What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

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fortfun
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What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by fortfun »

I never thought I'd be this parent, but here I am. My son has been accepted to, and wants to attend UCLA. He plans to double major in Computer Science and Math. He's very smart. I think the cost with out of state tuition, housing, etc. is upwards of 75k/yr.

He could attend Colorado State University for about 17k/yr.

Like most students, he wants to get out of town and go some place new.

I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA. That's what the stats say but I'm not so sure. UCLA does have highly ranked computer science and math departments (for whatever that is worth).

We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder. His mom says she's okay working longer to cash flow it (I'm 50, she's 52).

Our retirements are pretty well funded and we have no debt. Any words of wisdom for me or my son. I want to support his desire to attend the school he wants but I know that it is a terrible financial decision.
bstewartny
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by bstewartny »

We are in a similar situation.
Son is going to a private SEC school (out of state).
We wont get financial aid.
His application was too late for merit scholarships.
But he loved the school.
He dreamed about going to an SEC school since he was little.
He hated the in-state schools.
I want him to like his school.
He is going to do CS (same as me).
I am confident with CS degree he'll make enough to justify the extra costs.
Like you will be cash flowing most of it as 529b only has about 1/2 whats needed.
I think your son going for CS+Math is great (it WILL be hard).
I would tell him to make sure he gets his money worth - learn the material, and have fun too (not too much!)
College goes by fast in any case.
Oblivious
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Oblivious »

UCLA is a much better school than Colorado State. It'll offer more networking and exit opportunities. It would also stand out on a resume for getting that first job. Even if it were just for a degree in marketing UCLA would stand out more. I would say it's well worth the extra cost. Your son needs to make sure they take advantage of it, it goes by fast.
psteinx
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by psteinx »

He's perhaps looking at raw salary data comparing salaries for grads of UCLA vs. Colorado St.

But what that doesn't take into account is that most UCLA CS grads (and other CS grads from other Cals, Cal States, etc.) work in SoCal or the Bay Area, earning ~inflated California pay packages. A fair chunk, though probably not all, of that inflated pay package is offset by higher housing costs, taxes, and general CoL in California.

That said, you certainly *CAN* go to college outside of California and move there for a tech job. Many folks do.

So, he shouldn't read the +30% or whatever pay premium on CS for UCLA vs. Colorado St. as a ~free lunch. Rather, working in tech in California is a somewhat attractive (not free) lunch, compared to other locales, and more kids who graduate from college in California take up these offers, but you can also go to school, cheaply, in Colorado, then move to California. Also, there's a lot that's appealing about Colorado itself, both for college and post-college.
anewboglehead
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by anewboglehead »

You are in a tough spot.

A few questions may help you clarify:
1) What do you value more - the desire to support your son in his choice or 230K?
2) Are there ways to support your son in his choice, and not be responsible for the entire cost? From your post it appears that you view college as his choice and your responsibility.
3) Is there some judgment or pre-existing beliefs on your part? You call it a "terrible" financial decision. Terrible is a judgment, perhaps you could replace it with a fact, something like "more expensive". "Terrible" implies it is more expensive AND something (perhaps not worth it in your mind, etc) - what makes it terrible to you?

Just my two cents, if they are not helpful please disregard.

Congrats to your son for his acceptance into UCLA for CS and Math - it's pretty competitive so kudos to him for that!
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by jebmke »

Oblivious wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:47 pm UCLA is a much better school than Colorado State. It'll offer more networking and exit opportunities. It would also stand out on a resume for getting that first job. Even if it were just for a degree in marketing UCLA would stand out more. I would say it's well worth the extra cost. Your son needs to make sure they take advantage of it, it goes by fast.
I would have a difficult time trying to convince someone not to go to one of the top schools in the CA system. During my management years, they were a top source for recruiting talent.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
niagara_guy
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by niagara_guy »

I had similar situation with a child long ago. Child wanted to go to expensive private school in another state, I said I would give child enough money to attend a public instate school, child took out a loan and went one semester to private school, found out it was not worth it and then went to good public instate school for undergrad. I think that was a good way to handle this.
CletusCaddy
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by CletusCaddy »

How much inheritance are you on track to leave to your son?

