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Old 04-22-2013, 07:46 AM   #616
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Originally Posted by mom2rtk View Post
One of my sons is on a scholarship through a cooperative agreement with my husband's work. So not something available to the general public so not really pertinent to this discussion. The one heading to school this next year didn't like the schools available under the deal at my husband's work, so turned it down. (That was really hard to do). He does have merit scholarships to cover the tuition at the other school he chose, but will have to pay for room and board. He will take loans to cover part of it, and will have work study and summer employment (hopefully) to cover the rest. It is an engineering school, and our understanding is that there could be good paying coop opportunities as he gets older that will hopefully reduce the amount he will have to take in loans.

I'm ok with him taking the loans since they won't be excessive, and since he's going into a field with excellent employment potential. If he was undecided about a major, or wanted to major in something with less reliable employment potential (history, philosophy, etc.) I would have more misgivings.

He really wanted to attend Purdue, which is a higher ranked engineering school, and was accepted, but would have had to come up with $30K a year to do so. That actually made the decision VERY easy to make.

I have several nephews just finishing up college (one graduated last year, two will graduate in a few weeks). They worked their way through school (2 from the local branch of our state university system). They worked summers leading up to college and worked while they were in school. They lived at home part of the time and shared an apartment closer to campus part of the time.

When I went away to school, I worked and lived on campus my first year. Money was very tight and I wasn't sure if I could pull it together to go back the next year. That's where you have to get creative. At many schools, you can move off campus after the freshman year. Sophomore year I moved in with a family in town and traded room and board for after school and weekend babysitting. The next year I moved out of there into a single room with some older ladies near campus. I also worked full-time after class and on weekends.

There ARE creative ways of pulling it all together. I actually believe that is an important part of the process. But the student has to have the drive, has to "own" the process and really want it. For a student without the drive, it certainly gets more complicated.
So the loans he is taking (max $5500 for Stafford) will cover his tuition/room and board completely, or is there a gap?

For us, aside from a community college, the next cheapest option is a state school. Even those are about $23K, total cost. My DS will have loans, he qualified for grants, and will be working- but there will still be a gap. We haven't received the financial aid package from the school yet (a whole other issue) but I am thinking the gap will be no more than $10K a year. Probably between $7K and $10K. He has under $2K in savings currently, and will be working this summer as a camp counselor away from home. He will work on campus. He WILL be contributing. But he really wants to go away, and I feel like I really need to do what I can to help him. We are not the parents who write out the $30K tuition check and never look back. I could never, and would never, do that. But he is coming up a little short, and helping him will give us debt. We can make the payments- not concerned about that. Just makes me a little itchy to take debt on when we have none.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:00 AM   #617
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So the loans he is taking (max $5500 for Stafford) will cover his tuition/room and board completely, or is there a gap?

For us, aside from a community college, the next cheapest option is a state school. Even those are about $23K, total cost. My DS will have loans, he qualified for grants, and will be working- but there will still be a gap. We haven't received the financial aid package from the school yet (a whole other issue) but I am thinking the gap will be no more than $10K a year. Probably between $7K and $10K. He has under $2K in savings currently, and will be working this summer as a camp counselor away from home. He will work on campus. He WILL be contributing. But he really wants to go away, and I feel like I really need to do what I can to help him. We are not the parents who write out the $30K tuition check and never look back. I could never, and would never, do that. But he is coming up a little short, and helping him will give us debt. We can make the payments- not concerned about that. Just makes me a little itchy to take debt on when we have none.
Son #2 has the tuition covered with merit scholarships, but r/b is around $10K. He will take the loan, and put that with the small fund he has in savings and graduation gifts to cover the first year. He will then start working and saving to put it together for the next year. (If he comes up a little short, but had a successful first year and is on track, of course we'll help out some. But it's complicated when you have 3 kids and are trying to be consistent.) Then by his Junior year, he should have some coop options to make a little more money. Part of this is a leap of faith for us. But this is our self-starter kid. I know he'll go to class. I know if he has trouble in class he'll reach out for help and not pull away.

