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40% turn down top choice due to costs


8filltheheart
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https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/23/study-shows-how-price-sensitive-students-are-selecting-colleges

 

I don't think this is really news to anyone, but I thought it might be encouraging if anyone feels like they are letting their student down by not sacrificing their financial security bc they are opting to not send them to too an expensive option.

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I believe it. Unless you're poor enough to qualify for free tuition or rich enough to easily afford "sticker price", you're probably going to be taking cost into consideration.

 

It's sad because not that long ago a much greater percent of college-bound families could afford to minimize or even ignore cost as a consideration. My DH makes more in inflation-adjusted dollars than my dad did but tuition at my alma mater has gone up way faster than incomes have. I had to choose between graduating in 3 years vs. taken out a small amount of loans to afford a 4th (I chose the former, my brothers chose the latter). The amount my parents spent would now only cover a little over 1 year.

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We are having these conversations right now.

 

We will have 2 in college at once.  We just won't have the $$ for the expensive options.  We have encouraged them to have some dream schools they apply to and hope for some scholarships, but we have also told them not to set their hearts on anything because if the money isn't there, it isn't there.

 

In fact, we are glad we haven't told our kids the amount we were willing to spend because it may be changing due to circumstances.  We may have less to offer per year.

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Yes, I"m having this conversation with my second right now.  Finances must be taken into consideration as do many other factors. 

 

I've said that he doesn't necessarily have to go to the school that meets the biggest need, but there needs to be a clear reason to go elsewhere and the price difference must be manageable. The cost will be taken into consideration.

 

 

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I believe it. Unless you're poor enough to qualify for free tuition or rich enough to easily afford "sticker price", you're probably going to be taking cost into consideration.

 

It's sad because not that long ago a much greater percent of college-bound families could afford to minimize or even ignore cost as a consideration. My DH makes more in inflation-adjusted dollars than my dad did but tuition at my alma mater has gone up way faster than incomes have. I had to choose between graduating in 3 years vs. taken out a small amount of loans to afford a 4th (I chose the former, my brothers chose the latter). The amount my parents spent would now only cover a little over 1 year.

 

I agree.  My school was just a lowly Cal State U, but the costs have gone up substantially more than cost of living.   My father didn't make a lot of money, but he could pay my tuition (didn't qualify for financial aid) for the first two years I went.  Then I quit, and went back more than 10 years later as a working adult, and it was affordable for me.  I looked at it a few years ago and was stunned at how high it is now.  

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The NYU story is not true. NYU does not give out merit aid to undergrads. Here's their policy:

 

New York University awards financial aid to help students meet the difference between their own resources and the cost of education. All awards are subject to availability of funds and the student's demonstrated need through required documentation. Financial aid awards may consist of scholarships, grants, loans, and/or federal work-study.

 

That casts a doubt on the rest of the article even though it makes intuitive sense.

 

Edited by chiguirre
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We did that with DS. We were uneasy about the debt because we likely couldn't help him with more than $9,000 max per year if DH retired. And indeed, DH retired in 2016, and our income dropped by 50%. We still aren't eligible for need-based aid.

 

No regrets. 

 

 

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The NYU story is not true. NYU does not give out merit aid to undergrads. Here's their policy:

 

New York University awards financial aid to help students meet the difference between their own resources and the cost of education. All awards are subject to availability of funds and the student's demonstrated need through required documentation. Financial aid awards may consist of scholarships, grants, loans, and/or federal work-study.

 

That casts a doubt on the rest of the article even though it makes intuitive sense.

 

The story says it was a few years ago and NYU DID give merit aid in the past.  I don't recall what year they switched, but there's a 2006 CC thread showing awards of $1000 - $25000 that shows up on a quick google search main page.  I see no particular reason to doubt the anecdote. 

 

I know plenty of students at our school end up choosing their final destination due to cost - including some who choose less fancy schools over fancy schools due to merit aid.  Not long ago a gal turned down Stanford (her #1 choice) to go to Wake Forest on a completely free ride.  Last I heard (from her brother), she was completely happy with her decision.

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The NYU story is not true. NYU does not give out merit aid to undergrads. Here's their policy:

 

New York University awards financial aid to help students meet the difference between their own resources and the cost of education. All awards are subject to availability of funds and the student's demonstrated need through required documentation. Financial aid awards may consist of scholarships, grants, loans, and/or federal work-study.

