For the OP: At a minimum, my kid will work a small part-time job to pay for spending money beyond tuition/room/board/books. We'll pay for an in-state degree. This will result in no loans & his small UTMA (that we never should have started - gee thanks USPA-IRA) upon graduation.
Now, to jump into the fray.
Rodc wrote:....But is that honor worth $200K, when you can get an excellent education for free? When that money can be used for grad school instead? I can understand how a parent could really struggle with that question.
First world problems to be sure, but I can see the difficulty. It is not just a dollars and sense proposition.
..... So while I don't value the name myself and would never pay such a differential, I cannot deny that it comes with significant benefits.
For many, the choice of State U or Ivy isn't the be all or end all. I'd like to think my son could get in - a couple certainly filled our mail box/inbox - but reputation is fleeting unless you want to be in politics, big finance, big law, academia, or use the secret handshake to open doors regardless of actual ability. That's not just an Ivy thing, but a truism about any school with an elitist or storied past. There is a future & life beyond the east coast. Off my soap box.
One's desired major often limits where they can go. My son wants nuke engineering which narrows the field considerably. Ivy league? Could care less. I think that other middle/upper-middle income folks like us throw a lot more into the mix which makes things messy.
We are dealing with:
- So do you pay minimal out-of-pocket (considering you have most of the cost covered in prepaid & 529 account) for excellent flagship State U, be the out-of-state near-full ride scholarship guy at a lesser quality school, or pay the additional $27k a year for a top 5 out-of-state engineering school with greater co-op availability (increasing likelihood of job upon graduation)?
- Does he go to flagship school then "better" grad school? (why am I worried about his grad school?)
- Are you prepared to do this for both kids?
- Can you forgo 7 years of retirement savings/drawing from taxable holdings?
- Should we then go back to two working parents?
- Will you regret decision when kid changes major to sociology, anthropology, or gender studies?
I'll be glad when we come to some resolution.
The destination matters.