Every kid is different, as is the risk I'd be comfortable with them (or us) taking (cost-wise). I'd be nervous about going into debt for my child's college without great confidence that they can be successful that first year.

Just because he NEEDS to get away and learn more independence does not mean it will happen. (And it doesn't mean he can't learn the independence living at home either.) Unfortunately that comes with a big price tag so you have to do a lot of soul searching in making the decision whether to send him.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:02 AM   #618
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Originally Posted by marcyinPA View Post
I have been getting a lot of advice from friends and a lot of it includes sending my son to community college for 2 years to save money. While I have no problem at all with community college, and I think it would be a perfect choice financially, my DS17 NEEDS to go away. He is super dependent on my DH and I, and he really needs to grow up. We give him responsibilities around here, but he is the type of kid who is afraid of everything and in turn, that sabotages everything he tries. He failed his license test 6 weeks ago- and has another test scheduled for the end of April- but he's not driving yet. He finally does his own wash, but it took months of me saying "yes, that's right" until he could do it with NO input from me at all. I need him out of here for his own good. He needs to know he can survive on his own, and if he makes a mistake, it's OK and he will bounce back.

So, we are probably going to go into some major debt, against our house, on this kid. I am terrified of this. We are currently debt-free. So I ask- in your opinion, is this a good reason to go into debt?
I'm all for being debt-free, but when you're talking about college, that's really hard to do. My dd is just finishing up her freshman year. We considered her going to a community college for the first year or two, but in all reality? It would be hard for her to fit in coming in her junior year at a four year college/university. When they all arrive as freshmen, they are all in the same boat...trying to find their way, being nervous, making new friends. It really helps to be among others in the same boat. Arrive two years later and if you aren't really a confident, outgoing person, you may very well have some issues.
So, dd will have about $30,000 in debt when she graduates...subsidized and unsubsidized loans. We did take out a sizable loan for this first year, but then came into some money that would take care of the next 3 years. It's not cheap, but we decided that we would be responsible for dd's college education. It would have been nicer/easier if she had chosen a state school at just under $20,000 total, vs a private college at $46,000, but her choice is a perfect fit for her.
So, we will make some lifestyle changes in order to give her this shot. She will have money invested as well, which I think is important.

So, if you can swing it, let your ds go off on his own. He'll do just fine!! It's amazing what they can do if no one else is around to help them with it!!! If you and he can find a school that meets his needs, not too far from home, it might be the perfect match. Our dd is just under 90 mins from home, so we can head down there and visit and see her shows or she can come home and be pampered if she gets really sick...which has happened several times this year!!! So much nicer than having to get on a plane and fly to them!!
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:12 AM   #619
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Our dd is just under 90 mins from home, so we can head down there and visit and see her shows or she can come home and be pampered if she gets really sick...which has happened several times this year!!! So much nicer than having to get on a plane and fly to them!!
That really seems like just the perfect distance away. The 3 1/2 hour drive to our second son's school is what is scaring me so much. There isn't even major highway there from here. And no flights. Just a solid 3 1/2 hour drive, the last hour of which is on winding 2 lane highway through very small towns. (Fortunately it's probably going to be harder on me than it is on him......)

He actually turned down full tuition, room and board at a private university here in our metro area. So tempting to think of no debt, and being close to home. But they didn't have a full engineering program. He would have left there with a 3 year physics degree, but would have had to do 2 more years somewhere else to get the engineering part of it. (A big unknown cost-wise) And what you say about forming a group and sticking with it was part of the consideration. So we all gulped hard, and he turned it down.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:48 AM   #620
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So, it seems we've reached a final decision today. Not feeling too great about it yet.

