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Picking a college for my daughter....HELP.

Big Shasta

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#1
My daughter is an above average student in terms of grades and general outlook toward studying. Not exceptional at all, just above average I would say. She has a plan for her career and is definitely going to go to college (because she wants to, not because we're forcing her to). She wants to study Radiography. There are just a couple schools close by that offer that.

The University of Southern Alabama (USA) - Appears to be a great school. Great reputation and we visited it yesterday. everything looks great. BUT, It's 28K a year for out of state tuition (Dorm, meal plan, tuition, etc) Not counting travel costs since it's 3 and a half hours away and she'll be going back and forth I expect maybe monthly or a little less.

The University of Florida - Hard to get into so it most likely wouldn't even be a factor. But it's 5 hours away and likely would be seen as "too far" by my daughter.

So USA is a good fit. 28K a year for out of state tuition. It would be a done deal for my wife and daughter. But I can't agree to it. My wife is pushing for 4 years away at school because she thinks they need some separation. They get along fine but my wife gets stressed dealing with the teen girl stuff....even though my daughter is very low stress compared to most things we hear.

So my plan is for her to stay at home and go to the local state college for the basic classes she needs....maybe 2 years, maybe not that long. But it's 21K per year Less...I just can't see how it's even a discussion. USA is 42,000.00 MORE for the first 2 years....Really....I'm supposed to just say OK, that sounds fine if that's what she wants.

The truth is my daughter really would have been fine either way but my wife has swayed her into wanting the full 4 years away.
When I try and discuss it with my wife, she says she wants her to have the "full college experience" My response is "is that worth 42K to you?" Then she says I don't think she'll stick with it if she stays here. So I say "if she's not committed then college isn't for her either way"

There is also the possibility that she could go to USA for the basics and then not even get accepted to the Radiology program....what then....We paid 56K for some basic college classes.?

I told my wife if she wants to go there for 4 years the first 2 years is on her for student loans....I'm not paying it.. and now I'm an asshole that doesn't deserve to be spoken to. It's just making me even more stubborn about it....at this point, I don't care what happens....I'm not wasting 42 THOUSAND DOLLARS.....UGH.

Guess I'm not getting laid tonight. Oh well....Getting drunk might help. Just poured a huge Crown and Coke Zero.
 
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jawsf16

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#2
I am a ways off from college with my girls so I speak with zero expertise in this area. So here is the absolutely free random thought I had while reading your post. What about offering her an incentive to stay local, knock out basic classes with reasonable grades, and stay out of trouble. Even if you split the cost savings from what USA would cost you, she would be ahead 21k. Put it in her bank account when she completes the local college or when she starts at USA or when she graduates, etc... It would do three things - save you money, teach her discipline, and start her off on solid financial footing after/during college. 21k is a lot of incentive for a 19/20 yr old.

Oh, and if you figure this dilemma out successfully, please post results so I can bookmark for my own use in 8 years!!
 

soggyshoes

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#3
Do you mean Radiology or Radiography? In Oregon Radiography is a two year associates degree offered at a community college. I know at our local community college graduates do really well. In fact, they quickly make more than the instructors which can make it a challenge to recruit good instructors. I also know it is not an easy program to get into. Some of these programs have an acceptance rate similar to an Ivy League University and are often more selective than med school.
Here is the link to Portland Community College's (PCC) program: http://www.pcc.edu/programs/radiography/
So maybe there is a two year program somewhere that could be a compromise. Reasonable enough for your daughter to live away but inexpensive enough and only two years to be more affordable. Often Junior Colleges are two year colleges that have student housing.
Good luck with that and let us know what you end up doing. I have twins that I will eventually have to figure this out with.
 

Julian

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#4
I plan to pay for my daughter's college education and already have 90k in a 529 account for her...BUT I do not intend to let her know this. I want her to get a student loan, so she takes classes and spends the money like it is her own....not an entitlement. So I know what you mean when you think about how much freakin money it costs. I was lucky enough to have my college paid for by my parents. At the time my father attempted to bribe me into going to Central Florida State instead of Syracuse due to the price...but I know he was only partially kidding....

I have no answer for your dilemma....who knows what she might decide to study given the opportunity....
 

Big Shasta

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#5
Do you mean Radiology or Radiography? In Oregon Radiography is a two year associates degree offered at a community college. I know at our local community college graduates do really well. In fact, they quickly make more than the instructors which can make it a challenge to recruit good instructors. I also know it is not an easy program to get into. Some of these programs have an acceptance rate similar to an Ivy League University and are often more selective than med school.
Here is the link to Portland Community College's (PCC) program: http://www.pcc.edu/programs/radiography/
So maybe there is a two year program somewhere that could be a compromise. Reasonable enough for your daughter to live away but inexpensive enough and only two years to be more affordable. Often Junior Colleges are two year colleges that have student housing.
Good luck with that and let us know what you end up doing. I have twins that I will eventually have to figure this out with.