 

That casts a doubt on the rest of the article even though it makes intuitive sense.

 

I don't understand. Their website (under scholarships) says:

 

All students are automatically considered for academic (merit-based) scholarship with no separate application required. For financial need-based scholarships, students must submit all required financial aid applications by the deadlines. Scholarship awards are based on eligibility and the availability of funds. Most scholarships at NYU are based on a combination of need and merit and require that applicants submit their financial aid applications on time for consideration.

 

 

And elsewhere....

For most undergraduates, eligibility for a merit-based and/or need-based scholarship is determined upon entrance to the University based on prior academic strengths and, if you apply for financial aid, your demonstrated financial need. 

Edited by jewellsmommy
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I agree.  My school was just a lowly Cal State U, but the costs have gone up substantially more than cost of living.   My father didn't make a lot of money, but he could pay my tuition (didn't qualify for financial aid) for the first two years I went.  Then I quit, and went back more than 10 years later as a working adult, and it was affordable for me.  I looked at it a few years ago and was stunned at how high it is now.  

 

It costs just about the same today to send a student to one of the UC's that is not within commuting distances of us (all of them except Berkeley and Davis) as it did for my parents to send me to Stanford. No wonder it's now so difficult for state residents to get into Berkeley and UCLA.

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The discussion we've had with ds was that the highest ranked school wasn't automatically the top choice and neither was the school that was least expensive or that offered the largest discount or scholarship.

Academic program, availability of ROTC, extras like study abroad options and depth of language program matter as much as cost. It doesn't make sense to pay less for a school where he will run out of language classes or not have the type of major program he's looking for.

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I don't understand. Their website (under scholarships) says:

 

All students are automatically considered for academic (merit-based) scholarship with no separate application required. For financial need-based scholarships, students must submit all required financial aid applications by the deadlines. Scholarship awards are based on eligibility and the availability of funds. Most scholarships at NYU are based on a combination of need and merit and require that applicants submit their financial aid applications on time for consideration.

 

 

And elsewhere....

For most undergraduates, eligibility for a merit-based and/or need-based scholarship is determined upon entrance to the University based on prior academic strengths and, if you apply for financial aid, your demonstrated financial need. 

 

Thanks for adding this.  That could easily be why I don't recall when they switched - they didn't!

 

NYU is notoriously bad (for many students) with need-based aid, but I know they at least used to give merit aid.

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The discussion we've had with ds was that the highest ranked school wasn't automatically the top choice and neither was the school that was least expensive or that offered the largest discount or scholarship.

Academic program, availability of ROTC, extras like study abroad options and depth of language program matter as much as cost. It doesn't make sense to pay less for a school where he will run out of language classes or not have the type of major program he's looking for.

Cost is the major deciding factor for our family. We filtered before she applied by creating a very targeted list of schools. It didn't make sense to apply to any schools where there were no merit-based only scholarships bc we cannot afford our expected contribution. Our maximum budget, which actually still stretches our ability to pay, is about 50% of what most NPCs calculate. She made sure every school she applied to could meet her academic needs and offer her internships and/or mentoring beyond classroom experiences. Every school with the exception of two she was a strong contender for the top merit award they offered. The 2 were long shot scholarships, handful offered, unlikelies. With the exception of one school which turned out to be too far off from her personal goals, she would have been happy to attend any of them.

 

The bottom line after scholarships was definitely a major influencing factor. Room and board vs. essentially free is a big difference for our family. Rank wouldn't really enter into the decision unless the cost differential was minor.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I don't understand. Their website (under scholarships) says:

 

All students are automatically considered for academic (merit-based) scholarship with no separate application required. For financial need-based scholarships, students must submit all required financial aid applications by the deadlines. Scholarship awards are based on eligibility and the availability of funds. Most scholarships at NYU are based on a combination of need and merit and require that applicants submit their financial aid applications on time for consideration.

 

 

And elsewhere....

For most undergraduates, eligibility for a merit-based and/or need-based scholarship is determined upon entrance to the University based on prior academic strengths and, if you apply for financial aid, your demonstrated financial need. 

 

IDK, my quote is also from their website, specifically from the Stern school undergrad link.

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Unless you are wealthy, how can cost not be a factor?  I just can't imagine going into that kind of debt, particularly if there is grad school/med school/etc to follow.  I know plenty of kids who get into top end schools but choose state schools because of money.  No shame in that.  With four kids, high medical expenses, and a moderate income we happen to be in that range where a "full need met" school will not cost us more than a public school, actually it comes in a tad bit cheaper for us than our state options.  If that wasn't our case, I am pretty sure dd would be going to a state uni.  