Just give him that amount now.
calwatch
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by calwatch »

I think he and you could afford it, especially if he gets into tech. Just recognize that the caliber of students is going to be a lot higher and that there are no shortcuts, UCLA and Berkeley in STEM are notorious for weeding unprepared folks out. But if you make it through the freshman and sophomore years, the opportunities at the end of the line are going to be much greater than Colorado State.
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cchrissyy
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by cchrissyy »

oh wow that's tough, imo the the sizable price difference reflects the size of the educational experience.
if i had the funds, i would do it. but if it meant debt for me or the student, i would not.
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poor & ignorant soul
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by poor & ignorant soul »

It may be receding (too soon to tell) but University degree as a marker of intelligence and social class is a real thing.
If he plans on staying in California a UCLA degree will help him blend in, if he returns to Colorado he might stand out. If he wants to dive headfirst into the California software start up scene then he might as well move there now. However if he's interested in mining lithium for batteries, or building technology to defend America then being away from California's unique neurosis might help him.

UCLA is prestigious enough that your car mechanic might comment on how 'smart' he is. Of course, he is the same person regardless of where he attends.

My parents paid for my entire undergrand education, at a comparably expensive school. Perhaps I would have appreciated it more, and better utilized the opportunities I had, if I had to pay for part of it.

I believe that the students he surrounds himself with are more important than the professors. Different people are at different schools.
thedaybeforetoday
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by thedaybeforetoday »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm I never thought I'd be this parent, but here I am. My son has been accepted to, and wants to attend UCLA. He plans to double major in Computer Science and Math. He's very smart. I think the cost with out of state tuition, housing, etc. is upwards of 75k/yr.

He could attend Colorado State University for about 17k/yr.

Like most students, he wants to get out of town and go some place new.

I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA. That's what the stats say but I'm not so sure. UCLA does have highly ranked computer science and math departments (for whatever that is worth).

We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder. His mom says she's okay working longer to cash flow it (I'm 50, she's 52).

Our retirements are pretty well funded and we have no debt. Any words of wisdom for me or my son. I want to support his desire to attend the school he wants but I know that it is a terrible financial decision.

We had our kids pay us a flat 10% of all net costs (room/board/tuition/books/fees).

Not sure what your son thinks or what has been spoken about how much of his post high school education is his financial responsibility?
"When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them." R. Dangerfield
adamthesmythe
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by adamthesmythe »

I know a kid who majored in applied math at UCLA and now works for Google. A good outcome.

Thing is, you never know. Does it make a difference? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

I have seen that the more professional the parent the higher the ambition and the more likely they will fund a better school if they can.
sphinx2020
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by sphinx2020 »

poor & ignorant soul wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:54 pm It may be receding (too soon to tell) but University degree as a marker of intelligence and social class is a real thing.
If he plans on staying in California a UCLA degree will help him blend in, if he returns to Colorado he might stand out. If he wants to dive headfirst into the California software start up scene then he might as well move there now. However if he's interested in mining lithium for batteries, or building technology to defend America then being away from California's unique neurosis might help him.

UCLA is prestigious enough that your car mechanic might comment on how 'smart' he is. Of course, he is the same person regardless of where he attends.

My parents paid for my entire undergrand education, at a comparably expensive school. Perhaps I would have appreciated it more, and better utilized the opportunities I had, if I had to pay for part of it.

I believe that the students he surrounds himself with are more important than the professors. Different people are at different schools.
100% this. I attended an in state school and was way overqualified…. While my career still turned out just fine, I have faced recruiting barriers due to “school snobbery” and regret selling myself short. Your son’s college experience will be much better at a school like UCLA where he is surrounded by equally bright and ambitious peers.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by neilpilot »

Back when our daughter was considering schools, she wanted to go to an out-of-state school vs the state university. Cost (about 15 years ago) would have been 25k/yr vs 4k/yr, and both schools were academically rated about the same for her field of study.

