and her loans can cover tuition at your state colleges, and tuition after scholarships from smaller, unranked LACs.

so thats the big question -- R&B?? - does she live away at school; and how important is that?    is it worth it? Do you want to take out loans for that? take another job? cash out iras? We are trying to figure this out too. You are not alone!

(personally, my spouse and i LOVED our years away at college and not living at home. its worth it to us to provide those experiences for our kids. But - that comes at a cost. We are hoping to get through this all with no loans at all).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laserjet3051 on August 05, 2017, 11:08:14 AM
caracarn:

I am in a similar boat as you. My older daughter, who is very interested in biology, but not yet decided on career path, is looking into colleges with me and the numbers, especially for in-state schools are very depressing.

Personally, I will not take on PLUS loans to help her. I will also not allow her to assume too much debt to go to school. A modest amount, in proportion to her earning potential, will be acceptable. We do not have nearly enough saved in her 529 account at this time. She is a top athlete, both in state and nationally in track and field. We hope this will yield something financially, but do understand the limits/implications.

I think the 2 year JC/CC- Uni split model is potentially a great way to negotiate the college system But my reservations are that many CCs do not even come close in quality to the flagship state Us, at least here in CA. And quality can be manifest in many ways; access to high quality networks where your UC prof used to be head of the State Dept, or is on the B.O.D of a Dow Jones corp. Sure there are exceptions and I dont know every CC out there, but this is my concern about the CC/Uni model to reducing expenses.

Over the past few years my radar has been ultra-sensitive to small local scholarships. I am seeing a lot of these around. I am expecting/hoping that if my daughter can apply to 50 separate $2,500 scholarships and can even get 5% of them, that extra $12,500 per year can make a huge difference in cost. She is extremely bright and I can certainly help her with these, so I remain optimistic. A little initiative can go a long way here.

Yes, playing around with each colleges (especially in state public Uni) expected family contribution is depressing. Here in CA, you have to live in cardboard box on the street before the state will fork over any help.

Good luck!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: marion10 on August 05, 2017, 11:25:17 AM
Many times the school will reduce their aid if you get an outside scholarship- read things carefully.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laserjet3051 on August 05, 2017, 12:07:26 PM
Many times the school will reduce their aid if you get an outside scholarship- read things carefully.

Good point. But at present, the "expected family contribution" calculators are showing ZERO aid for me, with the exception that they are calling LOANS "financial aid." What a perversion of language.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 05, 2017, 12:15:49 PM
Many times the school will reduce their aid if you get an outside scholarship- read things carefully.

Good point. But at present, the "expected family contribution" calculators are showing ZERO aid for me, with the exception that they are calling LOANS "financial aid." What a perversion of language.

From books I have read on the subject, unsubsidized loans should not be included as meeting financial need (COA - EFC).  Subsidized loans can be included in financial aid packages.

As for scholarships, people are supposed to notify the school about outside scholarships.  I'm sure people make mistakes and don't, or are unscrupulous and don't.  A book I read said that you can ask the FAO to reduce the less favorable part of a package due to outside scholarships, since you're in effect saving them money.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: tralfamadorian on August 05, 2017, 12:16:29 PM
To throw a curve ball, would she consider going to school in Europe?  There are many colleges in continental Europe that teach bachelor's degrees in English, are much easier to get into we are used to in the US and are comparatively inexpensive.

Link to bachelorsportal of Biology related bachelor's degrees in Europe ranked by tuition costs:
https://tinyurl.com/y8t9pybc
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cgbg on August 05, 2017, 01:09:40 PM
OP, Tulane was my oldest son's #1 choice two years ago. He's a high stats kid- 2350 SAT (old version), 35 ACT, straight As, National merit, lots of research internships, took college level math in high school (Calc 2,3 and 4, differential equations, linear algebra and discrete math). He got into Tulane and got their first round scholarship and was invited to apply for the next round. He poured his heart and soul into the application for the second round, coming up with a project that he felt showed them who he was.

End result? Nada. Not invited to interview for be final round. He was bummed.

He got over Tulane.

He looked at Northeastern too. He got in and got their scholarship that would've meant $18k/year all in. He opted for Pitt (more love shown to him via scholarships.) His younger brother applied to Northeastern last year and got in, but they changed the program and the scholarship isn't nearly as good (still left $30k/year cost.) He ended up at an out of state public that offered a scholarship that covers most of the cost.

Things change from year to year. That college confidential site has a lot of posters that keep up on the changes. I watched kids get way less at Pitt last year than my kid had gotten the year before.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 05, 2017, 03:05:19 PM
There is no need to add your child as an authorized user on a credit card for student loans. They will be eligible themselves because they are students.
Not being clear.  To get her a credit score I am wondering if adding them would help.  My oldest tried to apply for private loans at six different banks.  Turned down at all of them because of no credit score, so they are not just eligible because they are students.  I think you are thinking of the Stafford Loans.  Those are already in the cost calculators, so the 20-25K left is AFTER the loans they are stright eligible for because they are students.  I'm trying to find a way to have them qualify for a loan on their own without a parent co-signer/PLUS loan.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cyanne on August 05, 2017, 04:14:34 PM
Adding your child as an authorized user can raise your child's credit score but it won't help your child get a loan. It is very unlikely that a college student can get a loan without a co-signer since they won't have enough income to qualify for loans on their own.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: crispy on August 05, 2017, 05:10:08 PM
I would also encourage retaking the ACT. I had a 29 and decided to take it again to try for a 30+. I got it, and it was the differences between a half scholarship and a full scholarship for me.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: englishteacheralex on August 05, 2017, 05:28:27 PM
I realize your kid would be disappointed by not getting the "experience of a four-year a school, but I think some reframing would help. First, college is not fun. It is not supposed to be fun. That is not the point. The point is to make this investment in your future that the future you will reap great benefits from. If you work your butt off in college then you will have the rest of your life to play and will have more fun and more $ to buy yourself toys. If you have fun in college then your future self will pay the price for decades to come.

I second other opinions about the quality of education at junior colleges. I did two years at junior college and then went on to UC Berkeley for undergrad and Stanford for grad. I had some great mediocre teachers at all three places, but the junior college experience was probably the best.
This is an excellent point and one I've been certainly attempted during our excursion through this process yesterday.  I came across a good book "Right College, Right Price" last year in my library's free book giveaway.  I read it in a couple days last fall and figured it would help me a lot.  It has lists in the back grouping colleges by type so it might help target what Laura is discussing, as it had mid-range private as a category.  We did look at some of these and still had the same issue.  I had a really high bonus in 2015 (which is what the net price calculators ask you to use) so our AGI was over $200K.  Normally we'd be around $190K which I knew would put us out of needs based aid.  Being divorced introduces other issues here but I do not think they are an option.  My ex makes substantially less than I do ($40-$50K) but my kids are with me 80% of the time so I do not think we can use the other household as the one we pull data from. 

Anyway, back to reframing.  The challenge that I seem to have is that the counselors at school are selling the "college is supposed to be fun" process and she also runs in a circle of very high achievers.  She was in tears explaining how one of her classmates was accepted to Harvard but ended up choosing Ohio State for a full ride academic scholarship instead.  Another has a full ride to MIT.  They may be National Merit, I do not know that.  I have explained the purpose of college almost exactly as you mentioned above, but obviously my version is not as entertaining as what her counselors are telling her.  For example, she has for some reason decided that Tulane is her #1 choice simply because she wants to be in New Orleans.  My wife and I have explained she can go to school somewhere much more affordable and vacation in New Orleans as much as she wants as an adult and be there for fun versus trying to study and get good grades.  She gets it but as this point is in the stage of disappointment.  She's just been sold the marketing hype by her high school and so I'm fighting against that.

This stuff by high school counselors really gets my goat. I work at a private high school school and see this kind of thing play out with the seniors all the time. Kids are brainwashed to see college as a magical Disney vacation at a name-brand lifestyle school where they learn things without trying, make a million friends, and do very little other than party and self-actualize.

The disappointment for some of them (the lucky ones, in my opinion) when their parents sit down with them and have a conversation about reality makes for some very dramatic scenes in the cafeteria, let me tell you. I've seen more than a few girls weeping with friends about not being able to go to Point Loma or Pepperdine after all. Oh, brother. The only thing that keeps me from rolling my eyes is the sad truth that...

I was the exact same way.

I had my heart set on Bard college in upstate NY and was in such a state of entitled rage at my parents for not signing the $35k/year loan (this was in 1998, mind you) that I would barely speak to them at my HS graduation. I went to SUNY Geneseo more or less for free because of scholarships and raged about it the whole time, despite the excellent education and the year I was able to spend in France.

Chinua Achebe taught at Bard. Chinua. Achebe. He wrote Things Fall Apart, my favorite book from AP Lit class. I was offered my first joint at my college overnight stay at Bard. There were so many cute guys there. The cafeteria had vegetarian food. My high school crush was going there. It was going to be awesome.

Do you know how much my life would have been ruined if I went to Bard? $100k+ for an undergraduate degree in English? I became an English teacher, a career I was born for. Can you imagine how awful it would have been for me to have been saddled with that kind of student loan?

I still have a complicated relationship with my authoritarian parents, but I thank my lucky stars every time I see a weeping high school senior that they were hard asses about not signing that loan and that I didn't go to Bard college. My high school crush who went to Bard turned into a pot smoking atheist and, last I checked, was writing a PhD dissertation about the book of Galatians. His main source of income was tutoring kids in Chicago for the SAT. I mean, seriously?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 05, 2017, 06:04:45 PM
I think there are a lot of ways to approach this, and I've sent 3 kids to college who ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. ;-)

Your problem is not the tuition, but the room and board, and not many schools give you much of a break on that. You have to be super awesome for that to happen.

Also, biology is a very popular major - schools aren't motivated to give you a big break on that, either.

But let me agree with the poster up thread who recommended YSU! It's darned cheap, and the biology department is great! (In the interests of full disclosures sure, my dh is the chair of that department.) There has been a lot of construction done on and around campus in the last couple of years, and it really looks nice - there are a lot of new dorms.

You might also look at the surrounding states - I know that Eastern Michigan gives in state tuition to Ohio residents. I think some of the PA schools do the same.

I think that it really is a good experience for kids to get out of the house for college, if you can swing it, but I don't think it's a bad thing to commute for the first year or two, either.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: teen persuasion on August 05, 2017, 09:50:55 PM
Some scholarships are out there, each of my college kids have been offered academic scholarships so far, even my less academically excellent kids.  They were offered these scholarships before the schools had seen our FAFSA info (old January application schedule, at least initially). 

Different schools offer different aid packages.  DD1's first choice school gapped her an amount that was 50% of our income.  She appealed, but they just pushed parent loans, and gently suggested she might be happier elsewhere.  She was very happy at her second choice that did not gap her, and was closer to home (less travel expenses, in-state grants).  DS2 got a slightly better offer from his second choice school, and contacted his first choice school to ask if they could match it.  They asked to see the offer, and beat it.  Those were private schools.  DD3 and DS4 now attend state schools where tuition + fees for each is ~$8k (very reasonable) while R&B runs $12k for each now (up from $10k/yr when DD1 began).  All of the kids have learned to reduce living expenses by moving to off campus apartments with roommates and dropping meal plans in favor of cooking for themselves. 

They've also found jobs on and off campus for summers to supplement their income.  DS4 just spent the summer as an orientation leader - he received a stipend, but also on-campus housing and food for the summer.  DD3 has a standing job in the campus library.  DS2 worked summers in a factory - he could get nearly unlimited overtime, so earned a good bit in a few months.  DD1 worked in the laser lab.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket - apply to a variety of schools to see who offers the best package, and to try to negotiate a better package if possible.  The best package is not the biggest scholarships, it's the lowest net price.  The school DH and I attended offered bigger scholarships to DS4, but his state school ultimately cost less in the long run.  It's also a better school for his major.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Pigeon on August 06, 2017, 03:43:07 AM
Many times the school will reduce their aid if you get an outside scholarship- read things carefully.

Good point. But at present, the "expected family contribution" calculators are showing ZERO aid for me, with the exception that they are calling LOANS "financial aid." What a perversion of language.

From books I have read on the subject, unsubsidized loans should not be included as meeting financial need (COA - EFC).  Subsidized loans can be included in financial aid packages.

As for scholarships, people are supposed to notify the school about outside scholarships.  I'm sure people make mistakes and don't, or are unscrupulous and don't.  A book I read said that you can ask the FAO to reduce the less favorable part of a package due to outside scholarships, since you're in effect saving them money.
My dd got a few private scholarships and they all required that the funds be paid directly to the college. The private scholarships would come right off any grants from the college. The option of trying to cheat about this didn't exist.

Our guidance counselor didn't push privates over publics. She provided info about both. That pressure comes from the kid's peer group.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 06, 2017, 09:14:53 AM
Quote
There are jobs and careers for which having a 2-year college or community college on her transcript will close doors. 

I am by no means an authority here, but that just strikes me as false. I transferred to Berkeley and I got the same degree on the same diploma as my husband who went there for four years. Except for the pre-employment verification where HR confirmed that what I put in my application was factual (post job offer acceptance), no one knew I went to JC. It just doesn't come up unless you put it on your resume. I certainly don't have it on my resume now and any background verification will turn up a legitimate degree. Same with Stanford: no one knows I went part-time while working because my degree is just as valid as those who went there full time.

If something like that narrows your opportunities in life then I suspect they are few, far between, and likely of the sort your kid already isn't in the running for since you are not some upper class, connected, special family.

I looked into it here, and found very few times was there any impact...  especially for finance and engineering type degrees lawyers, etc.   It matters about the last 2 (or 3 if you are a lawyer) years only.

Where it did matter was some humanities programs, where you had great summer co-op opportunities in junior years (an archeaology dig, for example or an art history exchange with a sister school in Paris), that just were not available at the junior college, but made a big difference.   For some reason, Psychology licensing is quite difficult to get here without added years, if you don't start a single track and continue for 8 years with the same school.

-----------

Money for kids -- Have you considered the fact that while your daughter is at school, you do not have to pay for her food, utilities, spending money, transportation etc as when she lives at home?  That is some savings.  Especially if you think of it this way...
6 kids x $2500 = $15k per year.

So, continue to spend $15k per year on the kids schooling-- targeting the money to the kids that are actually in school over the next 8 years, rather than saving for the youngest now.   Kids will complete school and drop out the top end, giving more money to the kids just entering.

   Add that to the savings of not having kids living at home with you, and you may find you are closing in on $20k per year available for costs.   Do the math, so that each kid gets the same amount of money (inflation adjusted), in the end.   Some parents even subtract out scholarships, as it is the OPPORTUNITY to go to college that they are guaranteeing, not the actual dollar amount.

NPC calculation will drop as more and more of your kids are in university at the same time, too.  I think these calculations take the total disposable income to be applied to school, and divide  by the number of kids in univeristy that year.   So you may remain at $15k-$25k no matter how many kids are in school at once.

With 6 kids, are you certain that all 6 will be going to a 4 year college away from home?  Some may WANT community college locally or trade programs.
   
Also, here we get a tax credit on the tuition costs -- do you get refund in the USA on your tax return?  That adds up.

Other thoughts -- married kids, those out of high school for 4 years (and working full time), etc, do not have the same NPC calculations.

 Private scholarships do exist, so apply to all of them.  DD applied to over 20 this year, most only $1k each, with her GPA of 3.9 and community service, and received over $13k in money... She chose a "second tier" university which gave her a full year of tuition, too, because all the 4.0 GPA students wanted to go to the top tier names, even if they had to pay.

Lots of kids change their major / degree after 1-2 years in college, so transfer after 2 years may very well be in order, regardless.

I like the recommendation to see what the state school will offer you, and to look for cheaper 4 year colleges that have great transfer credits...  I do understand that with 5 siblings, you daughter may just want to have her own independence after high school and be away from home for a while.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on August 06, 2017, 10:12:39 AM
Ok, so, FWIW, if she is going to compare herself to her friends, she needs to do that on an apples-to-apples-basis.  To be completely blunt, those friends who got full rides to HSS did not do it with a 29 ACT.  And she doesn't even want to spend the time this summer studying so she can try to raise that score?  This is a really critical life lesson for her -- if you want to achieve what others do, you need to put in the effort they do.  Even then there are no guarantees of success -- but if you don't put in the effort, you guarantee failure.  So that aspect of the decision is on her, right now, this minute.  Now that she knows what it takes, is she willing to do her part?  Time to grow up a little.

In terms of the websites, there's one I can't think of right now and will ask DH about.  What you want to do is search by ACT ranges to find a list of places where she is near the top.  Then check the college websites for programs of interest, honors colleges, etc. for a good fit.  But like others have said, you just have to apply and wait for the financial aid package to see.  It seems like her biggest hook is being a female in STEM, specifically that competitive team.  She should look at places like RPI, RIT, WPI -- smaller schools with a STEM focus.

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with what Goldielocks said.  Most parents cash-flow part of college, including by cutting back on savings.  At $190k income, it's not unreasonable for colleges to expect you to pay some of that, and some of the costs you will be paying for room and board are the costs that you would have paid anyway if she were still at home.  If you are not willing to do that, then the best thing you can do is be straight with your daughter that she either needs to get a full scholarship by busting her ass or plan to go to CC for the first two years + get as many course credits as she can through AP tests and dual-enrollment + plan on work-study and summer jobs.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: fuzzy math on August 06, 2017, 11:47:13 AM
Some great advice here!

My one addition is to check whether any parent / step parent employers offer a scholarship. My dads work's parent company gave me a scholarship all 4 years. I worked during high school and I believe my employer offered one too although I don't remember applying for it.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: penguintroopers on August 06, 2017, 11:53:04 AM
I'll throw my own knowledge into this thread, because it sounds like your daughter and I have a pretty similar starting point, I'm just 5 years older.

My first time with the ACT, I got a 28. Didn't do anything different, retook and got a 29. Got a test prep book (~$20) went through the whole thing, and my score shot up to a 31 (which is significant when you consider that something like going from the 85th percentile to the 98th percentile on the bell curve). If her school is like mine, there was an associated student scholarship, where X ACT score gave you $Y off tuition. Better scores = more cash saved. This scholarship came with the stipulation that I had to live on campus, but since it was an out of state university I was gonna have to live somewhere, so I might as well be on campus. My senior year I was able to argue myself into a cheaper apartment since I was getting married and was no longer eligible for the dorms, but that would be a more case-by-case basis. The only scholarships I qualified for was the ACT scholarship, and a % off my tuition because my mom taught at a religious school and the college was a religious school as well. For everything else, I either wasn't a person of color, from an economically challenged family, or studying the right thing, and just didn't make the cut for anything I applied to (and its still true now in grad school!).

Here's the thing your daughter may need to hear loud and clear: Last night my husband and I had a sobering experience. We've been penny pinching and trying to dig ourselves out of our student loan debt ($70k when we graduated, now ballooned up to $130k thanks to my graduate education that will be finished next year). We will be spending the next three to four years trying to get out of the mess we've made. We will be delaying all of the normal things people begin to question at our age - particularly buying a house or having kids. We will likely be 29 years old before we can even begin to think about having a child, or consider buying a home.

If we had any idea the financial ramifications to what we were doing, and maybe questioned the adults who kept saying "don't worry about the loans now, just graduate with a degree and it'll all be fine", we likely would have made very different choices with our college decisions. Two years at CC instead of two years at university may stink, but four years of putting off life and living like a college student just to try to un-bury us is much, much worse.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: CheapScholar on August 06, 2017, 12:07:39 PM
I work in Higher Ed and know this game pretty well.  First, Laura33's advice has been spot on.  If your daughter wants a significant college scholarship, she needs to find a private university that wants to pay for a 29 ACT student with good grades.  She will also need to demonstrate leadership.