Edited by Attolia
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The discussion we've had with ds was that the highest ranked school wasn't automatically the top choice and neither was the school that was least expensive or that offered the largest discount or scholarship.

Academic program, availability of ROTC, extras like study abroad options and depth of language program matter as much as cost. It doesn't make sense to pay less for a school where he will run out of language classes or not have the type of major program he's looking for.

 

This. I very much wanted ds to run with the cheapest choice.  We didn't. Ask me again in a few years how I feel, but right now, the decision seems to be a good one. Yes, it's more expensive than I wanted, but there are so many important things available at his final choice that did not exist at his other choices.  It is a delicate balance for many families and everyone's circumstances and reasons are different.

 

Edited by swimmermom3
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DS knew going in that his dream school might be out of our budget, and it was.  He is happy at the university he chose, and will graduate (undergrad and graduate degree) debt free.  If I had chosen to continue to work (I am a physical therapist) and not homeschool my children, we could have afforded pretty much anywhere he wanted to attend school.  But I am so glad I have been able to stay home with my children.

 

As an aside.  I was thinking about the cost of college when I went to school (28 years ago).  I went to a small private school, as did the MAJORITY of my friends.  None of us were wealthy, and most of the moms were stay-at-home moms.  The small private school I attended was just as affordable as the local public school (I did receive scholarships, but I was not a tippy-top student).  Times have changed!!!

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This. I very much wanted ds to run with the cheapest choice.  We didn't. Ask me again in a few years how I feel, but right now, the decision seems to be a good one. Yes, it's more expensive than I wanted, but there are so many important things available at his final choice that did not exist at his other choices.  It is a delicate balance for many families and everyone's circumstances and reasons are different.

 

 

 

Many times it's delicate. Sometimes it's just downright sad. I'm hoping in our case it is just delicate. 

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As an aside.  I was thinking about the cost of college when I went to school (28 years ago).  I went to a small private school, as did the MAJORITY of my friends.  None of us were wealthy, and most of the moms were stay-at-home moms.  The small private school I attended was just as affordable as the local public school (I did receive scholarships, but I was not a tippy-top student).  Times have changed!!!

My college days began a little before that--about 35 years ago.  I went to a state university and the vast majority of my friends did, also.  In fact, as I am thinking about it, I can only recall one person whom I graduated with who went to a private university for undergraduate.  I knew a few people a few years older who went to private universities, but they were all from wealthy families.  Private universities just weren't considered by most people in my community.

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It costs just about the same today to send a student to one of the UC's that is not within commuting distances of us (all of them except Berkeley and Davis) as it did for my parents to send me to Stanford. No wonder it's now so difficult for state residents to get into Berkeley and UCLA.

 

 

Yup, my friends went to UCLA for less than I am currently paying for community college for my oldest.

 

My private Christian college cost us $10K in the late 80s for tuition and room and board.  We did get some aid since my parents were missionaries, but it wasn't a ton.  

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To reach its conclusions, Royall & Co. analyzed 54,810 students at 92 institutions it works with who were admitted to enter college in 2016. It found that more than 6,000 of those students -- 11 percent -- declined to attend their institution of first choice, further examining their reasons for doing so.

 

^quote from the article.

 

Am I reading this wrong? 11% declined to attend their first choice. Doesn't that mean that 89% did attend their first choice? So, it's 40% of that 11% that declined because of varying financial reasons??

 

I read the title as a total of 40% of all students turning down their first choice because of $$$.

 

Now I'm confused.

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Am I reading this wrong? 11% declined to attend their first choice. Doesn't that mean that 89% did attend their first choice? So, it's 40% of that 11% that declined because of varying financial reasons??

 

I read the title as a total of 40% of all students turning down their first choice because of $$$.

 

Now I'm confused.

 

The majority of college-aged students I know IRL did not get accepted to their top choice because admissions have become insanely selective. So my guess is that most of those 89% are attending a college other than their top choice simply because they did not have the option of attending their "dream" school.

 

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To reach its conclusions, Royall & Co. analyzed 54,810 students at 92 institutions it works with who were admitted to enter college in 2016. It found that more than 6,000 of those students -- 11 percent -- declined to attend their institution of first choice, further examining their reasons for doing so.