The degree is actually Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences...far more advanced than the 2 year radiology degree offered here locally at the state college.
We dismissed that after talking to professionals in the field. It's like the difference between a nursing assistant and an RN.

We can afford it either way (not out of pocket but with loans and such) But I love Dave Ramseys statement that a young adult can finance college but you can't finance retirement.

42K wasted when the degree will be the same in the end is my hang-up.
 

utahrd

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#7
are there any statistics to support your wifes argument that going to the junior college first is more likely to result in dropout? i would ask the JC that first
 

Big Shasta

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#8
are there any statistics to support your wifes argument that going to the junior college first is more likely to result in dropout? i would ask the JC that first
I hear you but you know what they say...there are lies, damn lies and statistics...

I feel like if she has her eyes on the goal, what's the difference if it's 4 years split between local and away or 4 years away.
 

Wayloncle

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#9
Of course I have no advice, mine are 2 and 8.

I don't understand the "full experience". It'd be cheaper to rent her an apartment and her go local for the basics, if not living at home is the full experience.

That is a bunch o' dollars to cross a state line.
That is sorta the reason my wife wound up in the military, she went out of state for her first year of college, parents told her they couldn't afford to do it any more, either they pay and she goes in-state or she figures it out to go out of state. Stubbornness got the better of her and didn't do either. Her dad had a recruiter sitting at the table one evening when she got home...now she has a Masters in health education, Bachelors in public health, and 3 Associates.
 

GiddYupJoe

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#10
If she really wants to move away, let that be her choice. Have her pay for the first two years with loans. When she graduates with a 4 year degree, go ahead and pay off the loan she took out (instead of paying it up front). If she doesn't complete the first two years then thats on her and she will not have an education and owe a lot of money for a poor decision. Just a thought... everyone will be happy and you will be out 42 extra k's but at least you will know that it went to good use.

Edit:: My wife and I both paid our way through college and my kids will too. However, that doesn't go to say that I will not pay off their loans after they graduate if I am in the financial position to do so. I guess thats how I formulated my suggestion, considering my kids are 3 and 5.
 

Murf'n'surf

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#11
The degree might be the same but I'm sure one of the institutes name will carry more weight in the job seeking/interview relm. Students from certain schools are highly sought after because employers know what they have been taught. You'll need to do some homework on that.

If you decide to have her attend a community college for the basic classes, beware of the possibility that not all credits will transfer and it might actually set her graduation back by having to take classes a second time. Check with the school she will transfer to about class credit transfers.
 

Julian

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#12
Here is a short article discussing some of the differences

https://www.scholarships.com/resour...hool/the-pros-and-cons-of-community-colleges/

Some of the cons for junior college are pretty significant...peer pressure being one of them. At most big universities...its make the grade or you are out....and seeing the competition can drive you to work a lot harder. But that would only be an issue if your daughter isn't "driven"...

But keeping "the wife" happy is priceless......
 

dbrunone

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#13
What about Florida State?? Thats only 2hrs from you. Great brand too.

You can do what my dad did...he told me "I have $20k saved for you. Anything beyond that is on you. Also, if you go to college on scholarship, I'll buy you a nice car as well." (by "nice" he meant $8k or so). Luckily the state of Georgia paid my tuition to a top-10 engineering school so I guess I got lucky.

I suggest the incentive approach. Maybe every dollar in scholarship you offer to match one for one, or 50%. Maybe every dollar she puts in herself gets matched. This way she takes ownership of the decision but you are also the nice guy helping her out.

Also think of it this way....as a technical person in the medical profession, in Florida where cost of living is fairly low, $42k will get paid back awfully quick. It's not ruining her life to take the loans and go to school. In fact, it might provide some very good life lessons about debt and payments, and it is true that a full experience at a real college does some important things for social and emotional development. I would have paid $42k for my college experience. Just a thought.
 

Topper232

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#14
Hi Ken,

I just went through this scenario. My oldest is a junior and is away for her first year at school.

Since she was in high school, I planned for her to attend our local community college. Which has a great reputation, degrees that transfer to 30 local 4-year schools/universities, was 2 miles from our house and cost $11,000 for tuition and books for the 2 year degree. My wife fought me up to the point of HS graduation because she went to Villanova and insisted that our daughter have the whole "going away" experience. I told her that she would, as a junior and senior. I never really went to college, other than a few night classes, so my view is a bit skewed.