Here's the problem.  A 29 is good but not phenomenal.  Colleges with loads of money to give away in internal scholarships receive numerous applicants just like her.  Now, there are many small colleges and universities with average ACT scores around 23 that would LOVE to have your daughter on campus.  Problem is, those schools don't hold mega endowments that include scholarship aid.  Another problem is, these small schools are just strapped for cash right now in an environment that looks uncertain.

And, as noted, schools are going to see your household income and see a family that could front the entire tution.  The fact is that nearly no one in your income bracket sends their kids to community colleges in this country (I'm sure someone on this thread might say they did, but it's uncommon).  To be blunt, your high income puts her at a disadvantage for scholarship money.  My suggestion is to have her apply to many small and midsized schools where her 29 ACT would be a top score.  Apply to any school that will waive the application fee.  Then, once the acceptance letters/financial aid packages come in, you need to call or visit the schools and try to negotiate a better offer.  I think the odds she gets offered a full ride that includes room and board are quite low.  If she gets most of her tuition covered, maybe you can pay room and board for two years and she can apply to be an RA.

Good luck.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 06, 2017, 12:28:15 PM
I was very disheartened to see how this turned out because we have been trying very, very hard to avoid even considering Parent PLUS loans because we feel they are a very poor risk.  We do not expect a default, but being on the hook for something that is not ours has always seemed like a very poor plan, but all the financial aid offices push that.

I think you have a mis-conception.

A parent plus loan is a loan to the PARENT to help pay for their kid's education, only with repayment terms that are deferred until graduation.   Other than the terms, and the fact that financial aid offices facilitate the applications, it  is not a lot different from a HELOC or other private loan that a parent would take out.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: kevj1085 on August 06, 2017, 03:32:32 PM
2 things. If you're physically and mentally capable of work then you've been blessed, use your talents. Why is everyone so hung up on retirement? Retirement from what? Use your abilities good gosh! Give back to the world and be proud you have a job to provide!

2nd, she needs to just deal with community college. I went to a university college for 4 years and not a single class my first 2 years was anything remotely related to my degree. 99% of the time you're literally only paying for the experience the first 2 years, and experience is a vast term which can be had anywhere depending on your outlook. I am 32 and graduated 10 years ago and I realize now it literally did not matter where I went the first 2 years. My parents paid for my college but if I could go back I'd rather live at home the 1st 2 years and ask for the difference in pay to be given to me as free cash instead of the college experience.

But that's just my opinion.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: ltt on August 06, 2017, 03:38:22 PM
Those calculators are pretty much spot on---and, yes, this is how much your cost is going to be.

To split $2500 between 6 kids without trying to come up with any additional funds along the way is going to be next to impossible---it just is.

Where to begin.  Let's work through it.

Our eldest son took the ACT three times---27 all three times; he also did some dual credit classes in high school.  He is attending a private university which has some wonderful, renewable scholarships.  The scholarships cover 1/2 of the total cost.  Still, he (and we) have to come up with around $20K per year.  One of his best friends got a scholarship to a state university that covered tuition, but his friend's score on the ACT was a 33.  Whether our son attended a private university on scholarship or a state school which provided little in the way of scholarships, the out-of-pocket costs were pretty much the same--hovering around $18-$20k per year.

There are ways to do this and still retain your sanity.  First of all, let's assume $10k per semester.  Let's start with the first semester.  Take the 529 $2,500 and your daughter's work money of $4500.  There's $7,000.  Have your daughter take out the student loan the first year.  She will take it out in her name--not yours.  It's $5500....they will split that loan between semesters, so she will receive $2750 per semester.  Now you will have around $9750 for the first semester.  First semester pretty much covered.  The cost of books is pretty nominal.

Now, if you don't like the idea of a loan, have your daughter take it out anyway--at least for the first year.  At this point, I don't see that there is any way of getting around it if you/or she really want to go to a 4-year school.  You could pay the $2750 per semester for her freshman year, so she wouldn't need the loan.

Okay, next step, have your daughter apply for work-study once she goes to college.  There's bound to be something available and every penny helps.  Make sure that money (or the vast majority of it) goes into an account to be used for the second semester.

While your daughter is at university during the first semester, you will have an idea of what the costs will be for the second semester.  With $190k in income (I think I read that), you should be able to come up with the $10k for the second semester.  If you have $190k in income, I'm thinking that you probably have some investment income coming in in December (dividends and capital gains).  $2750 will come from the 2nd half of the student loan.  That will leave around $7000 to cover.  If you have investments, you will be getting dividends and capital gains in December, take some of them to pay the second semester, along with your daughter's work-study money.  I'm assuming we have the first year covered now.

Hold your bonus aside that you receive during her freshman year for her sophomore year.

Onto the sophomore year.  She will have to work during the summer and should easily be able to make $3,000.  Use that money toward tuition.  Put your bonus money that you've held back for that year (not sure how much it is, but I'm assuming it's going to be more than $7,000 since you mentioned it was high and I'm assuming it's continual) toward the tuition.  Have her continue to do work-study.  Depending on where she goes, if she could become a resident assistant (not sure what they are called at every school), I do believe that she can get her room for free, but I think it's hard to come by.  Your bonus, money from her summer job, and some work-study should cover the first semester of her sophomore year. 

While she's in the first semester of her sophomore year, at your income level, you should be able to put away $500 or so per month---August through December--to be used toward the second semester.  Repeat with the second semester----you should be getting dividends and capital gains if invested.  There's no reason you can't use them to cash flow the cost of school, plus money you can put aside each month at your income level.

We have 4 kids.  We have some saved, and we also have to spend my husband's bonus, put a few hundred dollars in savings each month, etc., for our son attending private university, have our son put back his wages from his summer job, and spend some dividends and capital gains.  We also have the education tax credit from our taxes which we set aside to help pay.  I don't believe you have that due to your income.

$2,500 per child is simply not enough for a four-year school.  However, it gives you a little bit of breathing room in the beginning, so you can see and look down the road at what you can do to assist.  If there is any point where there's simply not going to be enough money, she can always take a small student loan out in her sophomore, junior, or senior year.  We had our son take a student loan in his freshman year, but are trying our best to use some of his college funds, some cash, and money from his job for the rest.  So far, so good.     

 

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: kevj1085 on August 06, 2017, 04:00:50 PM
Wait, you make 190k a year? I don't feel so bad now, make it work.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 06, 2017, 04:23:17 PM
I work in Higher Ed and know this game pretty well.  First, Laura33's advice has been spot on.  If your daughter wants a significant college scholarship, she needs to find a private university that wants to pay for a 29 ACT student with good grades.  She will also need to demonstrate leadership.

Here's the problem.  A 29 is good but not phenomenal.  Colleges with loads of money to give away in internal scholarships receive numerous applicants just like her.  Now, there are many small colleges and universities with average ACT scores around 23 that would LOVE to have your daughter on campus.  Problem is, those schools don't hold mega endowments that include scholarship aid.  Another problem is, these small schools are just strapped for cash right now in an environment that looks uncertain.

I don't mean to hijack the thread (OK, maybe a little bit).  I've got a rising junior and am trying to balance a school with a good track record / reputation vs. cost vs. getting in in the first place.  It seems that the less competitive schools are also cheaper (SD School of Mines, 86%, $39K), and as you get more competitive, the price goes up (Rice, 16% admit rate, $58K) and obviously the chances for a scholarship go down for a given student with a given ACT score.

My son is sort of targeting going to a school where he is around the boundary of the top quartile.  He wants to be a big fish in a small pond so to speak - a strategy which I support for multiple reasons.  But I want him to also have peers that are in the same ballpark academically.

Is the top quartile boundary a good one to shoot for as a sweet spot in terms of scholarships and a good education?  I think so and I guess we'll find out anyway.  But I'm trying to pick good schools for him to visit this coming year and can bias the list one way or the other.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: little_brown_dog on August 06, 2017, 06:18:16 PM
There are also strategies you can employ to reduce costs once she goes to college. I graduated a semester early by carrying heavier courseloads for a few semesters (think 20-21 credits). I never planned on graduating early. It just worked out that once I was in, I realized I could easily manage a heavier courseload for my preferred field without breaking a sweat, so I did. If I had gone into it hoping to graduate in 3 years rather than assuming it would take me the full 4, I could have saved myself an extra semester of tuition by simply tacking on an extra class for a couple more semesters. That extraneous semester is the reason I graduated with any undergrad student loan debt at all and it added a solid year onto my debt repayment timeline. Obviously this depends on your daughter’s major and her academic abilities under heavy workloads, but I find it’s an avenue few consider. You can absolutely complete a bachelors in 3 years (and still graduate Summa or Magna cum laude) if you push. Hell...I did it and I partied hard every Thurs-Sat the entire time. Food for thought.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: CheapScholar on August 06, 2017, 06:19:20 PM
I work in Higher Ed and know this game pretty well.  First, Laura33's advice has been spot on.  If your daughter wants a significant college scholarship, she needs to find a private university that wants to pay for a 29 ACT student with good grades.  She will also need to demonstrate leadership.

Here's the problem.  A 29 is good but not phenomenal.  Colleges with loads of money to give away in internal scholarships receive numerous applicants just like her.  Now, there are many small colleges and universities with average ACT scores around 23 that would LOVE to have your daughter on campus.  Problem is, those schools don't hold mega endowments that include scholarship aid.  Another problem is, these small schools are just strapped for cash right now in an environment that looks uncertain.

I don't mean to hijack the thread (OK, maybe a little bit).  I've got a rising junior and am trying to balance a school with a good track record / reputation vs. cost vs. getting in in the first place.  It seems that the less competitive schools are also cheaper (SD School of Mines, 86%, $39K), and as you get more competitive, the price goes up (Rice, 16% admit rate, $58K) and obviously the chances for a scholarship go down for a given student with a given ACT score.

My son is sort of targeting going to a school where he is around the boundary of the top quartile.  He wants to be a big fish in a small pond so to speak - a strategy which I support for multiple reasons.  But I want him to also have peers that are in the same ballpark academically.

Is the top quartile boundary a good one to shoot for as a sweet spot in terms of scholarships and a good education?  I think so and I guess we'll find out anyway.  But I'm trying to pick good schools for him to visit this coming year and can bias the list one way or the other.

It really all depends on the school, its leadership & resources, what their applicant pool looks like the year your child applies.  It also depends if the school has its own elite scholarship cohorts that give a select few the moon.  I've worked at a school with a 50 million dollar endowment and now I'm at one with a 10 billion dollar endowment.  Take the first school with the small endowment.  They have about 100 endowed scholarships and most offer each student about 3K per year (not much, obviously).  The school had an average ACT score of about 25.  But, like any school, they want to land "better" students.  So, basically, they create something like a "President's Scholars" group.  The goal is to offer near free tuition to 5 students per class with hopes those students do amazing things like win Fulbright awards, get great job offers, and live great lives that are worthy of the alumni magazine.  To be in range for that kind of award, I'd say you need to be better than just the top quartile of applicants.  You need to be well above the norm and often there are additional essays or interviews required.  And the money for these programs usually comes from the tuition stream dollars that the other students pay.

Take school 2 with the 10B mega endowment.  Now, only about 1/3 of the endowment is for financial aid and scholarships.  The rest has specific contractual purposes like faculty chairs, cancer research, etc.  BUT, over 3B in endowed scholarship money allows the school to make substantial scholarship offers to nearly every admitted student (we spend 4.5% spinoff each year).  That's why I tell families to apply to a lot of schools and get the final numbers before committing.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 06, 2017, 08:10:47 PM
It really all depends on the school, its leadership & resources, what their applicant pool looks like the year your child applies.  It also depends if the school has its own elite scholarship cohorts that give a select few the moon.  I've worked at a school with a 50 million dollar endowment and now I'm at one with a 10 billion dollar endowment.  Take the first school with the small endowment.  They have about 100 endowed scholarships and most offer each student about 3K per year (not much, obviously).  The school had an average ACT score of about 25.  But, like any school, they want to land "better" students.  So, basically, they create something like a "President's Scholars" group.  The goal is to offer near free tuition to 5 students per class with hopes those students do amazing things like win Fulbright awards, get great job offers, and live great lives that are worthy of the alumni magazine.  To be in range for that kind of award, I'd say you need to be better than just the top quartile of applicants.  You need to be well above the norm and often there are additional essays or interviews required.  And the money for these programs usually comes from the tuition stream dollars that the other students pay.

Take school 2 with the 10B mega endowment.  Now, only about 1/3 of the endowment is for financial aid and scholarships.  The rest has specific contractual purposes like faculty chairs, cancer research, etc.  BUT, over 3B in endowed scholarship money allows the school to make substantial scholarship offers to nearly every admitted student (we spend 4.5% spinoff each year).  That's why I tell families to apply to a lot of schools and get the final numbers before committing.

Thanks, that all makes sense.  He certainly will be applying to multiple schools and in the end I'll encourage him to compare our out-of-pocket costs vs. the benefits of each school.  Based on what you describe, I may end up encouraging schools where he would be top 10%-ish.  We also may talk with the schools about endowments and unrestricted funds, but it's kind of hard to piece all that together ahead of time.  Much easier to just apply and see what offers are made.  But really by then it may be too late if one isn't smart about selecting the applications in the first place.  Sigh, lots of work!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: rpm22 on August 07, 2017, 09:12:41 AM
Caracarn - Based on the information you have provided, you can definitely afford a good 4-year public college in Ohio WITHOUT any parent plus loans.  If your daughter has saved $4500 in one year during high school and maintained a 3.9 GPA, she is probably savvy enough to get away with no Stafford loans as well. If she is set on going out of state, there may be some private options as previously mentioned.

I work in education and recently started a side-gig helping students and parents plan for college.  For a modest donation to my stache, I can help you sort through all of the options. You can probably find the right combination of price and fit for your daughter if you search hard enough but I can help you save a lot of time, energy, (and probably money).

If anyone is interested in some affordable college planning help, send me a PM.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 07, 2017, 10:20:24 AM
Thanks for all the input.  A lot of excellent information.

I fully understand that there is no way that full amount with room and board would be covered.  I was not expecting that (but by all the responses I guess I indicated that more strongly that I had meant to).  I was hoping to get closer to $10-$15K which I can see a more clear path for between then working for part of it and using what we can save for the rest.  So no I'm not expecting room and board to be covered, so sorry for implying that.  That's why we are encouraging her to consider living at home for the first two years and doing CC so we can maximize all the savings. 

And to kevj1085 with the flippant comment about making $190K work keep in mind that we will have three in college at once next year and four at once a couple years after that, so that involves coming up with $75-$100K a year which is not trivial on that salary.  That's not $190K take home, so that would be about 80% of my take home pay.  As to the next flippant comment that might some that would not be useful that might be along the lines of "did college sneak up on you?  Why were you not saving before?"  I got divorced and all the savings plans and extra money (including for retirement) went away and regardless of how I got here, it's where I am.  Would I love to be in a different boat and just meet these expenses with ease, as your comment suggests?  Of course.

With regards to what she is willing to do for herself, she went ahead this weekend and scheduled herself to retake the ACT in September.  She has already found some online sites to help her prepare some more.  She's coming around to understanding that the CC options makes sense while it might not be what she wants to hear, and therefore is less hostile to it.  She's gotten 3's on her AP tests so not recalling if that will give her credit (I think it will), but hoping between the 4 she has done and the others she will do this year that she might be able to cut a year off and turn this ride into a three year program.  So with that we have her $20K in 529, the $25K we are saving up for her and the $20K she should be able to make working over four years plus a cushion that she had from the two high school years would cover the $60K for the three years. 

The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way.  (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!   

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 07, 2017, 10:48:12 AM
There are so many options, and it doesn't pay to get too depressed this early.  Because you just don't know!

- There's always ROTC
- My niece lives in NY state.  Her grades were high enough that SUNY offered her free tuition for 4 years.  Another school that she got into was private.  The difference in cost per year was $25,000 (private school was more).  There was a chance for a soccer scholarship at the private school.  She made a very grown up $100,000 decision to take the SUNY school with free tuition. (Plans on a master's.)

- I live in CA and our local community college recently started offering 2 years free tuition to any local graduating HS student.  Neighbor kid lived at home for 2 years, and is going off to UC in the fall.

- National Merit scholarship kid (a friend's kid) - well, she could write her own ticket.  Got a $37k a year scholarship to here parents' alma mater.  Got into several UC schools.  Didn't get into Stanford.  Got a full scholarship to BU.  Ended up at Cal Tech.  Pretty sure her parents are paying full price.  But they can afford it.  I fully support wealthy parents paying full price.  The useful info here is that she had a few big scholarship options.

-  I liked the tip for looking at second-tier colleges who want to attract top students.

In any event, keep in mind if you have multiple kids, that once you have more in college at the same time, you are more likely to get aid.  (My kids are 6 yrs apart, so I lose there).  I believe (haven't don't the math) that total family contribution probably doesn't change.

- Finally, don't forget other ways to pinch pennies, that can help reduce overall college costs.  I know I'm a dinosaur, but I used ROTC, and I had jobs, and I used work study.  One work study job (3 semesters) was food service.  No, it didn't get me awesome experience, but I got a free meal each day I worked.  One summer job I painted dorms.  Again, not useful engineering experience but I got free room in an off campus apartment.  I also lived in an apartment 2 years (so I was able to reduce my meal plan) and in a sorority (cheapest rent of all those years) a year.  My college boyfriend lived in a house with other students, which was even cheaper.  Used books.  I placed out of 2 college classes due to tests.   My niece finished her degree in 3 years.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on August 07, 2017, 10:59:29 AM
The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way.  (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!

1.  Are you sure the EFC is still $20-25K/yr per kid with 3 in college?  I'm surprised it's that high with 3 kids.  But it should be lower for the later kids for any year in which you have 4 at a time.  But, yeah:  my sophomore year, my mom was on sabbatical and made $11K, and the college thought she could "afford" to pay $5K of that to my education, because they assumed my stepdad paid all of the other costs and so all her money was "free."  I had to appeal to be able to return for that fall.

2.  Very pleased to hear your DD is stepping up, putting in the work, and adjusting her expectations.  That level of maturity bodes well for her regardless of where she ends up going to school.

3.  Sounds like your real issue is the first DD.  What's the plan there?  Is she on her own/taking out loans now that she's blown through her college savings?  Or is she expecting you to foot the bill now that "her" money is gone?   
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 07, 2017, 11:02:10 AM
Many times the school will reduce their aid if you get an outside scholarship- read things carefully.

Good point. But at present, the "expected family contribution" calculators are showing ZERO aid for me, with the exception that they are calling LOANS "financial aid." What a perversion of language.

From books I have read on the subject, unsubsidized loans should not be included as meeting financial need (COA - EFC).  Subsidized loans can be included in financial aid packages.

As for scholarships, people are supposed to notify the school about outside scholarships.  I'm sure people make mistakes and don't, or are unscrupulous and don't.  A book I read said that you can ask the FAO to reduce the less favorable part of a package due to outside scholarships, since you're in effect saving them money.
My dd got a few private scholarships and they all required that the funds be paid directly to the college. The private scholarships would come right off any grants from the college. The option of trying to cheat about this didn't exist.

Our guidance counselor didn't push privates over publics. She provided info about both. That pressure comes from the kid's peer group.
Yes, even back in the 80s my university reduced my aid from the school with each scholarship.  I had a few local home town scholarships.