 

^quote from the article.

 

Am I reading this wrong? 11% declined to attend their first choice. Doesn't that mean that 89% did attend their first choice? So, it's 40% of that 11% that declined because of varying financial reasons??

 

Yes, it is of those 6,000 + students (11 % of the students in their sample) that 40% cited varying financial reasons.  This article doesn't report how they knew what was a student's first choice.  Also, we have no idea how close second choice was.  e.g. My first choice may be strawberry ice cream, but I had a difficult time choosing that because chocolate is really, really good too, and you made me list them, so strawberry was at the top of the list.  But, I don't like strawberry enough more to pay more for it.

 

Some of the other reasons also call into question how a student was coming up with first choice--ABC was my first choice, but I chose XYZ because ABC didn't offer the major I wanted... Then why was it the first choice?

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To reach its conclusions, Royall & Co. analyzed 54,810 students at 92 institutions it works with who were admitted to enter college in 2016. It found that more than 6,000 of those students -- 11 percent -- declined to attend their institution of first choice, further examining their reasons for doing so.

 

^quote from the article.

 

Am I reading this wrong? 11% declined to attend their first choice. Doesn't that mean that 89% did attend their first choice? So, it's 40% of that 11% that declined because of varying financial reasons??

 

I read the title as a total of 40% of all students turning down their first choice because of $$$.

 

Now I'm confused.

 

That's the way I read it - the 40% is of those who turned down their first choice, so roughly 2400 students (40% of 6000) of the almost 55,000 surveyed.  Some of the reasons really surprised me - as a PP said - "Why in the world was it your first choice if you didn't like the environment, location, or they didn't offer your major???"  Seems to me those schools would be lower on the list to start with.

 

What the survey didn't say is how many sorted out their first choice by finances to start with.  If a student likes Schools A & B equally, but B comes in less expensive, that tends to vault them to the top of the list and they attend their first choice.  This happens quite often TBH.

 

But there are still plenty who like School A better, but B is more affordable.  Those are the students in that 40% the way I read it.

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Thanks. The subtitle (or whatever that is called) read in a confusing way to me. Sounded like 40% chose to turn down their first choice.

 

Turning down a first choice because of finances doesn't necessarily mean it was *unaffordable*. Might just mean a student perceived a second choice as a better *value*.

Edited by Hoggirl
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Many times it's delicate. Sometimes it's just downright sad. I'm hoping in our case it is just delicate. 

 

:grouphug: I am hoping for the "delicate" side for your family, but more so for the "surprise" silver lining.

 

I know kids that have excelled nearly anywhere they are planted and kids who have hated their "dream" schools.  There are so many good schools out there, I am sure you'll find the right one.

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My college days began a little before that--about 35 years ago.  I went to a state university and the vast majority of my friends did, also.  In fact, as I am thinking about it, I can only recall one person whom I graduated with who went to a private university for undergraduate.  I knew a few people a few years older who went to private universities, but they were all from wealthy families.  Private universities just weren't considered by most people in my community.

 

My time frame is similar, but I went to a Catholic girls' high school, so students either went to Catholic universities on the west coast or the state universities.  It would never have occurred to most of us to apply out of state. In some ways that was easier, but when we toured schools for my youngest, I was rather envious.  I loved one of the Midwest schools we saw. It was not a good fit for my son, but it would have been brilliant for my 18 yo self.

 

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My college days began a little before that--about 35 years ago.  I went to a state university and the vast majority of my friends did, also.  In fact, as I am thinking about it, I can only recall one person whom I graduated with who went to a private university for undergraduate.  I knew a few people a few years older who went to private universities, but they were all from wealthy families.  Private universities just weren't considered by most people in my community.

 

I think this was a community thing.  I went to college in the 80s coming from a good public high school in pretty rural NY (city of 16,000 or so).  The majority of my peers in the "top rung" academic classes went to private colleges.  Most in the "mid tier" went to public colleges or two year schools.  I graduated 2nd in my class and went to an OOS public.  I was told by some (at that time) that I let them down.  I'm sure that continues considering I do next to nothing in my life and several of my peers can be easily found on the internet doing "great things."  I looked them up a couple of years ago.

 

I could have done more with my life, of course, but after the AF kicked me out (medically - they said I had asthma  :glare: ), I never found another track I really liked.  I was married - and opted to have kids - then opted to work part time at our school - loved it, and the rest is history.