DS was accepted into West Virginia University's Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering program. This major has an in-state rate for Virginia residents. My DD attends this school and we do love it, but, financially it is very risky for us. My DD started at this school with an "in-state tuition" major but just changed it last year. So for at least two semesters we are paying out-of-state rates. I can tell you--it's not pretty, especially with #2 entering college in the fall.

Mech/Aerospace has a very high wash-out rate and we were all concerned that he would love the school and either disliek the major or not be able to make it and then he would be left with having to change schools because I cannot afford for him to stay there.

It was with a very heavy heart that he cancelled his acceptance this morning.

He is now on-track for attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. We visited about 2 weeks ago and it was a great experience. We loved just about everything about it; however, the engineering major is not what he wants. It is general engineering, it is a newish major for this school. But, we figured, if he washes out of the major, he has about 190 other majors to choose from and he can stay there. If he decides that engineering is for him and he wants to specialize, he can transfer out from there and probably could end up at WVU once he's sure.

Of course, his top choice is Virginia Tech. He's on the waitlist there. If he gets pulled off, he will attend there under a non-engineering major and try to transfer in later if that's what he still wants.

So, I feel good that we are making progress but it's really hard to turn down a school that you really liked. It would be great if money was no object!!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:12 AM   #621
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I'm sorry, Christine. I totally understand. My daughter is committed to Otterbein, and I know it is a wonderful school for theatre. However, it isn't her first choice and not where I would have picked. Unfortunately, Point Park was just too far out of our financial reach. Otterbein is going to be bad enough. The loss of Point Park is one neither of is getting over easily.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:14 AM   #622
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So, I feel good that we are making progress but it's really hard to turn down a school that you really liked. It would be great if money was no object!!!
I know what you mean. We just told DS's top choice that he wouldn't be attending because of money.

I know it is frustrating, and I have been trying to have this "it happens for a reason" mindset. But I know that is really hard to think that way when your kid is broken up about it. I feel guilty that we can't do more for our son. Unfortunately, a series of hard times (job layoffs and pay cuts) set us back quite a bit, and saving for retirement took a front seat to saving for college. We do what we can, while still trying to help him get the best experience.

We are seeing an accountant this afternoon to try and get a handle on how to pay for the state school he was accepted to. Most of the money DS has for college is in savings bonds, which are unfortunately in his name. He has several thousand dollars of money that I'm not sure we can use tax free, and may end up hurting us in the long run. We still have not received a firm financial aid package from them, but did receive a verbal. We will need to cough up more than I had anticipated and we are going to have to get creative with how we are going to pay for it. We have also put community college on the table as an alternative, but my DS does not want to go there. He will listen to our ideas about it, but in the end, he has his heart set on going away (even if it's only 45 minutes away). This has been a very difficult thing to go through in the past several weeks, and our emotions have been all over the place.

So right now, we still have no decision- but the deposit is due Wednesday. God help us!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:35 AM   #623
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I know what you mean. We just told DS's top choice that he wouldn't be attending because of money.

I know it is frustrating, and I have been trying to have this "it happens for a reason" mindset. But I know that is really hard to think that way when your kid is broken up about it. I feel guilty that we can't do more for our son. Unfortunately, a series of hard times (job layoffs and pay cuts) set us back quite a bit, and saving for retirement took a front seat to saving for college. We do what we can, while still trying to help him get the best experience.

We are seeing an accountant this afternoon to try and get a handle on how to pay for the state school he was accepted to. Most of the money DS has for college is in savings bonds, which are unfortunately in his name. He has several thousand dollars of money that I'm not sure we can use tax free, and may end up hurting us in the long run. We still have not received a firm financial aid package from them, but did receive a verbal. We will need to cough up more than I had anticipated and we are going to have to get creative with how we are going to pay for it. We have also put community college on the table as an alternative, but my DS does not want to go there. He will listen to our ideas about it, but in the end, he has his heart set on going away (even if it's only 45 minutes away). This has been a very difficult thing to go through in the past several weeks, and our emotions have been all over the place.