I joined ROTC, and got a scholarship in year 2.  But there was a paperwork delay in getting the money.  So it took 3 months.  I worked the entire summer (2 jobs, 60 hours a week), made about $3k, and that went straight to the school.  And...I never got that money back.  It was a lean rest of the school year for eating.  Luckily I still had that food service job.

Junior year I got a private scholarship for $1000 from a Navy Captain who gave 5 scholarships a year to female Navy ROTC midshipmen.  That was a straight up check written to me, signed by her.  You know, maybe I should figure out how to do that.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: AccidentialMustache on August 07, 2017, 11:41:04 AM
Rather than taking out loans for living expenses, can you take out a loan for real estate? Buy her a reasonable house nearby school, have her live there and rent rooms to friends. Even if you have to do the first year in the dorms, those schools usually have an allowance for living with family. They don't need to know that it's your "vacation home" and family isn't really there.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 07, 2017, 11:59:34 AM
Thanks for all the input.  A lot of excellent information.

I fully understand that there is no way that full amount with room and board would be covered.  I was not expecting that (but by all the responses I guess I indicated that more strongly that I had meant to).  I was hoping to get closer to $10-$15K which I can see a more clear path for between then working for part of it and using what we can save for the rest.  So no I'm not expecting room and board to be covered, so sorry for implying that.  That's why we are encouraging her to consider living at home for the first two years and doing CC so we can maximize all the savings. 

And to kevj1085 with the flippant comment about making $190K work keep in mind that we will have three in college at once next year and four at once a couple years after that, so that involves coming up with $75-$100K a year which is not trivial on that salary.  That's not $190K take home, so that would be about 80% of my take home pay.  As to the next flippant comment that might some that would not be useful that might be along the lines of "did college sneak up on you?  Why were you not saving before?"  I got divorced and all the savings plans and extra money (including for retirement) went away and regardless of how I got here, it's where I am.  Would I love to be in a different boat and just meet these expenses with ease, as your comment suggests?  Of course.

With regards to what she is willing to do for herself, she went ahead this weekend and scheduled herself to retake the ACT in September.  She has already found some online sites to help her prepare some more.  She's coming around to understanding that the CC options makes sense while it might not be what she wants to hear, and therefore is less hostile to it.  She's gotten 3's on her AP tests so not recalling if that will give her credit (I think it will), but hoping between the 4 she has done and the others she will do this year that she might be able to cut a year off and turn this ride into a three year program.  So with that we have her $20K in 529, the $25K we are saving up for her and the $20K she should be able to make working over four years plus a cushion that she had from the two high school years would cover the $60K for the three years. 

The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way.  (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!

If you would, at any time, like a tour of the YSU biology dept., just wave. I think you could actually manage YSU on $15k, including room and board.

YSU also has an Honors College program, with very generous scholarships.

I went back to work when my oldest went to college and for 8 years every penny of my salary paid for college.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Drifterrider on August 07, 2017, 12:07:31 PM
The diploma has the name of the institution from which one graduates; not all the schools attended.

I did some work at community colleges because it was substantially less expensive.  Then I transferred to a university.

My diploma has the name of the university.

P.S. - prospective employers will be more impressed by someone working their way through school, and finding ways to get the education at a lower price, than they will be by someone having attended four years in residence.  Employers want problem solvers.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: ysette9 on August 07, 2017, 12:36:29 PM
The comment about changing majors three times caught my attention. I think it is NORMAL to be on an exploration path in life at age 18-20 or so. It is completely normal to question and experiment and change opinions and seek out new experiences and ideas. Heck, that is what higher education is supposed to be about in part. It is just really hard to do that when you are paying a butt-load to take classes at a university away from home. That is one thing junior college is fantastic for: you can do all of that exploration with very low opportunity cost. Better do your exploring and switching now than three years in, or heaven forbid, two years into a career that turns out isn't a good fit.

My sister spent 4 years at junior college and switched majors three times while living at home and doing it all basically on scholarship. The end result is that she found a major she loved and got a sweet transfer agreement with one of our local UCs (University of California system).

Another comment on junior college: most of my classes were in the 15-25 people range. I transferred to Berkeley and had a handful of lower division classes to finish up and those were in the 100-150 people range. In lower division the quality of the education really can be better at a place with small class sizes, lots of personalized attention, and teachers who are there because they want to teach and not teaching just because it allows them to continue their research.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: historienne on August 07, 2017, 12:37:03 PM
The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way.  (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!

1.  Are you sure the EFC is still $20-25K/yr per kid with 3 in college?  I'm surprised it's that high with 3 kids.  But it should be lower for the later kids for any year in which you have 4 at a time.  But, yeah:  my sophomore year, my mom was on sabbatical and made $11K, and the college thought she could "afford" to pay $5K of that to my education, because they assumed my stepdad paid all of the other costs and so all her money was "free."  I had to appeal to be able to return for that fall.

2.  Very pleased to hear your DD is stepping up, putting in the work, and adjusting her expectations.  That level of maturity bodes well for her regardless of where she ends up going to school.

3.  Sounds like your real issue is the first DD.  What's the plan there?  Is she on her own/taking out loans now that she's blown through her college savings?  Or is she expecting you to foot the bill now that "her" money is gone?   

Your oldest daughter sounds like exactly the kind of person who should be in community college.  I'd pay $20-25k to send a kid to the school they wanted to go to, IF AND ONLY IF I thought that the school was going to offer them something they couldn't get at a community college, and that the kid was going to take advantage of the experience.  You can absolutely tell your daughter that she gets a job to help pay or she goes to community college.  She can try the four-year experience again in a few years when she's more focused.

I say this as a professor at a private university, by the way.  My school is very expensive, and most of my students are smart, dedicated kids who take advantage of the opportunities that they are paying for.  But when they aren't, I regularly advise them to take time off, take some courses at their local CC, and come back when they feel ready.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 07, 2017, 12:41:56 PM
Thanks for all the input.  A lot of excellent information.

The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way. (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!

You are incorrect, I think.  By the time you have 4 kids in college at the same time, the parental contribution does not spike to $80k per year, but is much less.   My guess is that it may end up being $40k per year MAXIMUM, across all kids, regardless of how many are in college at one time. 

This is based on how the calcuation works here, for the schools and loans we have looked at.  Some universities may use a different calculation.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: affordablehousing on August 07, 2017, 12:53:34 PM
This might be dated, but I remember from applying to college a long time ago that University of Washington in Saint Louis had a ton of full ride scholarships, might be worth checking out. Another mid-range school with full rides was Rice University in Texas. Definitely fill out the FAFSA, and note that the parent's amount to pay decreases with each kid in school.

Also, you might want your daughter to read Shopcraft as Soulcraft, another good book about the importance of hand learning despite the societal pressures of book learning.

Any way you dice it, good education is expensive in time or money!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: historienne on August 07, 2017, 12:55:26 PM

My son is sort of targeting going to a school where he is around the boundary of the top quartile.  He wants to be a big fish in a small pond so to speak - a strategy which I support for multiple reasons.  But I want him to also have peers that are in the same ballpark academically.

Is the top quartile boundary a good one to shoot for as a sweet spot in terms of scholarships and a good education?  I think so and I guess we'll find out anyway.  But I'm trying to pick good schools for him to visit this coming year and can bias the list one way or the other.

I think this depends a bit on the size of the school.  At a larger (probably public) school, top 5-10% would be fine.  That kind of range will get you noticed by professors, and if the school is big enough, there will be a whole community of the smartest kids who are working in labs, taking advanced classes, etc.  At a tiny school (less than 1500 students), you might want to shoot for closer to 15-20%.  But 15% of 1500 students is still 225 kids, which is plenty to form a community.  And students will self-segregate to a certain extent.  Even at an unselective school, the physics majors will be smart.  If he loves football and wants to major in political science, though, it might matter more that the median student on campus is his intellectual peer. 

Basically, if he goes to a school where he is in the top 5-10%, I'd want to make sure that there are opportunities for the top performers at that school, and that there are enough of them that he'll have people to talk to.  But it could work out very well.  As a college prof, top 25% is a student that I enjoy having in class and will gladly give advice to or maybe even work with, if they come seek me out.  Top 5% is the student that I track down to see if they want to be my research assistant.  Top 5% is the student whose letter of recommendation for a fellowship or graduate school reads, "This is one of the most talented students I have had the chance to work with at Fancy Private University."  That stuff matters.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 07, 2017, 01:20:32 PM
Thanks and good points.  He's currently looking at smaller engineering schools, so ~1.5K - 5K students roughly.  GPA 3.4, PSAT 1300, in a well-regarded IB program.

Your last few sentences are why I think he is smart to want to be in the top fraction of his class.  I was an average kid at an Ivy League then a top student at a regional university, and the latter was definitely better than the former in pretty much every respect.  But there is a sweet spot to hit, obviously as the opportunities for graduates from Western Wherever Podunk Community College just aren't there.  Even knowing that, it's hard to avoid the temptation to encourage him to reach for the best school he can get into since that's how I was raised.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 07, 2017, 01:47:24 PM
The biggest thing I learned from this thread is that what we are seeing is not uncommon, so at least I feel we are not missing some major thing, we just need to readjust that we might not be able to get it to $10-$15, but instead it will be $20-25K and figure out if we can handle that extra $40K per kid some way.  (First kid refuses to work and then spends every penny she makes so she has contributed $0 to her first year, was all funded by her 529 which emptied it out.  Plus she changed majors three times, including buying a $3K laptop she had to have for her graphics major that then has changed to dental hygienist).  Thanks for all the help and please keep commenting with anything else that comes to mind!

1.  Are you sure the EFC is still $20-25K/yr per kid with 3 in college?  I'm surprised it's that high with 3 kids.  But it should be lower for the later kids for any year in which you have 4 at a time.  But, yeah:  my sophomore year, my mom was on sabbatical and made $11K, and the college thought she could "afford" to pay $5K of that to my education, because they assumed my stepdad paid all of the other costs and so all her money was "free."  I had to appeal to be able to return for that fall.

Yes, each NPC asked how many are in college together and I answered 3.  FAFSA can't be filed until October 1, so can't do that just yet, so using the Net Price Calculator on each schools site that they are required to have.

2.  Very pleased to hear your DD is stepping up, putting in the work, and adjusting her expectations.  That level of maturity bodes well for her regardless of where she ends up going to school.

3.  Sounds like your real issue is the first DD.  What's the plan there?  Is she on her own/taking out loans now that she's blown through her college savings?  Or is she expecting you to foot the bill now that "her" money is gone?   

No idea what her plan is.  For reasons outside of school she decided to nearly sever all ties with my household (basically did not like house rules) and nearly had stopped speaking to my ex as well.  She's forging her own way in the world at this point and last she shared she was going to enroll in some dental hygiene program with a local community college but claims it has some pre-requisites that cannot be taken together and since there are three of them she needs to take one a semester to basically a year and a half before she can then take the program and then will have about 3 terms left so still taking four years.  She's had a job at Wendy's.  Door is open if she wants to discuss and I let her know to let me know what school she enrolled in if she wants to have use take the remaining savings and pay the bill but she has not contacted me since June.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 07, 2017, 03:05:26 PM
I'm not sure why this should be surprising at all?  Basically any "away from home" college is going to have 12-18k in room and board.  I'm no financial aid expert, but in my experience, aid to cover those living expenses is almost always going to be a loan.  Many scholarships are specific that they won't cover room and board, only tuition expenses.

So at a "live away" college $15K from the cost of attendance calculator is pretty good/not unreasonable/unlikely to be beaten even if you go to a private school where your kid is the big fish in the small pond.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: teen persuasion on August 07, 2017, 08:40:38 PM
As far as the effect of multiple kids in college on EFC, larger family size increases the Income Protection Allowance, but larger numbers in college simultaneously decreases it  (roughly $4300 added per additional family member, but roughly $3000 subtracted per additional student).  After all calculations, the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is divided by the number of students in college at that time.  So EFC for each student shrinks as more siblings are in college simultaneously, but family total is roughly the same (after accounting for subtractions to income protection allowance).

Google "EFC formulas 2017-18" for the pdf with all the formulas and charts.  Google "paper FAFSA" to find the inputs for certain lines, example line 94a thru f.  Using the actual formulas, you can see the effects of different types of income and assets on the EFC.  Income is from your prior-prior year's tax return, but asset amounts are as of the day you file the FAFSA, so timing could prove useful (pay all bills, school taxes, etc before filing to reduce savings/checking account balances).  YMMV
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 08, 2017, 05:58:16 AM
I'm not sure why this should be surprising at all?  Basically any "away from home" college is going to have 12-18k in room and board.  I'm no financial aid expert, but in my experience, aid to cover those living expenses is almost always going to be a loan.  Many scholarships are specific that they won't cover room and board, only tuition expenses.

So at a "live away" college $15K from the cost of attendance calculator is pretty good/not unreasonable/unlikely to be beaten even if you go to a private school where your kid is the big fish in the small pond.
It's surprising in the same way that learning about any new area in which one has zero experience raises surprises.  I'm pretty sure if I was to ask questions of nuclear physicists about the costs of building a nuclear reactor I'd probably also be surprised about some of the things I would need to cover and how expensive they would be and their reaction, being more well versed in the field than I would be "why is this surprising?"  You've had experience I've not had.  This is my first foray into financing college for someone who would be expected to get academic aid because of good performance.  I've had zero experience with this in the past.  I personally attended a private university but lived at home and never applied for any aid because I could cover the cost working at $3.25/hour back when I worked and was able to cover by $6,000 tuition for a high end private college back in the 80s because cost for education actually reflected what you got versus being hyper inflated because of all the financial aid (again, my layman's understanding of one of the key drivers of stupid high tuition costs).  So to hear about how "all the financial aid" has driven up costs, I expected that financial aid would be quite good, since the plethora of it has allowed colleges to increase tuition costs way ahead of the inflation rate.  So yes, I was surprised that my only experience (back when I left high school and knowing what my friends with high grades, not National Merit scholars, but AP and solid ACT scores in the lower 30s) were getting "full ride scholarships" which they told me included their room and board and tuition at various universities around the country.  Maybe they lied or stretched the truth.  After all as a 17-18 year old I was not asking them to show me their aid packages and running columns on my ledger paper (no computers back then) to see if it all added up.   I get that the landscape may have changed, and that's why I started this thread, because I wanted to see what others had come upon most recently.

Like any purchase, now that I have others echoing that what I am seeing is the "norm" in this area I know nothing about and am navigating for the first time, my emotions move from surprise to figuring out what this new found reality means for our family and the kids prospects of college given what we are able to do.  And there remains a bit of depression in that while we can certainly be more Mustachian in some of our expenses, the reality of six kids is an expensive prospect not just in college expenses but all other expenses and while some feel that a high salary makes that all vanish, in our circumstances that is not the case.  My wife and I keep looking for blood from the turnip, but unless we eliminate all discretionary expenses from our budget and just move to food, clothing and shelter as the only things we ever spend money on (no car for kids to get to work, remove communication devices and go back to only speaking directly to people in person, etc.) we are talking about a couple items that would give us over $1,000 per year and again spread over six kids, this turns into increasing their college savings by $200-$500/year. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on August 08, 2017, 06:15:49 AM
I am surprised no one has mentioned this, and maybe I haven't done enough research on this... but my plan is to send my kid to Europe.  Especially if your kid is a nerd who will likely want to go on to grad school, you can get them European undergrad education for a very small fraction of the price in the US (plus the experience of living in a foreign country is priceless). And a lot of western european countries now offer full curricula in english.
Getting into grad school in the US on a TA or an RA with a European degree does not seem that difficult. And their terminal degree will then be from a US school, and the undergrad will not matter.
Of course, my kid is tiny and who knows how this will all work by the time he is of age (and if he will even want to go to college), but I just wanted to throw it out as an option.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 08, 2017, 06:30:35 AM
Those calculators are pretty much spot on---and, yes, this is how much your cost is going to be.

To split $2500 between 6 kids without trying to come up with any additional funds along the way is going to be next to impossible---it just is.

Where to begin.  Let's work through it.

Our eldest son took the ACT three times---27 all three times; he also did some dual credit classes in high school.  He is attending a private university which has some wonderful, renewable scholarships.  The scholarships cover 1/2 of the total cost.  Still, he (and we) have to come up with around $20K per year.  One of his best friends got a scholarship to a state university that covered tuition, but his friend's score on the ACT was a 33.  Whether our son attended a private university on scholarship or a state school which provided little in the way of scholarships, the out-of-pocket costs were pretty much the same--hovering around $18-$20k per year.

There are ways to do this and still retain your sanity.  First of all, let's assume $10k per semester.  Let's start with the first semester.  Take the 529 $2,500 and your daughter's work money of $4500.  There's $7,000.  Have your daughter take out the student loan the first year.  She will take it out in her name--not yours.  It's $5500....they will split that loan between semesters, so she will receive $2750 per semester.  Now you will have around $9750 for the first semester.  First semester pretty much covered.  The cost of books is pretty nominal.

Now, if you don't like the idea of a loan, have your daughter take it out anyway--at least for the first year.  At this point, I don't see that there is any way of getting around it if you/or she really want to go to a 4-year school.  You could pay the $2750 per semester for her freshman year, so she wouldn't need the loan.

Okay, next step, have your daughter apply for work-study once she goes to college.  There's bound to be something available and every penny helps.  Make sure that money (or the vast majority of it) goes into an account to be used for the second semester.

While your daughter is at university during the first semester, you will have an idea of what the costs will be for the second semester.  With $190k in income (I think I read that), you should be able to come up with the $10k for the second semester.  If you have $190k in income, I'm thinking that you probably have some investment income coming in in December (dividends and capital gains).  $2750 will come from the 2nd half of the student loan.  That will leave around $7000 to cover.  If you have investments, you will be getting dividends and capital gains in December, take some of them to pay the second semester, along with your daughter's work-study money.  I'm assuming we have the first year covered now.

Hold your bonus aside that you receive during her freshman year for her sophomore year.

Onto the sophomore year.  She will have to work during the summer and should easily be able to make $3,000.  Use that money toward tuition.  Put your bonus money that you've held back for that year (not sure how much it is, but I'm assuming it's going to be more than $7,000 since you mentioned it was high and I'm assuming it's continual) toward the tuition.  Have her continue to do work-study.  Depending on where she goes, if she could become a resident assistant (not sure what they are called at every school), I do believe that she can get her room for free, but I think it's hard to come by.  Your bonus, money from her summer job, and some work-study should cover the first semester of her sophomore year. 

While she's in the first semester of her sophomore year, at your income level, you should be able to put away $500 or so per month---August through December--to be used toward the second semester.  Repeat with the second semester----you should be getting dividends and capital gains if invested.  There's no reason you can't use them to cash flow the cost of school, plus money you can put aside each month at your income level.

We have 4 kids.  We have some saved, and we also have to spend my husband's bonus, put a few hundred dollars in savings each month, etc., for our son attending private university, have our son put back his wages from his summer job, and spend some dividends and capital gains.  We also have the education tax credit from our taxes which we set aside to help pay.  I don't believe you have that due to your income.

