Scared of Money

This is about getting the most out of life for the least amount of money. And doing it with a bit of style.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

How Much is A Private Education Worth?

I went to a top 25 University and have about $14,000-$15,000 in debt with about 12 years to go. It equates to about $115 a month, which is very affordable all things considering. Do I think my private education helped me get a better job? Nope. Most of the other students I work with went to a state school. Did the brand name of my school get me a larger salary? Nope.

So was it worth it? Would I do it all over again if I had the chance? With out a doubt. I think I was pushed much harder than I ever would have been at a state school because of my professors and because of my peers. My school's values have translated to my own values, and I think that after 4 years there, I left a better person. With that said, I think you can get a phenomenal education no matter where you go if you take advantage of the resources offered to you. I also read that those who attend Ivy Leagues aren't successful because they attended an Ivy League school. They are successful because the traits that got them into Ivy Leagues are the traits that make you succeed in life.

The reason behind this post? I was reading an article from The New York Times on how parents are letting kids pay for college and several quotes really struck me.

Alexandra Baldari and her parents have talked a good deal over the past year about how to pay for her college education, and the upshot is this: If she enrolls at the University of Miami in the fall, she will bear much of the cost, which could total $40,000 or more a year, on her own.

Ms. Baldari's parents earn about $100,000 a year, but her mother, Anne Angelopoulos, said little is left after paying for housing, three cars, gas, food and utilities, as well as saving to contribute to Ms. Baldari's 11-year-old brother's education. Ms. Baldari's parents prepaid for her to attend a public university in Florida, but she does not want to go to a public institution.


So is the University of Miami worth being almost $160,000 in debt rather than going to the University of Florida? Will Alexandra really receive an ROI on her education worth going that far into debt? I doubt it.

Still, some students say they are unwilling to let financial constraints dictate where they go to college. Thomas W. Dillon, 20, of Warwick, R.I., decided to go to the University of Connecticut over the University of Rhode Island, where his parents would have covered tuition, and faces tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

"The way I see it is, I only get to go to college once," Mr. Dillon said. "If I have to pay an extra $20,000 a year, that's what I have to do."

Whoa. But not once does the article spell out what that will cost Thomas in payments, or how much more can he expect to earn from attending the University of Connecticut. I'm sorry but 18-year-olds can not fathom how much debt this really is. I know I didn't. It should be illegal to allow students to incur more than $40,000 in student loans with out providing direction on how this will affect their financial well being for the rest of their life.

Would my undergraduate degree be worth it if I was now $100,000 in debt? Not so much.

Others? Did you go to a private or public university? Any regrets?

2 Comments:

At Mon Apr 10, 01:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger freedumb said...

It was a tough decision for me...I ended up going to state university, but I still question whether I made the right choice...I barely understood debt, but I knew that $160K was A LOT. In my circumstance, I would do the same thing again...but I think no matter what, I would still ponder what if, even if it were the other way around.

 
At Tue Apr 11, 07:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger mapgirl said...

I went to a private school and university on financial aid. It's actually not that hard to qualify for aid, so it's always worth filling out the FAFSA. Schools can give wildly varying packages to the same family off the same numbers.

I used to regret my choice of a private college when I was paying off my student loans, but going to a mega-institution like Penn State was absolutely out of the question for me and I was left with going to a smaller private institution.

Now among my choices, I regret not going to my top choice school even though the gave me the second best financial aid package. I got pressured into taking the best deal and that might have been the biggest mistake of all.

 

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