 

I'll admit I often wonder what I'd be doing with my life if I'd attended my top choice (a fairly top notch private - I didn't go there due to finances), but I'm perfectly happy with life as it turned out so I don't dwell on it long.  I'd have never met hubby at the other school and I absolutely love our relationship and the life we live together.

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:grouphug: I am hoping for the "delicate" side for your family, but more so for the "surprise" silver lining.

 

I know kids that have excelled nearly anywhere they are planted and kids who have hated their "dream" schools.  There are so many good schools out there, I am sure you'll find the right one.

 

I used to think that having my children discover what they wanted to do early would be awesome but it quickly narrowed the college search and I kind of wish they were clueless now. :) Well, it really is only a problem for one of them.  Of course, there is the get a related degree and wait for graduate school but I know that even if my children can't do what they want to do that they will find a way to be happy because they are generally happy children. :) Blossom where you are planted is what my step-mom used to tell me. :)  

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I'll admit I often wonder what I'd be doing with my life if I'd attended my top choice (a fairly top notch private - I didn't go there due to finances), but I'm perfectly happy with life as it turned out so I don't dwell on it long.  I'd have never met hubby at the other school and I absolutely love our relationship and the life we live together.

 

I know plenty of SAHM's who are graduates of selective private colleges. I imagine most will resume paid employment once their kids are a bit older (I'm in the process of hopefully relaunching my career) but I doubt that there's any Sandra Day O'Connors among us going from SAHM-to-Supreme Court Justice.

 

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I know plenty of SAHM's who are graduates of selective private colleges. I imagine most will resume paid employment once their kids are a bit older (I'm in the process of hopefully relaunching my career) but I doubt that there's any Sandra Day O'Connors among us going from SAHM-to-Supreme Court Justice.

 

Side note. When O'Connor graduated law school several law firms would only offer her a position as a secretary. So glad times have changed!

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I know plenty of SAHM's who are graduates of selective private colleges. I imagine most will resume paid employment once their kids are a bit older (I'm in the process of hopefully relaunching my career) but I doubt that there's any Sandra Day O'Connors among us going from SAHM-to-Supreme Court Justice.

 

 

I'm still contemplating what I want to do when I'm grown up TBH.  I don't think it's going to include full time paid work.  I've gotten rather attached to not being part of the rat race.  It very well could include volunteering - once we figure out where we want to live and/or I drop my part time job (or my mom passes away) since those currently take up the time I want to spend doing something - ponies, the farm, and traveling take up the other part of my time.  A full time job won't fit in there.

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There are a ton of goods and services where one turns down their top choice because of cost. I'm surprised the percentage isn't higher.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I am sure it is.  If it was filtered as "accepted students," (I didn't go and look to see what the study actually said) all students who did not apply due to costs in the first place would not be included.  It also doesn't take into acct that the vast majority of students only apply locally or to their state flagship in the first place. Applying to top schools and to OOS schools if by far not the typical college application strategy.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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This. I very much wanted ds to run with the cheapest choice.  We didn't. Ask me again in a few years how I feel, but right now, the decision seems to be a good one. Yes, it's more expensive than I wanted, but there are so many important things available at his final choice that did not exist at his other choices.  It is a delicate balance for many families and everyone's circumstances and reasons are different.

 

 

This was us too. Ds is at a small private LAC. He got good merit aid, but it would have been cheaper to go to a state U. Having spent 2 years there now, I have no doubt of the decision though. The small classes and personal attention of the teachers has made a world of difference for my 2e guy. The balance is delicate. It was important to me that my kids graduate college without debt and ds's choice of schools made that more challenging, but he will make it.

 

Dd is at an OOS University that offered in-state tuition for her. It will be less than ds paid, but it was still more than her second choice school.

 

While neither of mine chose THE least expensive school, we did rule out some schools because of sticker price. There are still too many kids/families out there ignoring finances and sending kids off to rack up enormous debt, but I think being a bit more financially responsible is becoming more common. 

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This was us too. Ds is at a small private LAC. He got good merit aid, but it would have been cheaper to go to a state U. Having spent 2 years there now, I have no doubt of the decision though. The small classes and personal attention of the teachers has made a world of difference for my 2e guy. The balance is delicate. It was important to me that my kids graduate college without debt and ds's choice of schools made that more challenging, but he will make it.

 

...