So right now, we still have no decision- but the deposit is due Wednesday. God help us!!
I can sympathize with all of you. It is so very hard and confusing. My DS is. 2011 HS graduate and its now 2 yrs later so I can sit back and remember theses days. We have "x" amount of money set aside and were very seriously hurt with the recession. We told DS that where he goes will be how long the money lasts. We tried th CC route and he wanted nothing to do with it. He picked a state school 2 hrs away for $23K per year. NJ State schools are still expensive. He got through 1.5 semesters, totally hated it and withdrew. He is currently at the CC and wished he started there. We lost $ on his 2nd semester but not much we could do. He will transfer to a local college and still live home when he's done with CC (his choice) as he knows he blew money away and wants as little debt as possible. Our neighbor got there DS to go to CC by offering to buy him a car. The car won out. We've made mistakes along the way but in the end it will work out.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:39 AM   #624
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Christine--I totally get you not being comfortable with the decision. It's such a huge one, and we all wish money didn't play a role, but of course, it does. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the college costs and loans for DD.

One thing I will say--I don't know anything about James Madison specifically, but I've heard of the idea of the general engineering major. It actually makes a lot of sense. Even when I was in engineering school (back in the Stone Age, i.e., the 1980's), there were a ton of overlapping classes, and it wasn't possible to take all the classes in your major (EE, in my case). So, switching from, say, electrical to chemical was darn near impossible, especially if graduating in 4 years was your goal. And this was when computers were still in their relative infancy. So, the good news if he winds up there is that he'll have a lot of good engineering basics that should easily transfer to any other school. You're right about aerospace having a high drop-out rate, so concentrating on the mech. eng. end of things, and gong for aerospace as a graduate program, makes a lot of sense. If he's dedicated, he'll make it through--or, maybe he'll find another branch that suits him better. FTR, DH is an ME currently working as a nuke--something he never studied as an undergraduate.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:50 AM   #625
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I can sympathize with all of you. It is so very hard and confusing. My DS is. 2011 HS graduate and its now 2 yrs later so I can sit back and remember theses days. We have "x" amount of money set aside and were very seriously hurt with the recession. We told DS that where he goes will be how long the money lasts. We tried th CC route and he wanted nothing to do with it. He picked a state school 2 hrs away for $23K per year. NJ State schools are still expensive. He got through 1.5 semesters, totally hated it and withdrew. He is currently at the CC and wished he started there. We lost $ on his 2nd semester but not much we could do. He will transfer to a local college and still live home when he's done with CC (his choice) as he knows he blew money away and wants as little debt as possible. Our neighbor got there DS to go to CC by offering to buy him a car. The car won out. We've made mistakes along the way but in the end it will work out.
I'm living this now. DD could go to CC (Hudson Co. ) for free but she wants no part of it. Went to Monmouth University yesterday and she loved it. What's not to love. Except the pricetag. Right now it's at $40,500 per year and she qualified for about $12k in merit. But I had to point out that I thought the marine science program at Richard Stockton seems better than MU. Since it was a tour and not an open house she didn't get to listen to the departmental presentation but an admission's counsellor gave her his card and said he'd be happy to put her in touch with a professor from that department. We also have the option of going back for an open house in October. The deal with Richard Stockton, which is less expensive and seems to have a better program, is that she will get a used car. I can't see her living there without one. But I do have to admit the campus of MU is stunning. But it can't be about the campus, it has to be about the program.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:51 AM   #626
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So, it seems we've reached a final decision today. Not feeling too great about it yet.

DS was accepted into West Virginia University's Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering program. This major has an in-state rate for Virginia residents. My DD attends this school and we do love it, but, financially it is very risky for us. My DD started at this school with an "in-state tuition" major but just changed it last year. So for at least two semesters we are paying out-of-state rates. I can tell you--it's not pretty, especially with #2 entering college in the fall.