$2,500 per child is simply not enough for a four-year school.  However, it gives you a little bit of breathing room in the beginning, so you can see and look down the road at what you can do to assist.  If there is any point where there's simply not going to be enough money, she can always take a small student loan out in her sophomore, junior, or senior year.  We had our son take a student loan in his freshman year, but are trying our best to use some of his college funds, some cash, and money from his job for the rest.  So far, so good.   
Thanks.  This is the type of plan we're trying to work on, only difference being that we have to multiply everything you mention by 3 (soon 4) and that is where the hyperventilation sets in, because even at our income level it's hard.  We are diverting about $1,000 month to college savings and always looking for more (we started in earnest again by clearing a lot of things out last September and have and certainly will need to use some of the younger kids money for the older kids and such to make this work, and have just over $18,000 saved (versus a goal of just under $13,000 we had set for this first year).  I've determined the biggest disappointment with all this information for me has been the realization that our dreams of any FIRE possibility go out the window and I had been trying really hard to have that not happen.  I'm in my late 40s already and so only have a 20 year span to work with before I'd hit normal retirement age, so if I could even have cut 5 years off I would have considered that a victory, but that hope has blown away in the wind.  We felt good about the idea that over a ten year span we'd have saved at least $150K ($25K for each) and very possibly close to double that with some heavy penny pinching and seeing that that stretch goal might still not be enough (and that stretch goal takes a huge chunk out of any FIRE hopes) is what is really depressing for me.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 08, 2017, 06:36:05 AM
I am surprised no one has mentioned this, and maybe I haven't done enough research on this... but my plan is to send my kid to Europe.  Especially if your kid is a nerd who will likely want to go on to grad school, you can get them European undergrad education for a very small fraction of the price in the US (plus the experience of living in a foreign country is priceless). And a lot of western european countries now offer full curricula in english.
Getting into grad school in the US on a TA or an RA with a European degree does not seem that difficult. And their terminal degree will then be from a US school, and the undergrad will not matter.
Of course, my kid is tiny and who knows how this will all work by the time he is of age (and if he will even want to go to college), but I just wanted to throw it out as an option.
Yes, someone else had mentioned.  At this point she is not targeting grad school, just trying to get a degree and a job.  She's specifically interested in Biochemistry as she's done a lot of work in these areas on how own from a study perspective and with Science Olympiad things and she wants to end up in likely an R&D lab for a corporation.  From her research it seems she can get entry level roles with just a Bachelors and then worry about later study if warranted.  Job prospects seem good and we have seen several school report that their graduating group for this field is 24 people or some crazy small number like that, so she is encouraged that this will be a field that should pan out well for her given the small amount of graduates but the growing number of jobs.  As with any crystal ball gazing, who knows if this is all correct, but that's the landscape.  I know several talked about Biology being a field that is very popular, but the specialty of BioChem seems much less popular.  If anyone has any added insight on this specifically that would help.  This also limits her school choices as not all of them have BioChem.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on August 08, 2017, 07:33:50 AM
I don't know too much about biochem, although I have worked in labs with biochems before, but my impression is that with most bio sciences with an undergrad degree only, you will basically be stuck pipetting all day or doing other menial tasks. Again I could be completely wrong, since it's not my field, and maybe she is fine with this.
I would encourage you to find her biochemists and talk to about what their day to day work is like, what opportunities there are, etc. I wish I had done some of this before I decided what to study. I will definitely make sure my son does this because sometimes the end point is not quite what you expect....
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 08, 2017, 08:22:22 AM
sorry if that struck a nerve.  Not my intent.

But if you now know that the number you need to solve for, no matter where your daughter goes, is basically room and board, is it possible to cover year 1 only, with the understanding that she will need to cover subsequent years? 

In my experience, if she can get an R.A. gig, that should cover the room and board in subsequent years. 

There are very few full rides that cover all tuition at any school (my unscientific wild guess is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 per university per freshman class), and very very few "full-full" rides that cover all housing in addition to tuition.  Your daughter's stats sound strong and it's pretty likely that she'll be competitive in college, but probably not quite up to full ride potential.  My daughter was 4.0 unweighted with a crap ton of IB and AP credits (another scam to discuss another day) and a 32 ACT, and her very best scholarship offer (which she took) was a full (tuition) ride for freshman year only at a State U in a nearby state which allows out-of-staters to get residency after a year.  So years 2-4 end up costing about the same as it would for her to attend local U assuming she lived in the dorms. 

My daughter has been good at stringing together some side hustles in years 2-4 too.  For instance, she participates in student government, which gets her a $1k/semester stipend and a 40% tuition discount off of the already "low" (low being a relative term here) in-state tuition.  If she were an R.A. too, I'd have to say that our annual outlay would've been $14K for year 1 (tuition covered, but room and board owed), and $4K / yr in later years (discounted tuition only, room and board covered).

Re biochem... my daughter is entering her senior year as a double major of bio and chem (because her school doesn't offer biochem as a major).  She has done enough lab work as an undergrad to figure out that working in a lab is hella boring and not something she wants to pursue.  She's going to grind it out for the diploma and then figure out where to go from there.  The real employment opportunities seem to be more skewed to biomedical engineering.  Which my D was till she figured out that she didn't like the engineering part.  lol.  ugh.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cyanne on August 08, 2017, 08:30:30 AM
While you are focused on your daughter and her funding of college, you may want to start thinking about the younger kids too. I don't know if this is an option in your state but my son did dual enrollment. He took college classes his junior and senior year of high school. He had earned two years of college credits when he graduated from high school. Since our state covers tuition and books for dual enrollment students, and he lived at home with us since he was in high school, it saved us two years or half the cost of a four year degree.

If your younger children can do something like this or take AP classes it would reduce your overall costs.

My son did try to get an RA for his senior year at the state university but was not selected. It can be a great cost saver but it is not guaranteed.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: marion10 on August 08, 2017, 09:14:03 AM
I think for most people going to college  from the US is unrealistic. First you have to be accepted. Most 18 year olds are not ready to live in a foreign culture with no supervision. Many European schools do not have dorms, students live with their families or in their own apartments.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 08, 2017, 09:27:18 AM
While you are focused on your daughter and her funding of college, you may want to start thinking about the younger kids too. I don't know if this is an option in your state but my son did dual enrollment. He took college classes his junior and senior year of high school. He had earned two years of college credits when he graduated from high school. Since our state covers tuition and books for dual enrollment students, and he lived at home with us since he was in high school, it saved us two years or half the cost of a four year degree.

If your younger children can do something like this or take AP classes it would reduce your overall costs.

My son did try to get an RA for his senior year at the state university but was not selected. It can be a great cost saver but it is not guaranteed.
Yes they are taking advantage of that as they can.  Our school offers classes at the local community college free of charge when they are in high school as long as they can get there.  The classes they take count for their high school requirement as well.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 08, 2017, 10:05:54 AM
My daughter started college with 60 credits, of 128 required to graduate, as a result of getting an IB diploma. 

It's gotten her "out of" exactly zero credits required to graduate from State U honors college with majors in bio and chem.

My son is starting private college in the fall.  He took 12 AP tests (2 4s, 10 5s).  He's getting out of exactly *one* class in pursuit of engineering degree with honors.

IMHO, the only time AP/IB credits actually help are if you have a high achieving student who scores well on math/science/language AP/IB tests and intends to pursue a liberal arts/social science degree, where he/she can "test out of" math, science and language requirements.  For STEM majors, AP/IB is of little to no help, other than maybe starting with Calc 2 or Calc 3 right off the bat instead of Calc 1.

/grumpy parent rant.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: AmberTheCat on August 08, 2017, 10:19:31 AM
so not sure if i can post a link here or not.

this will not answer questions, but it certainly shows so many people are thinking and talking about college costs.

on the college confidential web site there's a thread that was started 2 days ago about high-priced colleges & why?? -- and its had 5K+ views and 100+ comments so far.  It's interesting reading!

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/2009561-anyone-else-feel-like-its-time-to-tell-expensive-colleges-enough-cc-newbie-rant.html#latest

in case link doesnt show - its on www college confidential dot com, forums, parents forum and titled "anyone else feel like its time to tell expensive colleges enough ".

my thoughts for you: look for lower tiered schools that offer scholarship opps for your kids stats. there are  schools that offer automatic tuition . . .  with certain stats. there's a list that's easy to find.

** we were shocked too at college costs when our kids got there. just had no idea they had risen so much more than cost of living & salaries. we resemble many of your thoughts about it all!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 08, 2017, 11:13:54 AM
Huh,  for AP, I found the similar thing.

DD took 3 AP classes, but only received the "4 or 5" score required for one of them.   That one will give her 6 credits towards graduating college and another will act as a pre-req (but not credits), allowing her to start in the second term level class, and take a different elective of her choosing.

But, for most of the programs, even when you do get the credits, they are for generic first level "1xx" elective (arts or science, etc), and don't count for mandatory classes in the program.   And many programs have very very few unspecified general elective first term credits needed, maybe two in total...   Note, she is taking a Bachelor of Fine Arts major for now... so only "undeclared" or general arts degrees would work to get better credits, I think.

In the end, she is able to take a different elective for one class, of her choosing, and can take only 4 instead of 5 classes first or second term...   Regardless of how many AP classes one achieved.

The good part of the AP class was how interesting it was to her, and prepared her much better for university classes in related fields.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: little_brown_dog on August 08, 2017, 11:47:44 AM
So if you want to see if you can accelerate her bachelors, I can give a bit more info on things to consider:

AP classes – yes, many schools will take them but often require a 4 or 5 to count. 3s may qualify depending on the school?

First year – don’t encourage high courseloads for the first semester. Many kids really need time to adjust and even for a strong student taking too many classes can be overwhelming ontop of all the new social and lifestyle changes. Encourage a reasonable courseload on the higher end of normal (if I recall correctly that’s probably around 18 credits or so) and then see how she does. If she rocks them and is all As or almost all As, then the next semester she can bump up. Maintaining a strong GPA is important because….

Sign off – some departments require sign off/authorization to take particularly heavy courseloads and some might not allow freshman to do this at all until they are clearly established as a particularly strong student. There may be GPA requirements for sign off. Be prepared for this.

Be upfront and clear about the consequences of switching majors – switching majors is likely to derail any efforts to accelerate a bachelors unless the two fields have substantial overlap in course requirements. She has to be prepared to stick it out for the entire time in her field…no changes of heart halfway through.

Take advantage of “experience based” credit offerings – Many fields offer independent study/research opportunities that qualify for credit under a departmental professor. Lots of times this involves the student working with a professor on their research projects, helping with running experiments, data entry, analysis, etc. I was able to tack on 8 credits worth of research that not only accelerated my degree, but also boosted my resume as a teen/early 20 something with no field experience. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 08, 2017, 11:51:40 AM
The good part of the AP class was how interesting it was to her, and prepared her much better for university classes in related fields.

Totally.  Gets the kids used to a higher standard of work for sure.  And also serves as a proxy for leveling the playing field against other kids from other places, since they all take the same AP test, so can show how a kid from BFE, Flyover State is just as smart as the private school city kids. 

Just don't drink too much of that "AP will save you money on college tuition" koolaid.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: alexpkeaton on August 08, 2017, 11:54:25 AM
Quote
There are jobs and careers for which having a 2-year college or community college on her transcript will close doors. 

I am by no means an authority here, but that just strikes me as false.

Keep in mind that it's not just about the degree, but who you're meeting. At the Ivies you're going to school with the children of very important/rich people. Their children might be dumb as rocks, but they'll be successful no matter what because of the position they were born into. There is a lot of value in these connections.

But, yes, it mostly applies if you want to work in certain fields. I went to one of the cheaper state schools to study computer science because, unless you're attending MIT, Stanford, or CMU--all of which I had no hope of getting into--you're going to get basically the same education in any computer science program. Might as well not overpay.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: schmerna on August 08, 2017, 12:06:43 PM
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Yes, someone else had mentioned.  At this point she is not targeting grad school, just trying to get a degree and a job.  She's specifically interested in Biochemistry as she's done a lot of work in these areas on how own from a study perspective and with Science Olympiad things and she wants to end up in likely an R&D lab for a corporation.  From her research it seems she can get entry level roles with just a Bachelors and then worry about later study if warranted.  Job prospects seem good and we have seen several school report that their graduating group for this field is 24 people or some crazy small number like that, so she is encouraged that this will be a field that should pan out well for her given the small amount of graduates but the growing number of jobs.  As with any crystal ball gazing, who knows if this is all correct, but that's the landscape.  I know several talked about Biology being a field that is very popular, but the specialty of BioChem seems much less popular.  If anyone has any added insight on this specifically that would help.  This also limits her school choices as not all of them have BioChem.
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She could consider a Chemistry Major and take a number of Biology courses too.  That will prepare her for an R&D lab or graduate school.  During her undergrad summers she should look for research fellowships that pay well and offer free housing.  For grad school, chemistry and biochemistry PhD students do not pay for graduate school.  They work as Research/Teaching Assistants to cover tuition and a receive a stipend and health insurance too.  If she is not offered such an assistantship, she is at the wrong school or needs to improve her credentials.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 on August 08, 2017, 12:11:12 PM
The good part of the AP class was how interesting it was to her, and prepared her much better for university classes in related fields.

Totally.  Gets the kids used to a higher standard of work for sure.  And also serves as a proxy for leveling the playing field against other kids from other places, since they all take the same AP test, so can show how a kid from BFE, Flyover State is just as smart as the private school city kids. 

Just don't drink too much of that "AP will save you money on college tuition" koolaid.

I think it can vary from school to school as well.  My oldest son took 6 AP exams and was awarded 26 credit hours at a university where 120 credit hours were required for a 4 year degree.  So he almost started as a sophomore.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 08, 2017, 12:14:57 PM
I think it can vary from school to school as well.  My oldest son took 6 AP exams and was awarded 26 credit hours at a university where 120 credit hours were required for a 4 year degree.  So he almost started as a sophomore.

Sure.  And like I said my daughter was awarded 60 credits of 128 needed for graduation.  She started almost as a junior.

And all of those credits have gotten her out of ZERO classes for her major. 

The only kids that AP credits help are those who can test well in math and science AP classes, but do not intend to pursue STEM majors.  For STEM majors, AP credits are nearly useless to actually get kids out of classes.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: tweezers on August 08, 2017, 12:37:23 PM
I think someone mentioned school in Europe, but you may want to consider Canada too.  University education is much less than in the US (even with international student fees).  The current exchange rate would also reduce the cost.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 08, 2017, 12:44:14 PM
I am surprised no one has mentioned this, and maybe I haven't done enough research on this... but my plan is to send my kid to Europe.  Especially if your kid is a nerd who will likely want to go on to grad school, you can get them European undergrad education for a very small fraction of the price in the US (plus the experience of living in a foreign country is priceless). And a lot of western european countries now offer full curricula in english.
Getting into grad school in the US on a TA or an RA with a European degree does not seem that difficult. And their terminal degree will then be from a US school, and the undergrad will not matter.
Of course, my kid is tiny and who knows how this will all work by the time he is of age (and if he will even want to go to college), but I just wanted to throw it out as an option.
Yes, someone else had mentioned.  At this point she is not targeting grad school, just trying to get a degree and a job.  She's specifically interested in Biochemistry as she's done a lot of work in these areas on how own from a study perspective and with Science Olympiad things and she wants to end up in likely an R&D lab for a corporation.  From her research it seems she can get entry level roles with just a Bachelors and then worry about later study if warranted.  Job prospects seem good and we have seen several school report that their graduating group for this field is 24 people or some crazy small number like that, so she is encouraged that this will be a field that should pan out well for her given the small amount of graduates but the growing number of jobs.  As with any crystal ball gazing, who knows if this is all correct, but that's the landscape.  I know several talked about Biology being a field that is very popular, but the specialty of BioChem seems much less popular.  If anyone has any added insight on this specifically that would help.  This also limits her school choices as not all of them have BioChem.

A BS in biology/biochemistry lets you be a lab tech, essentially, or a drug sales rep (which is a pretty good job if you like that kind be of thing.)

But the good news is that a PhD in those fields should cost you nothing. If you pay for a PhD in science, they don't really want you. That's why it's important to go to a school where you'll have a chance to work in someone's lab and have small enough classes to get to know profs well enough that you'll get great recommendations.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 08, 2017, 12:49:49 PM
My daughter started college with 60 credits, of 128 required to graduate, as a result of getting an IB diploma. 

It's gotten her "out of" exactly zero credits required to graduate from State U honors college with majors in bio and chem.

My son is starting private college in the fall.  He took 12 AP tests (2 4s, 10 5s).  He's getting out of exactly *one* class in pursuit of engineering degree with honors.

IMHO, the only time AP/IB credits actually help are if you have a high achieving student who scores well on math/science/language AP/IB tests and intends to pursue a liberal arts/social science degree, where he/she can "test out of" math, science and language requirements.  For STEM majors, AP/IB is of little to no help, other than maybe starting with Calc 2 or Calc 3 right off the bat instead of Calc 1.

/grumpy parent rant.

My dd got a semesters worth of credit for her IB diploma, but she went to a school that only offered the IB, and she did get great scores on her exams. She also took a cheap class every summer that she was home from college, plus her semester in France was a for credit program. She could easily have graduated from her Not Cheap college in 3 years, but she was not a STEM major.

For STEM, the dual enrollment classes are probably a surer thing.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Lady SA on August 08, 2017, 01:09:43 PM
With an interest in biochemistry and biology, has your daughter also considered biomedical engineering? I briefly tried that major and it was pretty fun, but then found out that blood scared me (lol) so I switched. I'm not sure on the job opportunities, but some I believe it is relatively easy to find a job even with a BS at medical device companies that will pay a crap ton, and the industry is very stable and lucrative. Along the lines of designing prosthetics, better heart pacemakers, even getting into growing organs from stem cells for transplant. However, please do a bit more research on exactly what job opportunities a BS has, I have not looked into it.

I'll give you my take, since I just graduated university 3 years ago. I had my heart set on an out-of-state public engineering college that had EXCELLENT placement rates (97% of graduates had a job in the field 6 mos after graduation) and after visiting the campus, it felt like "home". I literally stepped foot on campus and had this feeling of "home. this is where I belong". I had a 3.6 GPA, and the first time I took the ACT I got a 29. I was determined to get into the 30s so I retook it with a bit more study and got it. That resulted in a merit scholarship from the school of $10k per year contingent of staying in the dorms for the first 2 years. At that point, yearly tuition/room/board was $26k, and I qualified for the federal stafford loans to cover $7k. Then, my very generous family was able to cover some of my tuition, which left me with a ~$6k per year gap. I was also responsible for my own books and supplies.

For that $6k per year, I got a loan through my state that was cosigned by my parents on the condition that I have a job through college and start making even small payments toward it during school, and that as soon as I got a full time job, I would refinance it out of their names. Being a responsible kid, they trusted me.

I went to that school for my full 4 years, and I LOVED it. I made lifelong friends my first few months. It literally felt more like "home" than home did and I flourished, figuring out how to live on my own, and I wouldn't have gotten that at a CC. I at least knew the general direction I wanted to go in degree wise, but I ended up switching majors TWICE. First I was a biomed (mentioned above), and when that didn't work out, I tried mechanical engineering. At the end of my second year, I got into the multivariable calculus classes and my brain just couldn't cope with it, plus I was starting to have the slow, dawning realization that engineering wasn't for me. That summer, after having a bit of a panicky identity crisis, I talked with an advisor who suggested a peripheral degree, that was half technical and half humanities -- technical communication.

Each summer, I took classes at my local CC for transfer credit to my university to save money, and I did take a few AP classes and I think that got me out of a single class. (I wasn't very good at those tests lol)

After shuffling some of my older engineering classes around, turns out I had already meet 100% of the technical side of the degree, and now just had to concentrate on the humanities communication classes, and I would still graduate on time! And I managed to land an internship between my junior and software years with a major corporation (I was referred by a former intern who I had been friends with since freshman year), and was invited back as a full-time employee upon graduation making over $60k per year.

