How much is too much to pay for a basic college degree?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
How much is too much to pay for a basic college degree?
23
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 2:39pm

Hi, I haven't been on this board in a while. I have two high school seniors, so you can probably understand why! Anyway, I would appreciate some feedback on a situation.

First of all, my daughter (and son as well) is going to inherit a large sum of money in September when she turns 18, which she knows will be her college fund. She is an excellent student and applied to three prestigious colleges. All of them accepted her and offered her nice scholarships.

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Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
What public U can you attend for under 15k? In Illinois the cheapest public U is Northern and that runs 25k a year room and board. I say shop around, my dd received a lot of bigger scholarship offers from small schools and nothing from state schools. Just because a school has a big price tag doesn't mean it is out of range. I say apply and see what happens!!!

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998

Most kids we know these days go where the money is. For some kids, they get the best deals at public universities (and California has many really great public universities.) For some kids, their best deals are coming from private schools. It really depends on what their background is and their chosen field.

I think how much you spend and whether you go to a "notable" school for a major or not depends largely on the major and what the earning potential of that degree could be. My own DD wants to be a stage director and had always planned on going to a notable (and crazy expensive) school. However, she's recently has had the opportunity to talk to many high level professionals (broadway, off-broadway directors.) They all encourage her to go to schools with quality but smaller theatre departments because that is where she'll be given the most opportunity to actually practice her craft. If she goes to a notable school, she'll have a nice degree but far less practical experience. Go for the name when you go for your masters. In the end though, in this field, practical experience, your talent, who you know, your body of work trumps where you graduated from every time. They also encouraged her not to take on more school debt than she has to because it can take awhile to establish yourself in the field and make enough to pay it off. Our DD is looking into state schools now. I could have told her all this as I was a theatre major and professional stage manager but she really needed to hear it from others lol.

Obviously, your DD is in a different field and I don't honestly know that much about it. Plus, it sounds like she won't need to worry about the debt issue. I highly reccomend she start talking to professionals in her field of interest though. They may totally agree with her or they might surprise her.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2012
the inheritence will run out quickly..ask any student living away from home...after a few months they FINALLY begin to relaize how expensive it is...even if they have had a leg up the first year or two~!
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

Just to answer your question--no, it's not too late to apply to other colleges, especially those with a larger enrollment, but most colleges want the app for regular admission in between 1/1 and 3/1--the earlier, the better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998

I completely agree.

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

I don't think that all Bachelor's degrees are the same at all. That being said, the costs have to be weighed against your earnings and where you want to go to grad school. I will say that a business degree, so you can network, the more prestigious college may be worth it. If you are studying some thing that is a specialty at the college. Again it may be worth it. But, if you are studying something that is unlikely to land you into a high paying job, where you need to network or work with a leader in your field that happens to work in that college, then it probably is not worth it.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
You make a very good point about being happy in her environment.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Great idea. Thanks!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
I really like your advice about using a portion of the money for the undergrad degree - at a less prestigious school - and putting the rest away until she really had a handle on what she wants to do. I am wondering, though...at this point...is it too late to apply to other schools for the coming fall?
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Thanks for the info - I need to check out that other board, and I appreciate the link to the article on careers.

As for the money, it is out of my hands (her dad passed away and the money was his dad's, and the way things were set up, it goes straight to her when she turns 18). However, she will be starting college before she turns 18, so I plan on funding the first semester, startup costs, etc.

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