We make an ok living, and being in NJ is very expensive, so money doesn't go as far. With the economy being unstable since 2008, jobs still a struggle for kids coming out of school and college debt in the 6-figure range, I didn't want my daughter to graduate with loans so high that she couldn't make payments if she couldn't find a job in her field right away or even afford her own place while making student loan payments. My daughter is also a bit of a home-body, so I knew that she wouldn't have done well emotionally going away right out of HS.

In retrospect now, my wife agrees that it was the best idea for her and us. We paid cash for the 2 yr degree at the local community college and she's taking loans for the tuition portion of her undergrad and eventually post grad studies. (Psychology and Occupation Therapy). I pay for her rent and food in a house that she shares with 3 other kids that she went to HS with, so she'll have (hopefully) minimum debt when she graduates all while having some skin in the game.

I also told her and my other 2 teens that part of my plan for sending them to the community college was that I would buy them a car good enough to get them through HS and college so that they have safe/reliable transportation and have one major thing to not have to stress over. In 2010 I bought a Chevy Cobalt as they were discontinuing them for only 14k, and it hasn't cost us anything but gas and oil changes in 5 years.

Now that my second one starts driving in the next few weeks, I'm starting the whole process again.

Good luck with your decision and hopefully this perspective helps.
 

Ronnie

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#15
I say stick to your guns, $42k is a lot of money to piss away on an undergraduate degree and will be a lot more than that if you borrow any of it. You may be worried about problems you don't have. Make sure she gets into the programs you referenced before you get to worked up over the cost. Healthcare programs can be very hard to get into and some are subject to lottery systems. I know people who have been wait listed for over two years to get into nursing and other healthcare related programs. It seems like starting at a junior college and finishing at a four year university is becoming more of the norm. You can't argue against the economics of living at home while going to a jc.

My son is 12 but luckily my wife and I agree that we will pay for a four year degree and we have been letting our son, now 12, know that he is either going to a CA state university or university of California school, either after jc or for the entire degree program. There will be no USC Trojans or Stanford cardinals in his future. Compared to these schools $28k per year is a bargain.

Some things to know about student loans, scholarships and grants. Out of order, you may make too much money for your daughter to get a grant, there are a lot of scholarships available but you have to start applying for them now. Most aren't full ride but anything Is better than nothing, fill out and submit the forms and see what comes of it. Student loans, I came out of law school $100k in debt, 8 years later after paying $1k a month for 6 years straight I paid them off with a jumbo payment of $120k. $192k on $100k debt and I was fortunate in that I was able to pay them off early instead of going the full 30 year term. Yeah, student loans are Bitch. If I can help my son can avoid them I'd consider that a big indicator that I've been a good parent. You may need to cosign for your daughters student loans so watch out for that. Oh, there is a misconception that student loan debt is deductible, it is but only up to a certain income level (e.g. $50 in 1997). Lastly, you can't discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy, with only a few exceptions, you either have to pay them off or die to get rid of them.

Again this is all coming from a long time student not parent perspective (I have a bs, MBA and jd all from accredited universities). Advanced degrees and the debt that came with it worked out for me but I wouldn't recommend it in this day and age.
 
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soggyshoes

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#16
That makes sense about the difference in degrees. In that case what about going for Radiology and getting the full monty. That way she could go to in state for her undergrad and you could offer her $42k towards Med School.
One thing to keep in mind is to find out which states have reciprocity with degrees and licenses and where she wants to end up living. I know in nursing some states make seem to want to make it as herd as possible on people trained and certified in other states or that they don't have a deal with.
I kind of like the idea of seeing what your daughter wants to do if she feels responsible for the difference in cost. Like @GiddYupJoe and @Julian were suggesting. Not and easy thing to deal with. Lots of emotions and a big decision.
 

Big Shasta

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#17
Part of what I'm up against is completely my fault. My daughter has had everything handed to her up to this point. She got a decent amount of money monthly and a couple years ago we made her responsible for her own budget. We figured out how much she should get for clothes, hair appts, dance clothes, shoes, makeup, everything she needed except food and we gave her that amount of money and a budget. She has managed it well. We told her she wouldn't have to work while she was in high school, we just wanted her to get good grades. I told her I wanted her to have a car that would last for 2 years of high school and through college and beyond so we bought her a 2013 Sonata and pay for all the gas and ins. So she's used to us just forking out what money she needs.

She would have been completely fine with the 2 years here and 2 years away but my wife is adamant she wants her to go away for the "college experience" if she says that one more time, I might lose my cool completely. @Topper232 Reading your post, I thought it was my story, exactly the same. Katie is a homebody so part of my point was throwing her into "the experience" might not be the right thing either. I agreed that we would just pay cash for the 2 years here and then she goes away to USA with zero debt.