As a side note, I met my DH at school a month into our freshman year, so I may be biased :) But he came from a very low-income family and the school gave him the max financial aid they could, but he still graduated with about $110k of debt that he had to take on to cover the difference. Which is a lot, until you realize he graduated with a computer engineering degree and had about a million job offers even before graduation. He also got loans cosigned by his parents because he is extremely financially responsible and his dad pretty much had the same agreement: as soon as you get a job, these loans are refinanced in your name only.


Anyway, I just wanted to add the viewpoint of someone who did go to a 4 year college out of state, made some degree mistakes and had to switch multiple times, still graduated on time with student loan debt to the tune of $40k, but I really wouldn't want to have done it any other way. Those 4 years were one of the happiest of my life and I really cherish the bonds I made with my fellow students in those early years. I graduated and immediately had access to a very well paying job despite having a "humanities" degree, and our debt load is completely manageable. We started off with a combined debt of $150k (which seems quite scary), but within a year we were making $130k combined, now $180k combined. Our debt is down to $65k in 2.5 years, and we are still maxing every single tax advantaged account available to us. Obviously, do I wish we didn't have it? Of course. But are we drowning? No, far from it.


So, I guess my advice would be, her choice of degree but more importantly how in demand it is and what her expected salary could be after graduation and beyond is MUCH more important than how much or little debt she takes on. And how financially savvy she is. If she's even a bit savvy and picks a major that is in high demand with good potential salary and a school that has good connections to the industry, having a bit of debt is not so catastrophic and it's easy to refinance to just her name once she gets a full time job. Now, the flip side, if she goes into a saturated major with little job prospects and small expected salary, then any sort of debt would be extremely anxiety inducing and I can see why signing your name on the dotted line would be a but off-putting. The circumstances change a lot of things. I would focus on the debt/expected income ratio instead, and the college job placement rates.

And would you trust your daughter to handle any debt appropriately? If you requested she refinance to her name only, would she? Honestly?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 08, 2017, 01:15:59 PM
Great perspective, Lady SA!  As parents I think it's sometimes hard for us to fathom that there's going to be a tax paying productive member of society at the other end of that big tuition bill.  Great to read your post from the perspective of a student on whom that money was spent.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cgbg on August 08, 2017, 02:18:33 PM


The only kids that AP credits help are those who can test well in math and science AP classes, but do not intend to pursue STEM majors.  For STEM majors, AP credits are nearly useless to actually get kids out of classes.

Probably true at some schools but both of my kids received 8 credits for taking the AP Calc BC exam. One kid had taken Calc 2 at a local university but the AP credit counted as more (semester vs quarter system.) The AP credits go on their transcripts as transfer credits. In their case they also had college course credit from high school for the rest of their engineering math classes when they arrived (or will arrive) for their freshmen year. Two different out of state publics. It isn't like the colleges were going to award the credit and then make them take the classes too.

We were able to google up AP credit policies when the kids were applying to colleges. I'm sure it varies. Our target group included out of state publics and privates with engineering departments.

The harder thing for us to nail down was how each school would take college class credits (including a couple of dual enrollment credits, but most were just straight college classes) from out of state private colleges. The public universities in our state clearly detailed how many credits differential equations was worth from the local private university where they took classes during high school. But the out of state publics had no such list for accepting those credits straight across. Turns out each of those out of state publics has someone that evaluates each class on a case by case basis.


Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 09, 2017, 06:04:10 AM

7) Money in 529s directly reduces aid. Money in IRAs, 401k's, and HSAs does not affect aid. Owning a primary residence does not affect aid, but owning rental properties does. Do not officially save for college. To maximize aid, let your kids take out loans for the full cost and on graduation day pay whatever you'd like to pay. This assumes interest doesn't accrue until after graduation and you have ways to access your savings.

I am unclear on what you mean here.  If I need to cash flow say $60K over the course of the college career, I'm not going to pull that out of thin air on graduation day.  I need to accumulate it somewhere, so I'm totally lost on how I do not save, yet have it available.  Can you elaborate?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 09, 2017, 07:19:08 AM
I think he's trying to say don't use a 529.

If your daughter is an entering HS senior, I do agree with advice above to retake the ACT to see whether she can increase her score.  32+ really opens the scholarship opportunities.  But you'll still have the paying for housing conundrum.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on August 09, 2017, 07:26:37 AM
I think for most people going to college  from the US is unrealistic. First you have to be accepted. Most 18 year olds are not ready to live in a foreign culture with no supervision. Many European schools do not have dorms, students live with their families or in their own apartments.
Why is it unrealistic? Of course you have to be accepted, but so do you at US universities. How is living in a foreign culture without supervision much different than living in a new city without supervision? Even if you have to pay for an apartment, the cost is still nowhere near what you would pay for a school in the US. You could probably rent them a small castle for the amount of money the US university education costs. :)
I am not trying to be argumentative. It's something I have been thinking of for a while. I have multiple degrees from US universities. Only the first was out of pocket, the other ones I got various assistantships, etc . But I am still not convinced that the amount of money my parents and I spent on my degrees was necessarily worth it. I was especially convinced it was not as a penniless grad student.
I will let my son pick his own path when the time comes, but I will strongly suggest going abroad. I had a few opportunities to live abroad with my first job in my early 20s, and they were very eye opening and liberating.
I also hope to be FIRE'd by the time my son is of age to go to college, so I could conceivably move to whatever country he ends up in.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: historienne on August 09, 2017, 07:29:01 AM

7) Money in 529s directly reduces aid. Money in IRAs, 401k's, and HSAs does not affect aid. Owning a primary residence does not affect aid, but owning rental properties does. Do not officially save for college. To maximize aid, let your kids take out loans for the full cost and on graduation day pay whatever you'd like to pay. This assumes interest doesn't accrue until after graduation and you have ways to access your savings.

I am unclear on what you mean here.  If I need to cash flow say $60K over the course of the college career, I'm not going to pull that out of thin air on graduation day.  I need to accumulate it somewhere, so I'm totally lost on how I do not save, yet have it available.  Can you elaborate?

I don't know if this is what he is getting at, but we are prioritizing paying off our mortgage over putting money in 529s or otherwise saving for college.  The idea is that we will pay off our mortgage by the time the first kid hits college, and that will free up a cash flow of about $18,000 per year for us.  Not enough to pay for college entirely, but enough to make a solid dent!  And it won't increase our EFC the way that 529s or other non-retirement savings would.

If you have cooperative parents, you could also have them start 529s in your kids' names.  Withdrawals from those will count as income for the kid, so don't make any withdrawals until you already have the financial aid package for the last year.  But they can be used to cover expenses for the last year.  Only do this if you have an excellent relationship with your parents, though - if you give them money to fund the 529s, they could theoretically withdraw it or switch beneficiaries at any time.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 09, 2017, 08:52:00 AM
I think he's trying to say don't use a 529.

If your daughter is an entering HS senior, I do agree with advice above to retake the ACT to see whether she can increase her score.  32+ really opens the scholarship opportunities.  But you'll still have the paying for housing conundrum.

For folks from Canada reading this, the RESP monies, especially the non CESG part, generally count as the PARENTAL portion of the contribution.   (RESP is our "529" registered savings).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 09, 2017, 09:00:04 AM
I think for most people going to college  from the US is unrealistic. First you have to be accepted. Most 18 year olds are not ready to live in a foreign culture with no supervision. Many European schools do not have dorms, students live with their families or in their own apartments.
Why is it unrealistic? Of course you have to be accepted, but so do you at US universities. How is living in a foreign culture without supervision much different than living in a new city without supervision?

Okay,  I will bite.   I lived in the Oslo University student housing one term.  (the type where you have a private room and share a kitchen among 6 people).  I am glad that I had at least a year of living in a similar situation at my home university before doing this.  Living on one's own, generates a slow build up of skills.  You figure out what to do when the "furnished" apartment does not include a bed and curtains, let alone sheets (Olso), you figure out what to do when the power goes out and your freezer slowly thaws, how to pay rent, grocery shop, cook and clean for yourself, deal with the polish students and their weird behaviours, etc.

Having most of the living independently skills down from living near home, made it easier to deal with "issues" as they came up in Olso, when I was on my own and everything seemed so different.  At my home university, I understood how to use the local transit,was familiar with the grocery stores, and I had a back up to call my parents, who could talk me through.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 09, 2017, 10:25:41 AM


The only kids that AP credits help are those who can test well in math and science AP classes, but do not intend to pursue STEM majors.  For STEM majors, AP credits are nearly useless to actually get kids out of classes.

Probably true at some schools but both of my kids received 8 credits for taking the AP Calc BC exam. One kid had taken Calc 2 at a local university but the AP credit counted as more (semester vs quarter system.) The AP credits go on their transcripts as transfer credits. In their case they also had college course credit from high school for the rest of their engineering math classes when they arrived (or will arrive) for their freshmen year. Two different out of state publics. It isn't like the colleges were going to award the credit and then make them take the classes too.

We were able to google up AP credit policies when the kids were applying to colleges. I'm sure it varies. Our target group included out of state publics and privates with engineering departments.

The harder thing for us to nail down was how each school would take college class credits (including a couple of dual enrollment credits, but most were just straight college classes) from out of state private colleges. The public universities in our state clearly detailed how many credits differential equations was worth from the local private university where they took classes during high school. But the out of state publics had no such list for accepting those credits straight across. Turns out each of those out of state publics has someone that evaluates each class on a case by case basis.
Or me.  I was an engineering major, but got a 5 on the AP English exam.  That got me out of the 2 English class requirements for my degree.

(The AP English exam was the only one offered at my HS.  I only took it because they made me.  I couldn't afford to take it, so the school paid for it.)
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Wexler on August 09, 2017, 10:53:12 AM
I am surprised no one has mentioned this, and maybe I haven't done enough research on this... but my plan is to send my kid to Europe.  Especially if your kid is a nerd who will likely want to go on to grad school, you can get them European undergrad education for a very small fraction of the price in the US (plus the experience of living in a foreign country is priceless). And a lot of western european countries now offer full curricula in english.
Getting into grad school in the US on a TA or an RA with a European degree does not seem that difficult. And their terminal degree will then be from a US school, and the undergrad will not matter.
Of course, my kid is tiny and who knows how this will all work by the time he is of age (and if he will even want to go to college), but I just wanted to throw it out as an option.
Yes, someone else had mentioned.  At this point she is not targeting grad school, just trying to get a degree and a job.  She's specifically interested in Biochemistry as she's done a lot of work in these areas on how own from a study perspective and with Science Olympiad things and she wants to end up in likely an R&D lab for a corporation.  From her research it seems she can get entry level roles with just a Bachelors and then worry about later study if warranted.  Job prospects seem good and we have seen several school report that their graduating group for this field is 24 people or some crazy small number like that, so she is encouraged that this will be a field that should pan out well for her given the small amount of graduates but the growing number of jobs.  As with any crystal ball gazing, who knows if this is all correct, but that's the landscape.  I know several talked about Biology being a field that is very popular, but the specialty of BioChem seems much less popular.  If anyone has any added insight on this specifically that would help.  This also limits her school choices as not all of them have BioChem.

A BS in biology/biochemistry lets you be a lab tech, essentially, or a drug sales rep (which is a pretty good job if you like that kind be of thing.)

But the good news is that a PhD in those fields should cost you nothing. If you pay for a PhD in science, they don't really want you. That's why it's important to go to a school where you'll have a chance to work in someone's lab and have small enough classes to get to know profs well enough that you'll get great recommendations.

Proceed with caution. Biology is the least profitable STEM major and has earnings projections that are lower than the average non-STEM major.  There isn't a delineation for biochemistry, but it's probably a reasonable estimate just to take the average between biology and chemistry.  Also, check job listings to see if biochemistry is treated differently than biology or if jobs looking for a biology major will also consider biochemistry majors.  If this is true, then estimated earnings for biochemists will likely look pretty similar to biologists. Finally, just because a school's program is small doesn't mean that there is a mismatch between the number of jobs and graduates that will be in your daughter's favor. Universities aren't in the business of providing particularly honest information about job prospects.

http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2014/06/whats-your-science-degree-worth

The least lucrative STEM field by far is biology, which has lifetime earnings significantly below those of the average non-STEM college graduate.

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MayDay on August 09, 2017, 01:46:00 PM
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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 09, 2017, 04:51:16 PM
It's not like she's not looking at options, but when even a base in state school has become so stupidly expensive, is college just becoming something you need to sign your life away for for your kids to go?  HELP!
She's just about to begin her senior year?  The hard thing is that you're making choices about where to apply without knowing whether she'll get a scholarship here, there, or nowhere ... you have to make a stab in the dark.  Here's what I've been telling my seniors for years -- it works: 

You must choose three categories of school. 

1.  Choose your dream school (some people call it your reach school).  If everything were to work out perfectly for your daughter, where would she go?  If the scholarships were to go her way, etc., etc., etc.  While realizing that it probably won't happen, apply to that school. 
2.  Choose 2-3 realistic schools.  Schools in the mid-tier price range, schools where she can be successful, schools to which you can drive.  You know, the schools where she will probably end up.  Applying to more than three means you haven't done enough homework /enough whittling down.  Few students end up getting big-deal scholarships from individual schools, so don't worry too much about that. 
3.  Choose your safety net.  Sounds like you've already decided this is community college, but the safety net should be something she can do entirely on her own at least to start her college education. 

Keeping that in mind, know that the big-deal scholarships tend to "open" in September-October and have due dates around November 1st.  Smaller scholarships pop up October-March and have due dates March-April. 

Also, don't be afraid to be up front with your daughter about what you can afford to contribute.  We told ours that we could pay for 4 years (not 5, not 4 + summers) at a state school.  That would include tuition, fees, dorm, meal plan.  If they wanted "more" -- out of state, apartment, etc. -- they had to figure out how to pay whatever was "above and beyond".  Letting them know what you can provide is important; they have enough "floating numbers" in their lives right now -- let them know what they can count on from you.

First, yeah, welcome to reality.  Unless you have some incredible "hook," you're not getting a full scholarship. 
Realistically, few, few, few students get full rides these days.  I think it's been 2-3 years since ANYONE at the high school where I teach earned a full ride. Why?  Schools and scholarship committees have decided that it's better to give modest awards to 4-5 students rather than a full ride to a single student.  This is just the way things are today. 

Don't forget, though, that students can earn multiple scholarships.  And students can pay for school in other ways:  National Guard, work for the university to earn school benefits -- an RA in the dorms typically gets free room and board, a secretary can take a few classes each semester for free.  Look into schools that provide books as a part of tuition; that's saved a ton of money for us.  Hint:  A freshman Chemistry book is $360; we paid nothing. 

The cheap way is live at home and go to the local community college for 2 years-join the honors program and get straight A's. You can jump right into the junior year.
In theory, yes; however, in my experience, most students take more than four years to graduate when using this 2 years + 2 years process ... typically because they don't plan thoroughly enough, and managing the requirements of two schools instead of just one does require planning. 

I second (or third) the advice to find a private school with a good endowment where your child is in the top 25% in terms of grades / ACT score.  They will likely throw more money or at least a better aid package at your child.
Said another way:  A lackluster private college is more likely to give your kid a scholarship than is a state school.  This is true, but it usually just brings the cost of the private school down to roughly the same cost as the state school ... but then, you're at a lackluster private college.  I'd rather my kids went to the state school; most of the private colleges in my state are lackluster. 

However, the good news is that for many (most) careers, this isn't much of a factor. 
A 3.9 GPA /29 score is good but hardly stellar; while it's outstanding in her high school class, it's probably about dead-average for the kids who will attend state universities and will actually stay more than a year.  The real questions are, Has she taken lots of honors /AP classes?  Does she have good extra-curriculars and particularly leadership experience?  Does she have some community service to talk about on applications?  Has she dipped her toes into whatever she intends to study in college? 

A 3.9 GPA /29 score + some of these things is likely to end up with a modest scholarship. A 3.9 /29 that's all-grades will probably get nothing. 

Edited to add: the best scholarships overwhelmingly come from the schools themselves. There are sites for individual scholarships but most of those will be one time only scholarships.
This may vary from region to region, but this is blatantly false in my area.  Schools themselves give out relatively few scholarships.  The state gives quite a few, and individual groups give quite a few.  OP, you should ask your guidance counselors; even if you don't particularly like them, they can enlighten you on what's typical for your area.

You're right to point out that some schools are one-time only deals.  Don't jump for a scholarship that'll allow her to attend her dream school for one year; if you do, you'll just be right back at this point next year ... but it'll be worse because she'll already be entrenched in the dream school. 

My kids are 25 and 29, so my experiences are fairly recent, but things may have changed. I personally don't know anyone who did well chasing all those scholarships on the internet.
My experience (not only with my own kids, but with high school seniors for longer than I care to admit) has been the same.  Our guidance office posts scholarships every month, and that's a great way to find good options.  Three important points:

- Never pay anyone to apply for a scholarship.  Those people who "promise" to find you something will just point out FAFSA and loans. 
- Create an organizational system and SAVE everything.  Often you can tweak an essay and submit it to another scholarship with little effort. 
- I have been a part of scholarship committees many times, and the very first thing we do is go through to see which applications are complete -- a shocking number are missing transcripts, essays, whatever -- and we discard without reading all the students who haven't bothered to turn in everything.  The next big thing is, It must be NEAT.  Imagine you're reading 20-25 essays ... you're only human; you're going to be drawn towards the ones that are easiest to read.

This stuff by high school counselors really gets my goat. I work at a private high school school and see this kind of thing play out with the seniors all the time. Kids are brainwashed to see college as a magical Disney vacation at a name-brand lifestyle school where they learn things without trying, make a million friends, and do very little other than party and self-actualize.
It's not only high school counselors -- friends and parents are worse.  MANY of our best students feel that community college isn't "enough", and NOT to go straight to a 4-year university is to admit that you are "lesser".  However, at least half of my students who head out to 4-year schools simply aren't ready. 

I'm remembering a father who called me on the phone once and asked me point-blank if I thought his son was ready for a university.  I took a deep breath before I answered (because I always tell the truth), and I said, "Sir, your son has plenty of academic potential, but I don't see strong motivation on his part.  I see that he has ___ missing assignments, and I see that he has missed school ___ times this semester.  I see that he participates in class, when it suits him, but he sometimes shirks the more difficult work.  I think he could do well in college academically, but I wonder if he is emotionally ready.  If he were my child, I'd consider community college -- for a year, for two years -- and then make the jump to a more independent university program."  And I held my breath and waited to be told off.  Didn't happen.  The dad said that I'd just verified his feelings exactly, and he was sure that was the best path.  Unfortunately, I don't know the end of the story. 

I think for most people going to college  from the US is unrealistic. First you have to be accepted. Most 18 year olds are not ready to live in a foreign culture with no supervision. Many European schools do not have dorms, students live with their families or in their own apartments.
Plus you're not going to qualify for anything from FAFSA (not that most thrifty people will be offered anything except loans), and you can't ignore the very real cost of transportation. 

Just don't drink too much of that "AP will save you money on college tuition" koolaid.
Dual enrollment between high school and community college is a MUCH better deal than AP classes.  Example:  My oldest is an excellent English student and took English AP her senior year ... scored a 3 on the AP test, needed a 4 to get credit in college; had she taken it a different day, or had she encountered a different essay question, I am sure she would've passed.  100% of her chance of earning credit was based upon her performance on one test.  In contrast, my youngest, a slightly weaker English student took English 101 at the community college while she was still in high school.  She was in complete control of whether she did her reading, turned in her papers, etc.  She earned an A and a college credit. 

However, many of our upper-academic students "look down upon" the community college option, seeing it as "lesser" than the AP class.  And it is, but, still, my point is quite valid ... if you're looking for credit instead of social status.

