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Paying for college, ~80k of debt, is it a smart choice?

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sammy97
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Paying for college, ~80k of debt, is it a smart choice?  Reply with quote  

I'm currently deciding between two colleges to attend, let's call them college A and college B. I want to go to college A and it is my first choice but financially, I many have to choose college B. My parents have no experience with student loans being immigrants so please help me make a sound decision.

My financial situation : my parents have no outstanding debt and recently paid off a 15 year mortgage on a house with an equity of ~900k. Their combined income is stable and is expected to be around ~60k annually. Mother and father have around ~110k in bank accounts and 401k.

If I choose college A, the grand total over 4 years is between 120k and 157k making it a 30 - 39k per year college. The range in expense is due to the fact that my aid can vary greatly being an out-of-state student.

To pay for college A, my parents can afford to pay down 10k annually for 4 years. This reduces the cost by 40k, so we may owe 80 - 117k the least by graduation. They are considering opening a 200k HELOC given its much lower interest rates compared to student loans. I keep telling them that it's a lot, asking if they want to retire and enjoy life but they encourage me to make my deposit on college A because it's a better school and the one I would love to go to. Parents are really supportive but I don't think they understand the full scope of the situation. I'm agreeing to carry at max 30k of debt coming out of college so they would effectively be carrying 50 - 87k of the debt for me.

If I choose college B, the grand total over 4 years will be ~60k, half the cost.

My planned major will be a STEM field so I won't have trouble landing a job and making money. I would like to leave my options open for graduate school though.
Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:58 am
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oldguy
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quote:
My planned major will be a STEM field


What field are you going to study? Very few 4-year degrees are worth $140,000.
Are you going to work though-out your college years and during the summers? And what kind of work will you do - if you do minimum wage jobs, the income won't won't pay much of the $140,000. Conversely, if you avoid entry-level-retail and work in industry (say truck driver, machine operator, etc) you might earn $16 to $20/hr, work lots of OT, and make $15,000 in a summer.
Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:31 pm
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Publius
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I've hired 9 engineers in the last 18 months. I can honestly say I have no idea what university they went to. I know they all did go to a university and get degrees relevant to the job they had applied for, but the location of the degree didn't even factor into the hiring decision.

There are certainly people that get jobs because of the connections they get from going to an ivy league school. But someone with a STEM degree from a state school is just as employable in my opinion.

There have been a number of studies in recent years looking at ROI of degrees from public and private schools. The ROI is always higher at the public schools.
Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:43 am
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oldguy
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quote:
I've hired 9 engineers in the last 18 months. I can honestly say I have no idea what university they went to. I know they all did go to a university and get degrees relevant to the job they had applied for, but the location of the degree didn't even factor into the hiring decision.


What he said!

I'm a mech engineer (retired), the engineers that worked for me (2Cool were primarily selected/promoted on their demonstrated performance. Nearly all of my engineers were selected from 'within' and based on skill/reputation, no one cared what school after Year2. With 'fresh-outs' (I recall only 3) I had transcripts, name of college, etc - but I selected mostly via interview. I can assess someone's technical skills in a 20 minute interview - but 'character' is the wild card. Anyone can fake good character & work ethic long enough to get hired.
Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:14 am
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littleroc02us
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I strongly believe what Publius said in regards to most employers could care less what college you went too. State schools provide a much more affordable path at 1/2 the costs. It's so strange that college is the one thing parents could care less how much their children spend. No wonder the country has a trillion dollar debt from student loans. There needs to be a cost benifit for the college and the job you actually obtain after graduating. If your paying 150k for college and your making 80k the first year, doesn't that sound ridiculous when you could go to a State school for 80k and get an 80k job. The last thing you need is to be heavily in debt when you graduate.

So my advice is to look into a State school, work in the summers to save up 5-10k, work during school and find scholarships and grants. Anyone can get a scholarship if they try. I was a B student in High school and I received a scholarship by creating and editing a video that won awards.

Good luck!

Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing. (Warren Buffet)
Post Mon May 04, 2015 2:11 pm
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