We make too much money for any grants and I agree, she needs to get scholarship hunting. We just finished the FAFSA packet so we'll see how much federal load aid she can get. My wife would be onboard with us just taking out the rest in private student loans for her....Madness I tell you....complete madness.

We would definitely make sure the credits will transfer, USA gives you an advisor that tells you what too take so nothing in wasted.

I'm not sure how this is going to play out. The more we 'discuss it' the more I want to put my foot down. @Wayloncle I'd be completely fine with her joining the Air Force and getting her school paid for that way. Maybe I should have your family over for dinner! LOL

@dbrunone - Florida state doesn't offer a degree in radiography.

@soggyshoes - She doesn't want any more than 4 years of school. She agrees (after talking to people in that field) that she needs the 4 year degree not the 2 year but that's all she'll commit to.
 
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justason

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#18
I'm in the middle of this as we speak for my son, I'll share some of the items I'm learning and still reviewing if it helps.
Disclaimer: Since I'm in the middle of this do your due diligence to qualify my statements, this is to get the synapse firing.

On a personal note I'll say: think hard about the 4 year degree.
Alot of employers want to see it for a sense of discipline and commitment. Depending on the field it can be a company definition (your daughters field is unknown to me); Example: I'm a Mechanical Design Engineer. To work at a contract design house, sometimes called industrial design house a bachelors degree is a must. When the company is courting a client they want to say " We have X mechanical engineers". This can be applied for several topics, some legal when it comes to construction or architecture.

now for the meat/potatoes
Keep in mind..COSTS OF COLLEGE IS NOT FIXED. The college has a cost advertised, but it is FLUID based on who they want and what they want to fill......
FAFSA: If you haven't done this yet consider doing it now. This is your financial statement for the college to review to see what you are available for in the way of scholarships and financial aid. This is combined with SAT and ACT scores. If your daughter is ranking high on these scores the college will want her, this will get them to cough up more scholarship (incentive) money...One of the best things that can happen is you get multiple offers.

The FAFSA will also show the other college's where she has applied, competition is good, again, if they want her they will work it. On the FAFSA your retirement accounts or annuity's are hands off as an income or available funds statement. ..........So......If a college see's you have big equity in your house, they see that as funds you have available to pay....If you have a 529 plan which can only be used for education, they know you have money to pay. its all connected, this is a business after all.

I have never looked for a handout nor have I taken anything from the government, but..this is how this system works. This is leveraging your/her hard work in favor of what the school wants. My Son is heading to a Pilot school, big cost, we focused on a school with its own planes and airfield, they need to FILL those seats. Based on the above, he was handed a $14K scholarship right on. Schools that sub out the flight hours to a local field didn't care.

There are financial advisers out there that specialize in this field, We personally don't use them, but they can get you thinking and define the logistics involved...data point..

As for the dialogue with your wife....well..you're on your own there, unlike the above being fluid and negotiable, that seldom works at home.....but I digress......
 

Julian

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#19
I see this discussion in my future (my daughter is only 10)....but I can see my wife wanting her out of the house sooner rather than later....(they get along some times...and others just bang heads....I see that only getting worse).

Our daughter is completely un-interested in money.... I keep trying to get her to realize if she earned some, she could shop...but she's not there yet. We don't give her an allowance, and she doesn't care (in part because she gets money from Aunts, Uncles and 4 sets of grand parents (birth grandma sent her $500 for xmas!!! We force her to put 1/2 in the bank....but she's still doing great for a 10 year old!). Somehow I need to solve for this!

@Big Shasta I'll be following this thread....as I'd love to "recover" money from that 529 by having mine do exactly what you describe...but I fear I'll be in the same boat.
 

PolarXJ

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#20
Being that I am currently in college I have a little insight. A little back ground first. I am a 32 year old college student. I decided to go to school after 10 years in the military. I am using my GI Bill benefits so cost of school isn't something that drove my college decisions. I started my college path going to Washington State University at one of their remote campuses. It was a good school but very expensive. I got distracted while I was there and made the decision to go to our local Community College.

With the said what I can tell you is that I found that I like the CC much better for getting the gen ed classes out of the way. The instructors here seem to care more about student success than the money factory large schools. A lot of people talk down on community colleges and I am not sure why. Classes here are the exact same as at the more expensive classes at larger schools. An added benefit to CC is that there are more non traditional students their. People that have a lot of real life experience that often contribute more to class discussions than at the bigger schools that are primarily filled with high schooners that have never experienced anything other than high school. I feel like it is better exposure in the CC arena. I wish I would have started at the CC level first. Cheaper, more resources to help students, ease of access, transfer programs.
 
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