Oh, and the cost of dual-enrollment:  Zero tuition.  Parents have to pay for books "up front", but they're reimbursed after the student passes the class. 

nd all of those credits have gotten her out of ZERO classes for her major. 
Well, um, yeah.  All those AP classes /community college classes help students get ahead in general degree requirements.  You'll never take college major classes in high school. 

Why is it unrealistic? Of course you have to be accepted, but so do you at US universities. How is living in a foreign culture without supervision much different than living in a new city without supervision?
Living in a new country would mean your parents literally cannot drive up for the weekend, so it requires a higher level of independence.  It also means learning a new financial currency, navigating a new culture, perhaps dealing with a language other than English ... all while learning to be a college student, manage your own life as an adult -- meaning buying groceries, paying your electrical bill, and remembering to wash your clothes.  I'm in the camp of, Few students are ready for this

Okay, I've said quite enough, so I'll leave you with one comment:  Paying for college has turned out to be easier than expected for us.  Both our kids have earned multiple scholarships (not full rides), and we have been able to cash-flow the remainder.  We have dipped into savings only once ... and we're almost done:  our youngest has two years left.  It's do-able.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 10, 2017, 10:24:25 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.... :)

On the one item of mine you responded on, we are certainly doing that.  I had mentioned a book I stumbled across as a freebie in our public libraries book giveaway called "Right College Right Price" that segments the schools by type (read costs in most cases) in the index so you can look up an college in the country under one of the categories (Flagship public, non-flagship public, highly selective private, mid-tier private, etc.).  We've used this to group schools together and do find that picking a couple in each and running the numbers gets almost identical net price values. 

The other nearly all apply to us (other than foreign attendance, where I totally agree with you.  Having worked in foreign countries the challenges of navigating all the variables even as a fully functional adult can be challenging.  Having that be the first independent experience for someone requires a VERY, VERY special kid).  I thank you for the added insight on lackluster private versus state and the other pieces.  Obviously, as you indicated by your anecdote about telling the father about how you felt about his son's readiness, every parent most likely has at least a bit of rose colored glasses regarding our children.  I believe I'd react as your caller did to candid feedback about any of my kids, but I'm sure I have some beliefs about my kids that exaggerate their capability.  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.  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. 

I do feel she is feeling that going to community college is in some ways "lesser".  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, but I feel she can do that later while working in the field, rather than trying to jump into graduate work and expense right away.  I feel that students who come out that way are not as capable in the workforce because all they have is a lot of book knowledge, but are lacking the work experience and more importantly the interpersonal and political skills you get from working with adults versus playing around at work in university.  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.

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 $10K.  Therefore it seems to need to be a "floating number".  It seem like not being up front to pretend that this could not happen given job instability in this country for the last two decades.  I just had to switch jobs less than two years ago, and it was very possible that I would have needed to take a 40-50% pay cut to not have to leave the area.  I was blessed that I found a job that did not make us have to deal with that reality, but if that were to happen again in the next 10 years our plan would have to change.  Not sure how I can approach it any other way, but open for suggestions.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Pigeon on August 10, 2017, 10:41:17 AM
Yah, a biology degree is going to get you a boring as hell job as a lab tech making 13$ 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Pigeon 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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)
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Heroes821 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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.


Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: marion10 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Paul der Krake 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mxt0133 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?

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky 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. ;-)
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Pigeon on August 11, 2017, 06:20:38 AM
The criteria for being independent on the FAFSA are here
https://www.fastweb.com/financial-aid/articles/federal-financial-aid-and-the-independent-student
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: goatmom 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: GizmoTX 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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 (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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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 (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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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...
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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?

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 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 (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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 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!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: ltt 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. :)

 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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."
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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. 
 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Paul der Krake 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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? 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: patchyfacialhair 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn 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!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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.

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete 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. 


Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Paul der Krake 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: secondcor521 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks 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.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 15, 2017, 11:05:49 AM
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.

These are all very good points, though I don't know if it's the trophy thing or not.

I was that kid hustling.  I guess I was pretty humble too because I didn't get my butt handed to me in college.  Went from #1 in HS (podunk school, <100 in my graduating class) to #5 in my major in a top-10 engineering school.  But you know, I realize that there was no way I'd be #1.  I had a job, and ROTC, and school.  But EVEN IF I hadn't had to work, and be in ROTC to pay for it, I really don't think I could have broken past #4.  The top 3 kids in my class were just really smart.  The #2 guy got a perfect score on our 2nd physical chemistry test, and the average was a 65.  (I got a 65.)

I've always hustled, and you know what?  My kid doesn't.  My 11 year old is smart, and he works *just hard enough* to get better grades than everyone else in his grade (about 55-60 kids).  So when he goes to the big math competition, and his school doesn't even place: "Look, these kids work harder than you.  You guys have one practice a week.  You only sometimes do your homework.  They have extra math classes 4x a week with a credentialed teacher, and they practice taking the test."  I figure, for sure, that junior high will be a big test (next year).  Suddenly he'll be in the honors program with 60-70 other honors kids from 4-5 elementary schools.

He also really wants to go to Cal Tech.  I just shrug.  Too soon to tell if he'll get in or not.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 15, 2017, 11:07:03 AM
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 don't think schools 'specially pay attention to scores when they're sending out marketing materials.  They just send. 

Example:  I'm thinking of a kid I taught last year -- the epitome of lazy, quite skilled at cheating on tests (I caught him several times), nice kid but lackluster grades, shakey-weak basics on his academic basics -- but he was from a very wealthy family.  He missed a couple days of school to go visit University of Virginia (we do not live in Virginia), and he showed me a mass-mailing advertisement with great glee saying, "They're really interested in me, so my dad's taking me up to visit!"  Judging from my previous students who actually ended up attending UV, I know with 100% certainty this kid wasn't going to make the cut ... but I said some polite things.  Poor kid, he mistook marketing for personal interest. 

I've seen things like this fairly often, and I see no connection between the kids' grades and advertising.  Of course, to be fair, we have kids with high standardized test scores but low class averages (talented but lazy kids), and I don't know kids' standardized scores. 

In closing, if you want to see NICE college advertisements, send away for some art school books!  Teachers receive college advertisements too, and I love it when art schools send me calendars. 
 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 15, 2017, 11:12:16 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.
And that's logical.  If you start at a certain school, you'd probably rather stay there:  You know the campus, you've learned the procedures for registration, parking passes, checking things out of the library.  You don't 'specially want to go through admissions, turning in your vaccination records, etc.  It's just easier to stay where you already are.  And schools know it, so they focus on getting you in the door ... if you have trouble scraping together money in subsequent years, they're going to be less helpful. 

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.
Yes, that fits what I see. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 15, 2017, 11:14:48 AM
DD did not take the ACT / SAT etc, but because she filled out a registration to be on a list for scholarship links, she has been receiving some mailings, too.   It's like those CC applications used to be -- one hint or access to your contact info, and the floodgates open.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 15, 2017, 11:15:15 AM
don't discount your kid applying to your alma mater too.  My daughter did.  We immediately (and transparently) joined the alumni association as lifetime members (I think it was like $900 for both my wife and myself).  She got about $9k in scholarships from the alumni association.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 15, 2017, 11:16:12 AM
I've always hustled, and you know what?  My kid doesn't.  My 11 year old is smart, and he works *just hard enough* to get better grades than everyone else in his grade (about 55-60 kids).  So when he goes to the big math competition, and his school doesn't even place: "Look, these kids work harder than you.  You guys have one practice a week.  You only sometimes do your homework.  They have extra math classes 4x a week with a credentialed teacher, and they practice taking the test."  I figure, for sure, that junior high will be a big test (next year).  Suddenly he'll be in the honors program with 60-70 other honors kids from 4-5 elementary schools.
I always hustled, though I was never #1 in my class.  I'd like to say it's because in both high school and college I worked more hours than were really good for me, and I received little support/guidance at home in terms of academics ... but, honestly, I still would've been top 10% but not top 10.  I'm smart but not #1 smart.

But, as I said, I always hustled ... and I raised two kids who are hustlers.  That does matter.  We're all planners too; good, long-term planning matters just as much as hard work -- in college, that's a key component in graduating on time. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: libertarian4321 on August 15, 2017, 11:25:56 AM
My high school crush who went to Bard turned into a pot smoking atheist

You say it like it's a bad thing?  :)

Anyway, I agree with the main point of the post. 

Sometimes kids who don't come from families with unlimited resources have to be shown that we don't get everything we want in life.  They need to make the choice that will be both best for them, and their family (assuming the family is going to be on the hook for some of the costs).  They probably shouldn't run up huge debts for themselves (and/or family) that they have little chance of repaying (or which they will struggle to pay for decades).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 15, 2017, 01:13:27 PM
My high school crush who went to Bard turned into a pot smoking atheist

You say it like it's a bad thing?  :)

Anyway, I agree with the main point of the post. 

Sometimes kids who don't come from families with unlimited resources have to be shown that we don't get everything we want in life.  They need to make the choice that will be both best for them, and their family (assuming the family is going to be on the hook for some of the costs).  They probably shouldn't run up huge debts for themselves (and/or family) that they have little chance of repaying (or which they will struggle to pay for decades).
I live in So Cal, so I know a lot of pot-smoking atheists.  I fall in to one of those categories.  And it's not the smoking one.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: patchyfacialhair on August 15, 2017, 01:14:11 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.

These are all very good points, though I don't know if it's the trophy thing or not.

I was that kid hustling.  I guess I was pretty humble too because I didn't get my butt handed to me in college.  Went from #1 in HS (podunk school, <100 in my graduating class) to #5 in my major in a top-10 engineering school.  But you know, I realize that there was no way I'd be #1.  I had a job, and ROTC, and school.  But EVEN IF I hadn't had to work, and be in ROTC to pay for it, I really don't think I could have broken past #4.  The top 3 kids in my class were just really smart.  The #2 guy got a perfect score on our 2nd physical chemistry test, and the average was a 65.  (I got a 65.)

I've always hustled, and you know what?  My kid doesn't.  My 11 year old is smart, and he works *just hard enough* to get better grades than everyone else in his grade (about 55-60 kids).  So when he goes to the big math competition, and his school doesn't even place: "Look, these kids work harder than you.  You guys have one practice a week.  You only sometimes do your homework.  They have extra math classes 4x a week with a credentialed teacher, and they practice taking the test."  I figure, for sure, that junior high will be a big test (next year).  Suddenly he'll be in the honors program with 60-70 other honors kids from 4-5 elementary schools.

He also really wants to go to Cal Tech.  I just shrug.  Too soon to tell if he'll get in or not.

LOL I remember having Cal Tech on my list. My folks and I visited and quickly realized that I was just not the kind of student who would succeed there. The tour guide's idea of fun was throwing cake against the wall and working on math problems for fun like Good Will Hunting.

Not to mention a few "thousand yard stares" that more than a few people had.

Kudos to them though. It takes a certain type of person to become a rocket scientist, and boy does Cal Tech churn those folks out.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 17, 2017, 02:12:47 PM
So a couple of new questions and developments.

First, anyone use collegedata.com?  Good, bad, reliable?

Second, so my daughter has been getting no fee streamline application packets from several schools.  She started to apply to a couple....and then got what I can only refer to as a "cease and desist" e-mail from her high school counselor.  Is this normal now?!  Basically he said that all applications need to go through Naviance, he'd be ready to do stuff in late September.  I looked up this program and it seems to match kids to majors and other stuff, but says nothing about filing applications.  Plus I would imagine that the streamlined processes probably are not supported through this.  Also with colleges with rolling admissions and also the fact that we talked about the bigger school awards being given out in the first few months on this thead, I think putting up any barriers is stupid on a schools part.  My daughter asked me to hash this out with her counselor and she was a bit disheartened when she shared his e-mail with me because she was all proud of herself for taking initiative and sending out a few applications and then she gets slapped by her counselor.  Now you get to see why I'm not impressed with our high school counselors.  They seem to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

So I'm still going back and forth with this guy trying to figure out if she really had to use this software the school is pushing and why if she wants to apply now does she have to wait for this guy to be ready.  I may have been a little to direct in my first e-mail because he came back telling me he was hurt that anyone would accuse him of being a barrier, but I'm sorry, my wife and I find this interference totally unnecessary.  Don't counselors just need to get the transcript and maybe write a recommendation if needed (these apps only need the transcript)?  So my wife and I were pretty steamed last night when our daughter showed us this e-mail last night.  Thoughts or input?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 17, 2017, 02:46:39 PM
So a couple of new questions and developments.

First, anyone use collegedata.com?  Good, bad, reliable?

Second, so my daughter has been getting no fee streamline application packets from several schools.  She started to apply to a couple....and then got what I can only refer to as a "cease and desist" e-mail from her high school counselor.  Is this normal now?!  Basically he said that all applications need to go through Naviance, he'd be ready to do stuff in late September.  I looked up this program and it seems to match kids to majors and other stuff, but says nothing about filing applications.  Plus I would imagine that the streamlined processes probably are not supported through this.  Also with colleges with rolling admissions and also the fact that we talked about the bigger school awards being given out in the first few months on this thead, I think putting up any barriers is stupid on a schools part.  My daughter asked me to hash this out with her counselor and she was a bit disheartened when she shared his e-mail with me because she was all proud of herself for taking initiative and sending out a few applications and then she gets slapped by her counselor.  Now you get to see why I'm not impressed with our high school counselors.  They seem to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

So I'm still going back and forth with this guy trying to figure out if she really had to use this software the school is pushing and why if she wants to apply now does she have to wait for this guy to be ready.  I may have been a little to direct in my first e-mail because he came back telling me he was hurt that anyone would accuse him of being a barrier, but I'm sorry, my wife and I find this interference totally unnecessary.  Don't counselors just need to get the transcript and maybe write a recommendation if needed (these apps only need the transcript)?  So my wife and I were pretty steamed last night when our daughter showed us this e-mail last night.  Thoughts or input?

I think you are totally in the right (that your kid can apply to college when she wants to).

But you also probably want to avoid making somebody mad who could be an asset (and certainly an impediment) to the process.  If you have time, I'd try to schedule a 1 on 1 with the counselor to explain your position and concerns, especially that you want to be early so as to be first in line for aid, and also that you want to take advantage of the free admissions app window.

My kids basically did all of the applying on their own, with very little input or guidance from counselors.  Your experience is 180* from ours in that respect.  Maybe the counselor has some other good tips or pointers and could be a real resource.  In my kids' schools, the counselors were mostly focused on getting bottom performers to graduation.  Some attention to the high achievers would've actually been pretty refreshing.  So in the end this could really be a good thing if you've got a good counselor who knows WTF he is doing with regard to college admissions. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Dictionary Time on August 17, 2017, 05:56:00 PM
Someone earlier mentioned co-op programs and since you're in Ohio, I think you might want to look at the University of Cincinnati.  They are set up to do co-op every other semester.  You would alternate going to class and doing internships. They're paid, and supposedly they have a big network to help you locate them, as well as groups of students to do sublets and stuff to make it more affordable.  It's a year round thing, so it doesn't take much longer.  Then she would have all that experience/networking to start her career.  My son really wanted to go there because of the co-op, but it's out of state for us, and we could not make the numbers work.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Juslookin on August 18, 2017, 05:59:35 AM
So a couple of new questions and developments.

First, anyone use collegedata.com?  Good, bad, reliable?

Second, so my daughter has been getting no fee streamline application packets from several schools.  She started to apply to a couple....and then got what I can only refer to as a "cease and desist" e-mail from her high school counselor.  Is this normal now?!  Basically he said that all applications need to go through Naviance, he'd be ready to do stuff in late September.  I looked up this program and it seems to match kids to majors and other stuff, but says nothing about filing applications.  Plus I would imagine that the streamlined processes probably are not supported through this.  Also with colleges with rolling admissions and also the fact that we talked about the bigger school awards being given out in the first few months on this thead, I think putting up any barriers is stupid on a schools part.  My daughter asked me to hash this out with her counselor and she was a bit disheartened when she shared his e-mail with me because she was all proud of herself for taking initiative and sending out a few applications and then she gets slapped by her counselor.  Now you get to see why I'm not impressed with our high school counselors.  They seem to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

So I'm still going back and forth with this guy trying to figure out if she really had to use this software the school is pushing and why if she wants to apply now does she have to wait for this guy to be ready.  I may have been a little to direct in my first e-mail because he came back telling me he was hurt that anyone would accuse him of being a barrier, but I'm sorry, my wife and I find this interference totally unnecessary.  Don't counselors just need to get the transcript and maybe write a recommendation if needed (these apps only need the transcript)?  So my wife and I were pretty steamed last night when our daughter showed us this e-mail last night.  Thoughts or input?

I agree with you, this is outrageous.  I am not only a parent, but I sit on my School Board and I think it is ridiculous that any school procedure should inhibit a student from taking initiative and applying to college.  Wake up school districts.....this is what you want the kids to do. 

You tell your daughter that this three year School Board President says Congratulations for going out there and taking control of her own life.  She should be commended and that kind of behavior will get her far in life!!  And to the counselor or the school (if this is their ridiculous policy)  they had better wake up and realize that this is exactly what we want our students to be doing, we're supposed to be preparing them to be decision makers.....I have never heard of a helicopter school district, but ladies and gentleman here you have it!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 18, 2017, 08:23:05 AM
I don't think there's much point in applying for admission for next year right now, so I don't have any problem with waiting until September. I can see that the counsellors might not be ready to start shooting off transcripts at this point, though.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: farmecologist on August 18, 2017, 11:40:44 AM
Our daughter is starting college in a couple weeks.  Here are some observations that we noticed when going through the process. 

First, make it clear that they CANNOT go to any college they choose.  Our daughter initially wanted to a very expensive private, out of state, non-reciprocity school.  Then reality set in when we had the 'financial talk' with her.  She is attending our in-state university ( University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ). 

Scholarships are tougher to get than people realize...especially for 'average to above average kids'.  Our daughter ended up getting one 3K a year scholarship...but that's it.

The FAFSA is complete BS for anyone with a decent income...enough said.  Many people don't realize this until too late.

So how are we going to pay for it?  The general 'cost of attendance' is around $25,000 for an in-state student :

  - Scholarship : $3000 per year
  - Federal Unsubsidized Student Loan : $5500 (1st year), $6500 (2nd year), $7500 (3/4th years)
  - 529 plan : $15000 per year.
  - The rest: Out of pocket.

What saved us is being smart about putting money into the 529 plan.  However, you *have* to plan ahead.  I know far too many parents who didn't make it a priority...and are now pretty much screwed...or refuse to pay it and screw their kids over.

The loan is is HER name...which is key.  This means that she has some skin in the game.  We fully intend to help pay this off if she graduates and circumstances allow for it.  However, we have not told her that.


Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mm1970 on August 18, 2017, 11:48:06 AM
So a couple of new questions and developments.

First, anyone use collegedata.com?  Good, bad, reliable?