Even though we could afford it, and would have eventually agreed to pay, I wanted to determine how much she really preferred the out-of-state school. So I told her that we'd pay for half the difference, and she'd need to use loans for the rest.

She decided to stay in-state, and it all worked out fine.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Our experience with a similar student (CS in a very math focused way) was that the difference in costs were dwarfed by the internships and even more so the salary upon graduation. It was not even close. It might NOT be the horrible financial decision you think it is. That assumes that your assessment of his intelligence is accurate and that he will thrive in a competitive environment.

We were in a financial situation where we didn’t “clawback” his internship pay, except that we had a rule that any expenses that were completely discretionary (e.g., trip to Europe with GF) were on him. I’m sure that your student would understand that graduating debt free is almost as good as graduating with a brokerage balance.
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OnTrack2020
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by OnTrack2020 »

Take $85k in 529 and divide by 4 years = est $21k per year. So, now you would need to basically come up with $75k-21k per year = $54k per year plus whatever school tuition increase might be.

We (similar situation, only private in-state) used 1/4 of what we had saved toward tuition/fees every year, child had renewable scholarships, used husband's bonus money every spring, AOTC/tax refund money, child worked and helped pay a few thousand a year, I wrote a check every paycheck that went directly into savings to be able to pay for tuition and such the following year, small loan freshman year only. (Start writing those checks to savings now. :happy )

Child also majored in CS.
Last edited by OnTrack2020 on Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
er999
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by er999 »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm

I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA. That's what the stats say but I'm not so sure. UCLA does have highly ranked computer science and math departments (for whatever that is worth).

We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder. His mom says she's okay working longer to cash flow it (I'm 50, she's 52).

Our retirements are pretty well funded and we have no debt. Any words of wisdom for me or my son. I want to support his desire to attend the school he wants but I know that it is a terrible financial decision.
If you cash flow the difference it won’t be a terrible financial decision for your son as he won’t be paying any extra. You just need to make sure it isn’t a terrible financial decision for you and your wife. If your retirement is already funded, you are debt free, and willing to work the next four years, might be worth it.

It might be a bad financial choice if he had to borrow and extra $232k ($75k - $17k x 4 years) but doesn’t sound like that’s the case.
flarf
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by flarf »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder.
You have a super smart kid and you make a lot of money. What's the problem?

I'd be thrilled if one day my son was in the same position as yours.
OrangeKiwi
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by OrangeKiwi »

flarf wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:12 pm
fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder.
You have a super smart kid and you make a lot of money. What's the problem?

I'd be thrilled if one day my son was in the same position as yours.
Yes, unless you have some reason to doubt your son’s capabilities, this is an easy bet.
Elysium
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Elysium »

OP,

This is a no brainer. It seems you folks can afford it, that's all there to it, forget the value comparison etc. It's pointless discussion when you are not talking about two very similar schools. UCLA is where he got in and where he wants to go, and so long as you are confident he will make the best out of the opportunity then go ahead with paying for it. Value of college degree is all about whether you can afford it, nothing more than that. If you can afford then UCLA is definitely value added. If my son got into UCLA then I'd have paid for it without question, he goes to a middle of the road OOS school for CS & Math and is doing well. We are paying $200K plus, as he didn't want to attend our state school.
Last edited by Elysium on Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by lthenderson »

As our children grew, we told them many times that we were saving money for their college education and they know the balance of their account. They also know that while the choice of college is up to them, the amount we are contributing to their college education is that balance and not a penny more. If they want to incur debt to get a degree far away at an expensive school, that choice is theirs to make. Our eldest made her decision and will be attending a in-state college and has several scholarships.

While we would have most likely supported her financially as much as we could had she chosen an out-of-state expensive college, I wanted her to be willing to take on that debt to ensure she was sure it was the right decision for her.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by HomeStretch »

If money isn’t an issue, consider paying the higher tuition in full. Your son would likely prefer to go to his school of choice rather than inherit or receive a gift in the future from you.