 

While neither of mine chose THE least expensive school, we did rule out some schools because of sticker price. There are still too many kids/families out there ignoring finances and sending kids off to rack up enormous debt, but I think being a bit more financially responsible is becoming more common. 

 

By taking out your middle part about your Dd, I could have written the exact same thing you did.

 

We paid more for youngest by allowing him to go to his choice LAC than a true state school would have cost - and it was well, well worth it.  Middle could have applied to some schools that would have been practically free for him, but the educational level was not up to his preference or ability.  He also could have chosen a school that would have been 33K more annually for us.  Uh, no.  That one is not on the table anymore - acceptance or not.

 

There's a balance and what that is depends upon the student and family finances.

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There are a ton of goods and services where one turns down their top choice because of cost. I'm surprised the percentage isn't higher.

 

 

 

In this case, students generally don't know what the actual costs will be until financial aid packages arrive, which come after admissions.

 

I think students should not have a top choice if they don't know what the costs will end up being.  Most other goods and services you know the price before you make your choices.

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In this case, students generally don't know what the actual costs will be until financial aid packages arrive, which come after admissions.

 

I think students should not have a top choice if they don't know what the costs will end up being. Most other goods and services you know the price before you make your choices.

Not everyone receives financial aid, so for those who are full pay the cost is known.

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I've met a rather large number of people who were surprised to not get any financial aid.

Curious as to why they were surprised?

 

Colleges expect payment to be made from past savings, current earnings, and future earnings (aka, meaning borrowing). One can debate the merits of this policy, but that's how it is.

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Thanks. The subtitle (or whatever that is called) read in a confusing way to me. Sounded like 40% chose to turn down their first choice.

 

Turning down a first choice because of finances doesn't necessarily mean it was *unaffordable*. Might just mean a student perceived a second choice as a better *value*.

Absolutely agree with this.  In fact, my daughter is the one who has stated to me and her dad what she thinks it's "worth" given her options.  We told her we want what's best for her and wanted her to choose.  Perception really does factor in here because some high stats students want certain schools regardless of cost (whether out of pocket or through loans).  My oldest DD emphatically voiced her view on what she believed it should cost and what she was willing for us to spend (may sound crazy, but true :) ) ... so it all depends again on the person involved. Now she's thrilled with the two options she's seriously considering now, but just saying she didn't personally think certain schools were worth the cost to us for undergrad.

 

Everybody's different. :)

Edited by Gratia271
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Honestly, I wish that the number were higher.   I would say that schools are spending money like drunken sailors, but that would be insulting the sailors.  It is not worth what is being charged.  

 

It's not going to go down anytime soon TBH.  Applications are up, yields are often up, and more students (and parents) are impressed with the things schools are spending money on - from aesthetics to research to better food in the dining halls.  Very, VERY few students or parents come back from visits to "run down" schools or those offering fewer options of various sorts (academics, food, etc), saying that's the school they want to go to.  Many don't even apply.  THOSE schools are the ones having trouble with their rankings and attracting students.  Only so many want "cheap."  

 

It's a very human trait to think one gets what they pay for (even when the actual item is exactly identical - like if the same wine is in two differently labeled bottles with different cost, folks will swear the more expensive one tastes better).  As with wines, schools do vary in content, but if one school is priced much lower than their peers, folks will start to assume they aren't as good.  Ditto with the school that has less of a landscaping job or a gym that isn't new, etc.  Perception is everything.

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It's not going to go down anytime soon TBH.  Applications are up, yields are often up, and more students (and parents) are impressed with the things schools are spending money on - from aesthetics to research to better food in the dining halls.  Very, VERY few students or parents come back from visits to "run down" schools or those offering fewer options of various sorts (academics, food, etc), saying that's the school they want to go to.  Many don't even apply.  THOSE schools are the ones having trouble with their rankings and attracting students.  Only so many want "cheap."  

 

It's a very human trait to think one gets what they pay for (even when the actual item is exactly identical - like if the same wine is in two differently labeled bottles with different cost, folks will swear the more expensive one tastes better).  As with wines, schools do vary in content, but if one school is priced much lower than their peers, folks will start to assume they aren't as good.  Ditto with the school that has less of a landscaping job or a gym that isn't new, etc.  Perception is everything.

 

I think this is a way that some families can find good bargains.  Not wanting to get into the perinnial debate over the different opportunities at top ranked vs mid ranked schools, because that's not what I'm suggesting.