Second, so my daughter has been getting no fee streamline application packets from several schools.  She started to apply to a couple....and then got what I can only refer to as a "cease and desist" e-mail from her high school counselor.  Is this normal now?!  Basically he said that all applications need to go through Naviance, he'd be ready to do stuff in late September.  I looked up this program and it seems to match kids to majors and other stuff, but says nothing about filing applications.  Plus I would imagine that the streamlined processes probably are not supported through this.  Also with colleges with rolling admissions and also the fact that we talked about the bigger school awards being given out in the first few months on this thead, I think putting up any barriers is stupid on a schools part.  My daughter asked me to hash this out with her counselor and she was a bit disheartened when she shared his e-mail with me because she was all proud of herself for taking initiative and sending out a few applications and then she gets slapped by her counselor.  Now you get to see why I'm not impressed with our high school counselors.  They seem to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

So I'm still going back and forth with this guy trying to figure out if she really had to use this software the school is pushing and why if she wants to apply now does she have to wait for this guy to be ready.  I may have been a little to direct in my first e-mail because he came back telling me he was hurt that anyone would accuse him of being a barrier, but I'm sorry, my wife and I find this interference totally unnecessary.  Don't counselors just need to get the transcript and maybe write a recommendation if needed (these apps only need the transcript)?  So my wife and I were pretty steamed last night when our daughter showed us this e-mail last night.  Thoughts or input?

I agree with you, this is outrageous.  I am not only a parent, but I sit on my School Board and I think it is ridiculous that any school procedure should inhibit a student from taking initiative and applying to college.  Wake up school districts.....this is what you want the kids to do. 

You tell your daughter that this three year School Board President says Congratulations for going out there and taking control of her own life.  She should be commended and that kind of behavior will get her far in life!!  And to the counselor or the school (if this is their ridiculous policy)  they had better wake up and realize that this is exactly what we want our students to be doing, we're supposed to be preparing them to be decision makers.....I have never heard of a helicopter school district, but ladies and gentleman here you have it!
I don't know how it works anymore, but maybe the cease and desist is that every application comes with a request for transcripts/ grades?

I can imagine that it might be some work for the guidance counselor, if that is the case - and if the request comes from the school?

Back in the dark ages, I had to get an official transcript from the school office to apply.  But I only applied to 2 universities.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 18, 2017, 12:20:38 PM
I would just let the counselor know that you will only be applying to the no fee / fast track applications, and to ask for 5 copies of her transcript, in sealed envelopes (if the schools will take them that way),that you can include with the application.  If the schools need a school direct-emailed transcript, then I think you need to hold off until the counselor is ready to do that work. Once set up, it is fast per student, but until then I can see that it is a lot of extra shuffling to get it done that may be interrupting course planning for the new year right now.

Having seen the stupid questions and stupid  / dumb applications that my DD's friends were sending off (e.g., horrendous replies to a written question, or missing a lot of info, or the wrong info, etc), I can see why the counselor wants to guide students through it.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 18, 2017, 02:55:36 PM
I already do have another daughter in college so not my first experience, just my first experience with a student who can qualify for merit based scholarships.
I did forget that you said that; however, working with a student who hopes to win a scholarship really is a different situation.  It adds another layer of uncertainty to an equation already fraught with questions. 

The schools that have sent these streamlined applications have also indicated decision in three weeks and financial aid package in four on the paperwork and encourage applying as soon as possible ... Also first day of school has begun here, so they are well past schedule development and such. 
Hmmm, we have nothing similar to your "streamlined applications", but I'd advise you NOT to skip the essays.  They could help with admission, and they could flag your student for a scholarship.  My daughter's roommate was flagged for /interviewed for a scholarship because of her college admission.  She didn't end up getting it, but the point is still valid. 

We don't start school 'til week after next, so our schedule is several weeks apart from yours. 

In our school the counselors move with the students, meaning she has had the same counselor since freshman year, and she has been very, very upset with his help (or lack thereof) many times over her high school career, so that is part of the background here as well.  I do not think he's intentionally forming barriers (nor did I say that, he just added that on his own) but I do have questions about, let's say, his competence.  For regular apps I've already told them we'll follow the process if needed, which I have since found out after it escalated through the unit 12 principal to the entire high school principal (yes our school is that darn big that there are five principals but only two counselors at each grade level for class sizes of 900) that the program actually will not really do what the counselor claimed it would do, so it kind of verifies my concern of competence.  I would not have engaged as I did had I not had this background of past shortcomings. 
You can always request that your daughter be switched to a different counselor, though that absolutely flags you as "that parent".  I still think you need to have a sit down face-to-face with the counselor. 

I agree with a lot of what you have to post and we agree more than we disagree, but this is just not correct.  My son was solicited to apply to several not-private, and not-lackluster public schools for free last year (University of Utah and Colorado School of Mines off the top of my head, but I'm sure there were more).  Come to think of it those two also waived their essay requirements.  He never would've applied but-for the free application (and more importantly no essay), but Mines actually ended up being one of his top two choices.

Blanket statements are always wrong and all that.
You may have a great deal of knowledge with the schools in your immediate vicinity, but your statements do not apply in our area.
Let's go back and take a look at a couple comments in my last post: 

I don't know anything about "no fee streamlines", nor do I know anything about Naviance.  I suspect this is evidence that things vary from place to place.  I'll say what I've said already:  I'll tell you truthfully what happens in my area, and I strongly suspect that names vary but the broad strokes are the same, but you have to check your own area's details.

As for timing, in our area college applications "open" on September 1st ...

In my area, this would be a very bad choice for two reasons:


Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 18, 2017, 04:03:57 PM
MrsPete thanks for the awesome input.  It is all good for most situations but my experience in the past had some differences to clarify. 

I already do have another daughter in college so not my first experience, just my first experience with a student who can qualify for merit based scholarships.  Kent State has rolling admissions (which is where she went) and she had a decision and financial aid package in the first week of September last year.    The schools that have sent these streamlined applications have also indicated decision in three weeks and financial aid package in four on the paperwork and encourage applying as soon as possible.  If these were non-rolling admission colleges I would totally agree with your statements, but they are not.  These applications are waiving essays in some cases and other time consuming steps that we are fine avoiding.  These are not her dream schools, but they are her "would be fine" schools and as I said in earlier posts since she clearly had a door get a couple "yeses" under her belt she'd like to do that to make herself feel better.  Also first day of school has begun here, so they are well past schedule development and such. 

In our school the counselors move with the students, meaning she has had the same counselor since freshman year, and she has been very, very upset with his help (or lack thereof) many times over her high school career, so that is part of the background here as well.  I do not think he's intentionally forming barriers (nor did I say that, he just added that on his own) but I do have questions about, let's say, his competence.  For regular apps I've already told them we'll follow the process if needed, which I have since found out after it escalated through the unit 12 principal to the entire high school principal (yes our school is that darn big that there are five principals but only two counselors at each grade level for class sizes of 900) that the program actually will not really do what the counselor claimed it would do, so it kind of verifies my concern of competence.  I would not have engaged as I did had I not had this background of past shortcomings. 

It also turned out that even though counselor used the word "required" with regard to Naviance (which is what irked me) one of the principals included this in their reply, "While we encourage our students to use Naviance for the college application process if you find alternatives to Naviance more beneficial I would encourage you to explore those options. "  So yes, a communication problem existed as well.  In fairness to the counselor I have tried to be open minded.  We logged into Naviance last night with my daughter and found very clearly on the site that it is intended to "identify skills and competencies to help you choose a college major".  Nowhere did I find any reference to applications, and it does not appear the program does anything of the kind.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: shawndoggy on August 18, 2017, 04:09:00 PM
- The only schools that offer no fee applications are the small, lackluster private schools.  The state schools, which are much stronger academic options and tend to cost about 1/3 as much in the long run NEVER offer no-fee applications ... well, except vouchers to low-income kids, and that's a whole different topic.  Why don't the state schools offer no-fee options?  Because they don't have to!  They know that they can fill their freshman class (plus more) and collect a ridiculous amount of money just for looking at the application -- so they do.  It's a big money maker for them. Anyway, refusing to apply to schools that charge a fee would be the epitome of penny-wise /pound foolish.

I agree with a lot of what you have to post and we agree more than we disagree, but this is just not correct.  My son was solicited to apply to several not-private, and not-lackluster public schools for free last year (University of Utah and Colorado School of Mines off the top of my head, but I'm sure there were more).  Come to think of it those two also waived their essay requirements.  He never would've applied but-for the free application (and more importantly no essay), but Mines actually ended up being one of his top two choices.

Blanket statements are always wrong and all that.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Juslookin on August 18, 2017, 05:07:20 PM
- The only schools that offer no fee applications are the small, lackluster private schools.  The state schools, which are much stronger academic options and tend to cost about 1/3 as much in the long run NEVER offer no-fee applications ... well, except vouchers to low-income kids, and that's a whole different topic.  Why don't the state schools offer no-fee options?  Because they don't have to!  They know that they can fill their freshman class (plus more) and collect a ridiculous amount of money just for looking at the application -- so they do.  It's a big money maker for them. Anyway, refusing to apply to schools that charge a fee would be the epitome of penny-wise /pound foolish

I agree with a lot of what you have to post and we agree more than we disagree, but this is just not correct.  My son was solicited to apply to several not-private, and not-lackluster public schools for free last year (University of Utah and Colorado School of Mines off the top of my head, but I'm sure there were more).  Come to think of it those two also waived their essay requirements.  He never would've applied but-for the free application (and more importantly no essay), but Mines actually ended up being one of his top two choices.

Blanket statements are always wrong and all that.

I would also respectfully disagree Mrs Pete, by this time last year my son had applied and been accepted to his college of choice. He applied to a state school which waived the application fees for anyone who applied before Sept 1 and took a tour. He was accepted before the first day of school his senior year. You may have a great deal of knowledge with the schools in your immediate vicinity, but your statements do not apply in our area.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: MrsPete on August 18, 2017, 10:21:15 PM
Oh shoot, in trying to respond to multiple comments, I just managed to replace my last post with a new one.  Definitely time for me to go to sleep.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Cranky on August 19, 2017, 05:38:37 AM
MrsPete thanks for the awesome input.  It is all good for most situations but my experience in the past had some differences to clarify. 

I already do have another daughter in college so not my first experience, just my first experience with a student who can qualify for merit based scholarships.  Kent State has rolling admissions (which is where she went) and she had a decision and financial aid package in the first week of September last year.    The schools that have sent these streamlined applications have also indicated decision in three weeks and financial aid package in four on the paperwork and encourage applying as soon as possible.  If these were non-rolling admission colleges I would totally agree with your statements, but they are not.  These applications are waiving essays in some cases and other time consuming steps that we are fine avoiding.  These are not her dream schools, but they are her "would be fine" schools and as I said in earlier posts since she clearly had a door get a couple "yeses" under her belt she'd like to do that to make herself feel better.  Also first day of school has begun here, so they are well past schedule development and such. 

In our school the counselors move with the students, meaning she has had the same counselor since freshman year, and she has been very, very upset with his help (or lack thereof) many times over her high school career, so that is part of the background here as well.  I do not think he's intentionally forming barriers (nor did I say that, he just added that on his own) but I do have questions about, let's say, his competence.  For regular apps I've already told them we'll follow the process if needed, which I have since found out after it escalated through the unit 12 principal to the entire high school principal (yes our school is that darn big that there are five principals but only two counselors at each grade level for class sizes of 900) that the program actually will not really do what the counselor claimed it would do, so it kind of verifies my concern of competence.  I would not have engaged as I did had I not had this background of past shortcomings. 

It also turned out that even though counselor used the word "required" with regard to Naviance (which is what irked me) one of the principals included this in their reply, "While we encourage our students to use Naviance for the college application process if you find alternatives to Naviance more beneficial I would encourage you to explore those options. "  So yes, a communication problem existed as well.  In fairness to the counselor I have tried to be open minded.  We logged into Naviance last night with my daughter and found very clearly on the site that it is intended to "identify skills and competencies to help you choose a college major".  Nowhere did I find any reference to applications, and it does not appear the program does anything of the kind.

Just looking at Naviance's website, it seems like it designed to work with the Common App? And I'm guessing that the school uses it to send out transcripts.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: mxt0133 on August 19, 2017, 10:26:18 PM
Maybe, this will be useful for someone.  Moral of the story you have to ask to get, on in this case apply.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/08/18/need-money-college-heres-how-makegabrielle-mccormick-earned-150-000-scholarships-heres-how-she-did-i/559957001/ (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/08/18/need-money-college-heres-how-makegabrielle-mccormick-earned-150-000-scholarships-heres-how-she-did-i/559957001/)
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on August 21, 2017, 10:40:19 AM
Maybe, this will be useful for someone.  Moral of the story you have to ask to get, on in this case apply.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/08/18/need-money-college-heres-how-makegabrielle-mccormick-earned-150-000-scholarships-heres-how-she-did-i/559957001/ (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/08/18/need-money-college-heres-how-makegabrielle-mccormick-earned-150-000-scholarships-heres-how-she-did-i/559957001/)
The article is interesting but was disappointed to see that the website she has built is one of those "pay me to help you find scholarships" that I've seen several posters indicate we should stay away from.  I will need to see if the scholarship search provide anything  we can use, but even the Free Resources link takes you to things that are not free.  I clicked on the toolkit link on the free page and at the bottom if is $27 down from $47 to get the toolkit, so it just was not was I was hoping for.  Just figured I'd share what I found.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Pigeon on August 21, 2017, 11:07:36 AM
Note that many colleges will deduct any private scholarships right off the top from any grants they might be giving you.  If that's the case, they may do you little or no good.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Michael in ABQ on August 21, 2017, 01:00:29 PM
Haven't seen much mention of this but joining the National Guard is a pretty effective way to pay for college. Many colleges offer tuition discounts/waivers for military members (though some are only applicable to veterans who have deployed) as well as in-state tuition. Tuition assistance will cover the cost of tuition at most public colleges, though a private school might exceed their limit of $250/credit hour. You also get 36 months of GI Bill benefits. There are multiple types of GI Bill benefits ranging from one that pays a few hundred dollars per month (deposited directly into your account, can cover living expenses, etc.) to ones that go directly to the school but include a stipend for books as well as a housing allowance. The active duty version provides a lot higher benefits than the one available for Reserves/National Guard but you have to serve a few years on active duty which is obviously a much greater commitment than basic training, AIT, one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Plus you'll be earning a few hundred dollars a month from going to drill and about $1,200 for annual training. I make considerably more than that now as an officer with 14 years of service but I heard a guy recently say he made about $1,300 at annual training.

I was lucky/unlucky in that as soon as I finished AIT and started my sophomore year of college I was mobilized and deployed. It was a pretty short and easy deployment as I was serving as a replacement since my unit had already been in theater for most of their year-long deployment. I saved up about $12-15k during that time as my expenses were very minimal. When I got back it was the middle of the semester but I was able to attend a community college that was on quarters and finish up three lower level classes that transferred over. When I started again I was considered independent for FAFSA purposes and with an income of only about $4,000 a year from the National Guard I qualified for the maximum amount of grants. I stupidly took some subsidized loans as well which I only recently (10 years later) finished paying off. They mostly went to maintaining a higher standard of living than was necessary and some bad investments (financial stocks in 2006 that lost 70%+ of their value by 2009).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 19, 2017, 09:47:20 AM
So update.  DD retook her ACT and just got here results.  Jumped up from a 29 to a 33.  Thinking that should make some significant difference in her offers.  I guess we'll see.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: historienne on September 19, 2017, 10:16:28 AM
So update.  DD retook her ACT and just got here results.  Jumped up from a 29 to a 33.  Thinking that should make some significant difference in her offers.  I guess we'll see.

That should make a huge difference.  I teach at a major private research university, with an acceptance rate around 12 percent, and our median ACT score is somewhere around 32.5.  A 33 will be well above average at many less-selective schools, which should translate into financial aid offers.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Case on September 20, 2017, 05:49:36 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 (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.

Dude, you dont know what you are talking about.  Chemical industry is absolutely moving in the direction of requiring a phd if you want to do higher level work.  And yes, you need the degree to compete.  There is a surplus of PhDs in the market.  Your daughter will be competing with PhDs for the job.

A phd is actually not entirely book larnin, but a ton of lab research.  E.g. What you will do in the job.
You have a lot of ideas of how you think things should be, but not many about reality.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on September 20, 2017, 05:53:52 AM
So update.  DD retook her ACT and just got here results.  Jumped up from a 29 to a 33.  Thinking that should make some significant difference in her offers.  I guess we'll see.

This is awesome -- congrats to your DD!  Glad her extra effort paid off (good life lesson, eh?).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 20, 2017, 06:21:15 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 (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.

Dude, you dont know what you are talking about.  Chemical industry is absolutely moving in the direction of requiring a phd if you want to do higher level work.  And yes, you need the degree to compete.  There is a surplus of PhDs in the market.  Your daughter will be competing with PhDs for the job.

A phd is actually not entirely book larnin, but a ton of lab research.  E.g. What you will do in the job.
You have a lot of ideas of how you think things should be, but not many about reality.
OK, except you just validated what I said.  High level positions need a PhD.  Never disputed that.  My point was you can get a job in any field without a PhD, just everyone figures the only job worth having is the one at the top, and that ends up feeding this ludicrous desire to feel like you have to go to school for another 12 years to step foot in a job.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Case on September 20, 2017, 07:44:59 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 (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.

Dude, you dont know what you are talking about.  Chemical industry is absolutely moving in the direction of requiring a phd if you want to do higher level work.  And yes, you need the degree to compete.  There is a surplus of PhDs in the market.  Your daughter will be competing with PhDs for the job.

A phd is actually not entirely book larnin, but a ton of lab research.  E.g. What you will do in the job.
You have a lot of ideas of how you think things should be, but not many about reality.
OK, except you just validated what I said.  High level positions need a PhD.  Never disputed that.  My point was you can get a job in any field without a PhD, just everyone figures the only job worth having is the one at the top, and that ends up feeding this ludicrous desire to feel like you have to go to school for another 12 years to step foot in a job.

You bring up a good and valid point.  There also shouldn't be a negative stigma on 'lower level' jobs.
But you also state that "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.".  This statement is false.  You don't need to not have an advanced degree in order to know how to get work done.  I think what you're trying to imply is that there are a lot of things that are better learned through one-the-job experience, built up over decades.  This is sometimes absolutely true.  But you also need to be open to the possibility that sometimes it's not.  It's not unheard of (or even uncommon) for businesses to have been doing things "how its always been done" and then a fresh set of eyes (maybe a young PhD) comes in and realizes a critical problem which changes everything.  I'm going to speculate that you harbor these opinions because you yourself or people you know have worked hard the old-fashioned way, and feel threatened by the 'new lazy generations'.  I think it's important to realize that while there is validity in that sort of viewpoint, it also contains false stereotypes which may not accurately reflect the optimal way to get shit done.

Just so that all the information is on the table:
It is true that in chemical lab research, non-PhD's often get put into 'technician' roles where they do simpler tasks and don't get to engage their brains as much.  They will typically perform tasks designed by the PhDs.  These technician roles are important and should be valued (not looked down upon), but there are some consequences to this.  One is salary; their career trajectory is significantly different.  Roughly expect 40-80K salary range over a career (in today's dollars) for a technician.  For the PhD, expect 80K - 150K, and if they do exceptionally well it can go beyond that.  Another factor to consider is automation (robots).  The chemical industry started using robots to aid in the research process maybe 20-30 years ago.  It is becoming more widespread.  I don't know if this will eventually result in lower-level job elimination, but it is a factor to consider.  So far, I would not say the need for technicians is less; they are often used to run the robots.
Finally, there absolutely is a need for high quality 'technicians' that work under the direction of the PhDs.  Finding hard-working, smart, people with good lab hands is invaluable, and certainly in demand.  My company has lost good technicians before, and it is hard to replace them.  I think it is likely that being hard-working, smart, and pro-active will help anyone on any career track.

You can go a lot further on non-PhD education levels by being an engineer.  There are also particular sub-fields of chemistry where it is more possible (discussed environmental science in a previous thread; there are others as well, but I don't think biochemical research is one of them).  If your daughter might be interested in a different path (then biochemical lab research), it might be worth indicating to her that they might be more lucrative.