Mech/Aerospace has a very high wash-out rate and we were all concerned that he would love the school and either disliek the major or not be able to make it and then he would be left with having to change schools because I cannot afford for him to stay there.

It was with a very heavy heart that he cancelled his acceptance this morning.

He is now on-track for attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. We visited about 2 weeks ago and it was a great experience. We loved just about everything about it; however, the engineering major is not what he wants. It is general engineering, it is a newish major for this school. But, we figured, if he washes out of the major, he has about 190 other majors to choose from and he can stay there. If he decides that engineering is for him and he wants to specialize, he can transfer out from there and probably could end up at WVU once he's sure.

Of course, his top choice is Virginia Tech. He's on the waitlist there. If he gets pulled off, he will attend there under a non-engineering major and try to transfer in later if that's what he still wants.

So, I feel good that we are making progress but it's really hard to turn down a school that you really liked. It would be great if money was no object!!!
So you definitely know what I meant by "gulping hard" and moving forward.

I hope all goes well for him. I bet it gets easier to get excited once you get a little more time past turning down the other school.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:53 AM   #627
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I don't know if I posted. My daughter chose Binghamton. Very excited for her!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:56 AM   #628
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I can sympathize with all of you. It is so very hard and confusing. My DS is. 2011 HS graduate and its now 2 yrs later so I can sit back and remember theses days. We have "x" amount of money set aside and were very seriously hurt with the recession. We told DS that where he goes will be how long the money lasts. We tried th CC route and he wanted nothing to do with it. He picked a state school 2 hrs away for $23K per year. NJ State schools are still expensive. He got through 1.5 semesters, totally hated it and withdrew. He is currently at the CC and wished he started there. We lost $ on his 2nd semester but not much we could do. He will transfer to a local college and still live home when he's done with CC (his choice) as he knows he blew money away and wants as little debt as possible. Our neighbor got there DS to go to CC by offering to buy him a car. The car won out. We've made mistakes along the way but in the end it will work out.
PA state schools are not cheap either. Almost $19K per year. I swear, we live in the wrong states!

I think a little part of me is worried that my DS might do the same thing as yours- end up not liking it as much as he thought he would- and then that money is down the drain. But like you did, I feel like we have to give him a chance. He is adamant that this is what he wants- that he loves Kutztown U and can see himself there. We've visited twice now, and he loved it even more the second time. I hope he stays with it if we go that route- but like you- if he doesn't, we will have to re-group and move on. We tried the car "bribe", btw- and my DS could care less. He doesn't even have his license yet. He goes on Tuesday for the test- round 2. Failed the last one because he forgot to signal parallel parking. Grr.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:57 AM   #629
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I don't know if I posted. My daughter chose Binghamton. Very excited for her!
Congrats!!! She must be relieved to know that she has passed another hurdle and is one step closer!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:39 AM   #630
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PA state schools are not cheap either. Almost $19K per year. I swear, we live in the wrong states!

I think a little part of me is worried that my DS might do the same thing as yours- end up not liking it as much as he thought he would- and then that money is down the drain. But like you did, I feel like we have to give him a chance. He is adamant that this is what he wants- that he loves Kutztown U and can see himself there. We've visited twice now, and he loved it even more the second time. I hope he stays with it if we go that route- but like you- if he doesn't, we will have to re-group and move on. We tried the car "bribe", btw- and my DS could care less. He doesn't even have his license yet. He goes on Tuesday for the test- round 2. Failed the last one because he forgot to signal parallel parking. Grr.
Best of luck to him on that second driving test. My oldest had a terrible time and just sitting in the car with the uniformed examiner made him too nervous to concentrate. We ended up having to hire a private teacher to take him out. He finally passed 2 days before starting his daily commute to college.

It does sound like your son has the "drive" to go where he's headed. I do think that's half the battle. If they want it really bad, they are more willing to fight for their success.
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