 

However, one exchange that really endeared Virginia Tech to us was when the tour guide took us through the dorms.  They were the roughest looking of any we'd seen.  No frills cinder block with a desk and a bed.  Also no A/C.  The guide explained that each roommate brought a big fan.  One was pointed in to provide cooler air and one was pointed out to remove warm air.  Then he looked at the group and said, "This IS an engineering school. You should be able to handle it."  As the tuition paying parent, it may my heart happy to hear that utility was considered good enough.

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I think this is a way that some families can find good bargains.  Not wanting to get into the perinnial debate over the different opportunities at top ranked vs mid ranked schools, because that's not what I'm suggesting.

 

However, one exchange that really endeared Virginia Tech to us was when the tour guide took us through the dorms.  They were the roughest looking of any we'd seen.  No frills cinder block with a desk and a bed.  Also no A/C.  The guide explained that each roommate brought a big fan.  One was pointed in to provide cooler air and one was pointed out to remove warm air.  Then he looked at the group and said, "This IS an engineering school. You should be able to handle it."  As the tuition paying parent, it may my heart happy to hear that utility was considered good enough.

 

And yet the newer dorms being built - even Pearson for the Corps of Cadets (replaced Rasche - my dorm) - all have air conditioning.

 

Times are different now than before.  Lack of AC would turn off more than it would attract.  Pearson is a much sought after dorm.  It's far nicer inside than anything we ever had.  Ditto all the dining hall options around campus, etc.

 

http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/virginia-tech-cadets-ready-for-operation-moving-day/article_ad874191-2a85-5e9e-9e13-ad8282bfb57c.html

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And yet the newer dorms being built - even Pearson for the Corps of Cadets (replaced Rasche - my dorm) - all have air conditioning.

 

Times are different now than before.  Lack of AC would turn off more than it would attract.  Pearson is a much sought after dorm.  It's far nicer inside than anything we ever had.  Ditto all the dining hall options around campus, etc.

 

http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/virginia-tech-cadets-ready-for-operation-moving-day/article_ad874191-2a85-5e9e-9e13-ad8282bfb57c.html

 

That is true.  And I would expect any brand new dorm to have air conditioning.   But I still found the attitude to be genuine and attractive.  I liked that the tour took us to an average room.

 

By contrast, one of the other universities made a point of touring us through the absolutely newest dorm building, even though most of the dorms were much older.

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Not surprised by any of this; however, I think THAT is really the issue.

 

When I first started digging into this, I was surprised. I have gone on to do quite a bit of "tutoring" in this area (The industry calls it college coaching, a title I don't like.). Anyway - I have come to realize that I was not alone when it comes to misunderstanding this process. Most parents are surprised by this. And so are their students. It's unfortunate, but rather than promote this as just the facts of life, I think news outlets make quite a bit of money by maintaining the wonder when it comes to college admissions/paying for college.

 

Really. 

 

These articles are too well-timed to be news-worthy any more in my opinion.

 

These articles appear every year at the exact same times. 

 

They are filler, folks.

 

Think about it. How many of you - either personally or because you know someone you can send this article to - are involved in financial aid or are thinking about how to afford college right now?

 

And in the end, rather than offer insight into how this process really works - most of these article are designed to make us all confused, depressed, and wondering what if?

 

It's unnecessary. This is just life. 

 

Look, I don't get to buy ANYTHING that is my "Top Choice." EVER.

 

I don't eat at restaurants that are my top choice. I don't shop for shoes that are the "best". My car isn't my dream car nor is my house. I don't get the "best" when it comes to hair cuts or vacations or carpeting or spatulas or pants. Heck this chair I'm sitting in and this laptop I am banging away on are what I settled for - NOT my top choice. BECAUSE IN THE END, THAT IS OUR TOP CHOICE!  Settling!  :001_smile:

 

We buy what supports the vision we have for our family. And that means a balancing act between what we want and what we want. It makes no sense to "support our children's dreams" if it means they are going to have to give up on their dreams because mom and dad are moving in with them because we need a place to live and food to eat from age 60-90. Which is NOT a dream of anyone in this family, I am SURE. Trade offs. Opportunity-cost based decisions.

 

So smile! Help your children understand how life works. It's not settling. It's a recipe for happiness.

 

Really. I DO HOPE THIS POST WILL BE A COMPLETE ENCOURAGEMENT! 

 

All the Best!

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people!

Enjoy your journey! 

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