Your daughter might also be able to start out as a lab tech and transition out of research into parts of the industry where PhD's don't matter (e.g. business, supply chain, etc, marketing, etc...).  Just want to give the heads up that there is a risk of being pigeon-holed.  This is why there IS a risk when you don't get the PhD at the start.

You seem to be making the argument that careers require decades of invest (blood sweat and tears); They might, they might not.  I would argue that the PhD part IS the blood, sweat and tears.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: sjc0816 on September 21, 2017, 11:03:43 AM
My kids are still 6 and 9 years away from starting college but this is our plan:

Save $30,000 to cover the one-year overlap that both kids will be in college at the same time. Cash flow the rest. We are estimating on the high side that we will need to cash-flow 2k per month in tuition and expenses (24k per year tuition and room and board at state flagship -- this is 5k more than it is now...to reflect increase) for seven years.

My parents have told us they will be covering our boys' tuition, but I'm not counting on this. We are aggressively saving for retirement currently so we will easily be able to pull back on that amount if needed to cover college (but doubt we will need to - we live extremely frugal). DH makes 130k per year...I freelance now making about 20k and plan to be back full-time while they are in highschool/college to direct all of those funds to college expenses.

I think it's easier to cash flow college with only two kids and not much overlap. We have told our kids that we will only be paying for a 4 year university under certain conditions: specific academic focus (if uncertain, then CC), high achievement in high school (if not, then CC).
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 22, 2017, 12:41:28 PM
You bring up a good and valid point.  There also shouldn't be a negative stigma on 'lower level' jobs.
But you also state that "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.".  This statement is false.  You don't need to not have an advanced degree in order to know how to get work done.  I think what you're trying to imply is that there are a lot of things that are better learned through one-the-job experience, built up over decades.  This is sometimes absolutely true.  But you also need to be open to the possibility that sometimes it's not.  It's not unheard of (or even uncommon) for businesses to have been doing things "how its always been done" and then a fresh set of eyes (maybe a young PhD) comes in and realizes a critical problem which changes everything.  I'm going to speculate that you harbor these opinions because you yourself or people you know have worked hard the old-fashioned way, and feel threatened by the 'new lazy generations'.  I think it's important to realize that while there is validity in that sort of viewpoint, it also contains false stereotypes which may not accurately reflect the optimal way to get shit done.

Just so that all the information is on the table:
It is true that in chemical lab research, non-PhD's often get put into 'technician' roles where they do simpler tasks and don't get to engage their brains as much.  They will typically perform tasks designed by the PhDs.  These technician roles are important and should be valued (not looked down upon), but there are some consequences to this.  One is salary; their career trajectory is significantly different.  Roughly expect 40-80K salary range over a career (in today's dollars) for a technician.  For the PhD, expect 80K - 150K, and if they do exceptionally well it can go beyond that.  Another factor to consider is automation (robots).  The chemical industry started using robots to aid in the research process maybe 20-30 years ago.  It is becoming more widespread.  I don't know if this will eventually result in lower-level job elimination, but it is a factor to consider.  So far, I would not say the need for technicians is less; they are often used to run the robots.
Finally, there absolutely is a need for high quality 'technicians' that work under the direction of the PhDs.  Finding hard-working, smart, people with good lab hands is invaluable, and certainly in demand.  My company has lost good technicians before, and it is hard to replace them.  I think it is likely that being hard-working, smart, and pro-active will help anyone on any career track.

You can go a lot further on non-PhD education levels by being an engineer.  There are also particular sub-fields of chemistry where it is more possible (discussed environmental science in a previous thread; there are others as well, but I don't think biochemical research is one of them).  If your daughter might be interested in a different path (then biochemical lab research), it might be worth indicating to her that they might be more lucrative.

Your daughter might also be able to start out as a lab tech and transition out of research into parts of the industry where PhD's don't matter (e.g. business, supply chain, etc, marketing, etc...).  Just want to give the heads up that there is a risk of being pigeon-holed.  This is why there IS a risk when you don't get the PhD at the start.

You seem to be making the argument that careers require decades of invest (blood sweat and tears); They might, they might not.  I would argue that the PhD part IS the blood, sweat and tears.
OK, but a lot of this seems to stem from living life and making finite decisions on an infinite number of  "what ifs".  Will low level jobs eventually be eliminated?  Maybe, but hedging your bets on that by choosing to get a PhD is only one way to "cover" that, if it should be covered at all.  If I had listened to people who were telling me in the 80s when I was getting trained in computers that we were shortly going to have a paperless office and made my decisions based on that I'd have wasted a ton of money.  If those jobs start to go away, then go get extra education then to be able to take the high level jobs.  These jobs are not going to vanish in a two week or even a two year time frame.  They will phase out over 5-10 years, which leave anyone plenty of time to go back and spend 2 years on a PhD.  Robots are the same thing.  I've been in manufacturing most of my career, and while robots have eliminated jobs the pace was massively slower than the predictions.  I'm still waiting for my flying car that the Jetsons and everyone else convinced me I'd have as commonplace by 1980.

I disagree that any level of schooling is blood, sweat and tears.  Until you actually achieve something and contribute to a larger result (and I do understand PhD research is doing some of that, but the short time frame is far from blood, sweat and tears) over a large chunk of time expecting to be rewarded for just getting a piece of paper is the fallacy.  I'm making the argument that expecting to come of schooling and making the highest pay levels of the industry works if you have the right combination of luck and company, but if you do that there is no place to go but down.  If you get out of school and make $1 million when that job ends (possibly because they are overpaying candidates who have a PhD but no proven ability to turn that learning into actual profit for an organization) trying to find the next $1 million dollar job is not easy.  It's why in any field that has in essence an apprenticeship track (tool andn die maker, chemist etc.) you can't start on the top rung and maintain an upward trajectory.  Do some?  Yes.  But I'm not going to sell my kid on a pipe dream and watch them fall on their face.  Hard work is still by far the best driver of success.  Being smart, focusing intensely on a very small field of specialty, like a PhD does creates a lot more pigeon holing that starting our broad and then specializing once you know where you want to go seems much more satisfying. 

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on September 23, 2017, 06:31:03 AM
I am not going to argue in favor of a phd, because I am not sure it was the best path I could have taken, but diminishing the amount of work it takes is ridiculous. For me, it was only secondary to having and raising a kid. And it's certainly not the best path for everyone, and certainly not if your goal is to save money and retire early.
But I am sorry, a phd does not take 2 years!!! An average phd takes over 8 years (I just looked it up)! In technical sciences and engineering closer to 5, but it's still not something you just do casually.
It's nothing like a job where you show up do your stuff and go home. And you do have to do something to contribute to a larger result. On your own! This is the whole point. You have to contribute something 'novel and important to a body of scientific knowledge". This is what you are judged on.  If you are not deemed to have done that, you have to go back and do some more work.  This is what the "defense" of a phd is all about.
It's not just coming up with a way to produce a slightly better way to produce a widget, but you have to do something no one has done, you are trained to know more about a specific field than anyone else, and then advance it. I am very ambivalent about my own phd, but to say its not blood sweat and tears can only be said by someone who completely does not understand the process, and doesn't care to.
It's exactly like an apprenticeship. You start at the bottom and take those years with your mentor to learn everything there is to know about a very narrow area of knowledge, but then at the end you have to push it even further and create something that hasn't been done before. Sure, it may not be something physical (although it could be depending on the subject), but it by definition has to be something that moves human knowledge forward.
I think this is the first time in 7 years since I got my phd that I have said anything positive about it. Ha!
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on September 23, 2017, 09:51:26 AM
Ok, so, caracarn, I have no clue whether your DD should or shouldn't get a Ph.D.  But what I would hate to happen is for you to intentionally direct her away from that kind of path if it turns out to be the right one for her.  You clearly value "real world" experience over book learning, and your disdain for advanced degrees bleeds through many of your posts.  That affects your kids.

It is very true that your DD can get a basic degree in a reasonable field and get a job that will allow her to support herself.  But there are also career paths that do require advanced training and degrees.  Frequently, these careers pay significantly more than what you get with a bachelors.  And many of these fields are not set up for kids to work for several years and then go back to school -- sure, if you want an MBA or JD, that works, but it is a lot harder to do for an MD or MS/Ph.D. 

But the really good news about those careers where a Ph.D is beneficial is that many schools will pay you to get the degree.* But you're likely not going to get that if you decide to go back after working for several years -- these schools are recruiting from the college ranks.  So if you push her to get a job right after college and then go back for the Ph.D, that could actually cost her a lot more than going straight through.

So the good news is that you as dad won't need to worry about the money if your DD does decide to go into a field where a Ph.D opens up more opportunities.  If she doesn't want to do that, then fine, no reason whatsoever to push her in that direction.  Just please don't let your disdain for advanced degrees discourage her from a path that might actually end up being very beneficial for her in the long-term.

I think the "right" message -- at least, the message I am giving my own kids -- is that our responsibility ends with college, and that after that they're on their own.  So better look for a degree that will allow you to support yourself in the style to which you'd like to become accustomed; and if that involves an advanced degree, better do well enough undergrad for people to throw money at you to continue your studies.

*I am assuming based on prior discussions that we are talking about science/tech/engineering fields, which is the only area in which I have some knowledge.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on September 23, 2017, 12:08:10 PM
But you're likely not going to get that if you decide to go back after working for several years -- these schools are recruiting from the college ranks.  So if you push her to get a job right after college and then go back for the Ph.D, that could actually cost her a lot more than going straight through.

This has not been true in my experience of my very small sub discipline of engineering. I myself worked in industry for 6 years before going back to school and had multiple offers of a paid tuition and a pretty good research assistantship (pretty good compared to friends in other sciences, and definitely compared to friends not in sciences who most often don't get anything, but very shitty for an actual engineer).

Most professors I have worked with since, have been very eager to take on people with prior work experience as their trainees.
Also, in my experience, it is the professor that picks you, not the school, because they pay you out of their grant money, not the school's money.  Which is why I likened it to an apprenticeship.  If someone is leary of taking on people with work experience, well, that probably wouldn't be a good match for anyone who doesn't want to go on to be a professor for many reasons.

I wish people who went through different apprenticeship programs felt more of a kinship with phds, because it's a very similar process. It's not like people who get medical or law or business degrees at all where you just study and take tests.

None of this really to say what your daughter should do. And sorry for going out on a tangent.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Laura33 on September 24, 2017, 09:24:11 AM
@me1:  thanks for the clarification - I guess there is a lot of variability here. 

But I would still hate for caracarn's daughter to think a Ph.D is off the table/bad/whatever if it turns out she would really do well in that particular area and be able to get funding for it.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: GizmoTX on September 24, 2017, 10:06:37 AM
Many universities have 4+1 programs to award a Master's degree in 1 year rather than 2, which dramatically reduces the actual as well as opportunity cost of the degree. The student must apply in the junior year & have outstanding grades, as the program offers dual credit for several graduate courses taken during the student's senior year, which must all be B+ or better. DS did this to keep his options open, & decided to do the 5th year for a MSEE after being chosen as a graduate TA that paid all his graduate year tuition & fees plus a monthly stipend. (He knew that monetary support from us stopped after his undergrad graduation.) He had several excellent corporate job offers in hand by his last semester, so it already paid off.

If a PhD is required for a career path rather than the Masters, then the Masters is often folded into the PhD program concurrently; it's not a separate step & 4+1 wouldn't apply. But there should be university money available for a talented student.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 25, 2017, 07:54:49 AM
Thanks for all the added input.

Not sure if you are really looking for clarification, but it's not that I have disdain for advanced degrees.  I get they take work.  I was pressing against the "you must go get a PhD to get a job in science".  I also will concede I have no idea and am an outsider to advanced study in hard sciences, but this just logically seems absurd to me.  Again, I get that to do "great work" you need it.  To put your mind at ease Laura, my guidance to my DD has always been that; I don't know what she needs and she should contact people in the field she'd like to work in to find out what they demand.  Sadly like any high schooler, the initiative seems to have stopped there as I think she is intimidated with that prospect, but I would not have a clue what to ask or who to contact.  I figured she'd figure this out as she gets into the field of study and will have to figure out if she needs/can afford a way to get the advanced degree.  Just in her talking about what she envisions as her job she's not sounding to me like it is anything challenging and earth shaking, so it just does not seem like she has the motivation at this time to press for the PhD.  Given the workload mentioned of 5+ years above and beyond a bachelor's I do not see that in her temperament at this point. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Paul der Krake on September 25, 2017, 08:04:01 AM
Are you guys seriously discussing the post-doc prospects of someone who has yet to sign up for freshman classes?
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 25, 2017, 08:28:26 AM
Are you guys seriously discussing the post-doc prospects of someone who has yet to sign up for freshman classes?
Seems to be.  The thread took that shift a while back as many were indicating she could likely not get a job without an advanced degree in the field. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: farmecologist on September 25, 2017, 08:46:28 AM
Are you guys seriously discussing the post-doc prospects of someone who has yet to sign up for freshman classes?
Seems to be.  The thread took that shift a while back as many were indicating she could likely not get a job without an advanced degree in the field.

Yes, I'd say the thread took a massive shift. 

I tried to make that point that...you know...most families actually do have to pay for college?  And that the majority of that comes from saving, loans, and NOT from scholarships.   

I get the feeling here that some here think that enough 'scholarships are out there' to pay for a majority of the cost.  That is certainly not the case.  Sure, most kids get a token scholarship or two...but BIG scholarships are few and far between.  If everyone got a big nearly-full-ride scholarship then it would basically be 'free college for all' like Bernie was touting.  We are not there yet.  I'm too lazy right now to look it up...but the percentage of students that get a full-ride or nearly-full-ride is very, very low.

Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: CheapScholar on September 25, 2017, 06:06:28 PM
I think this is the new world we live in.  I teach college freshmen and they already have ideas of what graduate school they want to go to and they know what kind of test scores and resume builders they will need to get accepted. 
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: me1 on September 25, 2017, 07:12:12 PM
Thanks for all the added input.

Not sure if you are really looking for clarification, but it's not that I have disdain for advanced degrees.  I get they take work.  I was pressing against the "you must go get a PhD to get a job in science".  I also will concede I have no idea and am an outsider to advanced study in hard sciences, but this just logically seems absurd to me.  Again, I get that to do "great work" you need it.  To put your mind at ease Laura, my guidance to my DD has always been that; I don't know what she needs and she should contact people in the field she'd like to work in to find out what they demand.  Sadly like any high schooler, the initiative seems to have stopped there as I think she is intimidated with that prospect, but I would not have a clue what to ask or who to contact.  I figured she'd figure this out as she gets into the field of study and will have to figure out if she needs/can afford a way to get the advanced degree.  Just in her talking about what she envisions as her job she's not sounding to me like it is anything challenging and earth shaking, so it just does not seem like she has the motivation at this time to press for the PhD.  Given the workload mentioned of 5+ years above and beyond a bachelor's I do not see that in her temperament at this point.

As the main culprit of taking this thread way off course (but with best of intentions, really), I still think finding her someone to talk to would be really helpful, before she even gets into it. My intention in explaining how a phd works and the kinds of jobs you can get without one was just to share what I have learned along the way.  I went into a phd not really knowing what options there existed for a career after one. And I certainly didn't know the very niche industry I currently work in even existed until about 3 years ago when I randomly stumbled on it. But it turned out that through my many meanderings I somehow ended up with a perfect background for it. I just wish I knew this and it could have taken me a lot less time to get here. And would likely already be retired...

So I guess when I hear about a nerdy science high school girl, I relate, and I want to help the younger me out.
I still think searching for people who work in the fields I was interested in to talk to is something I wish I had done, or had an opportunity to do. I bet the american chemical society has some kind of outreach, mentoring program. I know SWE (society of women engineers) is big into that. That's where I would start looking... different professional societies mentoring programs

And for the record I don't think anyone needs to plan for a phd in high school. I certainly didn't. It's just good to be informed about all the options.

Or maybe she can just figure it out like the rest of us.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: caracarn on September 26, 2017, 07:44:41 AM
Thanks for the society pointers.  Not knowing who to reach out to is certainly part of the problem.  I had suggested a few of the big pharma companies, but no idea if they even have people with the major she is interested in.  Just assuming they did, but no idea how hard it would be to get someone's attention there.

I do think the mentoring thing is an excellent idea, just hoping we can find a connection or two for her.
Title: Re: How to pay for kid's college?
Post by: Car Jack on September 26, 2017, 09:24:31 AM
You ask how to pay.  In my case, I have one in a private Northeast engineering college to the tune of $65k and another who has learning disabilities and is a high school to the tune of $56k.  My college son gets Stafford loans ($7500 a year at 3rd year and on).  I make nowhere near the $190k that the OP makes.  How do we pay?

We saved early.  We are older parents.  Our older son was born when I was 39.  So we're more established, I guess.  We've always been savers and at the point where I didn't know what to do with all our extra money, I started buying savings bonds.  These have turned out to be a great investment as we've sold them off paying no tax at all because they're used for educational expenses.

My mom and wife's dad are both widowed and in their 80's.  They've figured out that they don't have 50 more years to live and I've shown them the IRS code that allows them to pay college bills directly.  This does an end run around the $14k per person gift without an IRS gift form.  They both like that because they don't want any government knowing what they're doing with their money.  Both have helped every year with money towards tuition.

529:  We don't have one.  It's considered a parent asset, so that works against you.  But....my parents set up 529s for both my kids.  Since we get zip in aid, we started pulling that money out for my older son, transferred my younger son's one to the older and will drain that early next year (my mom wants to simplify and that will do it).  Of course, we know that a non-parent 529, when used is considered student income, which is the worst form of income and counts 50%.

Community College and Transfers.  I've done both.  My son also transferred.  Some things you need to know going in.  Transfer credits: Find out from the college transferring in to what credits transfer over.  I have a 2 year associates degree and exactly one course (an English) transferred.  So don't assume you'll save money.  I did a full 4 years for my BSEE. 

Transfers and Merit aid:  Look in your 4 year school's financial aid section.  Every school I've looked at says "Merit aid is NOT offered to transfer students".  This is very important to know.  It can absolutely kill the savings from doing 2 years of community college.  My son's first year was at a lower level engineering college where he received $11k a year for 4 years in merit aid.  At the new school (which is more expensive but far, far more rigorous....a much better school), he gets zip.

Seek out a college below the level of the student.  If she might get into MIT or Stanford, then maybe a Virginia Tech or UMass Lowell or lower level private college is the way to go.  Why?  She'd be a big fish grades wise in a small pond college level wise and they're more likely to give her more merit aid.

Make the applications and see what's offered.  FAFSA won't tell you everything, especially with private colleges.  As one seminar told me, the level where you get aid at a public college is pretty easy to meet.  But they have no money.  It's harder at private colleges, but they have tons of money.

Odd activity scholarships:  Crew (as in rowing).  This is the way to maximize an athletic scholarship.  There are a million students looking to become a varsity football/lacrosse/soccer/tennis athlete on a scholarship.  Crew is few and far between.  My son's girlfriend is on a crew scholarship, has been injured the last 2 years and pays half what we pay. 

For FAFSA, understand that the baseline is the official government poverty line.  Anything above that is available to pay for college. 

Co-ops can help but that's student income, so 50% of it will go towards reducing any aid she gets.

ROTC is probably the way to go.  That or get on the good side of your Senator and have her go into one of the Military Academies. 

Pay it forward:  Perhaps have an understanding with all of your kids:  Once you graduate, we expect you will help pay for each of your siblings when they hit college.