There was post in a past thread that stuck with me where the poster went to their #2 choice commuter school (after their parents had said they could not afford #1), felt their career suffered for it and was blindsided to find out his parents had a very large estate years later. It was one of the things that convinced me to give more with a warm hand now to my kids when the gifts are more impactful than a large bequest in their later years.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
trustquestioner
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by trustquestioner »

I wouldn’t think twice about paying for UCLA. Great for him getting in, it’s very hard these days.
valleyrock
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by valleyrock »

A couple of points:

--Just because he's late to apply for scholarships and other aid this year does not prevent applying for that next year. So he could go now and try to reduce costs later.

--Or go local and transfer as a junior. 30% of college students change schools.

--Colorado State air quality is much better than in LA. Movies filmed in LA often look like they're in a cloud. Point being, the environment may be a consideration.

--A bachelor's degree need not be the end of it. Do very well, then get a master's at a high end university. Then that box is checked. More school can be more fun, too, even with the hard work.

--UCLA has famous Hollywood types teaching acting, film, and all that. So, if he decides to change and go that route, he's in the right place!
rule of law guy
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by rule of law guy »

this is the type of parental sacrifice that you probably want to make. not just for his sake but for yours and your wife's.

perhaps one idea: draw up a "contract" with son, saying essentially that after his freshman and sophomore years, if his grades are not "satisfactory" as you and he agree to define it, then he will agree to transfer to a cheaper school.

if he is quite advanced in comp sci/math, were you aware of this: https://thielfellowship.org
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Tell him you expect him to work the summers and put 100% of what he earns towards college. Also, he should get Stafford loans that reduce your cost a bit yearly and are 100% on him when he finishes. I know these are not a lot but they help.

I personally started at a lower rated school (Western New England College) and as I would say, aced out. I transferred to Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the workload was at least double. Expectations were much higher and my fellow students were all far more focused on learning. So yah....there's a difference and I saw it first hand. I'm sure I never would have been as successful had I just stayed at WNEC. My first job (DEC) sent me for my Masters at the #1 college at the time for power electronics and paid full boat 3 years into my job.

Hello UCLA.
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alfaspider
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by alfaspider »

I generally think paying out of state tuition for a public college tends to be a horrible deal. You end up paying significantly more than the in-state students for the exact same education. Private schools tend to offer more financial aid than a state school of the same caliber.

That said, it sounds like the die is cast and it's too late to look at other options. Between the two, I think UCLA may be worth considering despite the cost given its strong reputation and stronger connection to the West Coast tech industry. The cost delta is not material relative to a lifetime of earnings. At the same time, there is a realistic possibility that he ends up in exactly the same place career-wise, especially if he wants to return to Colorado after graduation.

One thing that students often fail to consider is the regional of school networks, which tends to mean that the best career opportunities will be in the region of the school. Does your son want to live in California or Colorado after graduation? While a Colorado employer won't turn their noses up at a UCLA degree, you are throwing away most of the advantage of the UCLA network if you have no intention of staying in California. Likewise, while Colorado State doesn't have the same national reputation as UCLA, its local network may mean it's more at-par with Colorado employers.
hunoraut
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by hunoraut »

1 consideration is does he plan to get a graduate degree? if so, the name brand of the undergrad school becomes less relevant
alfaspider
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by alfaspider »

hunoraut wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:25 pm 1 consideration is does he plan to get a graduate degree? if so, the name brand of the undergrad school becomes less relevant
I think this depends on the field. If you want to go to law school, the undergraduate institution is not very relevant. But in some fields I understand that the professional networks of professors can go a very long way and those networks will be stronger at better undergraduate institutions.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by drk »

I'm surprised that CU Boulder isn't in the comparison.

It's worth asking CSU for the list of companies doing on-campus recruiting. If that doesn't include the type of companies he'd want to work for, getting a job at one of them will be an uphill battle. UCLA is not an automatic "in", but everybody recruits there, so he'll at least have a shot at good internships.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by cjcerny »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm I never thought I'd be this parent, but here I am. My son has been accepted to, and wants to attend UCLA. He plans to double major in Computer Science and Math. He's very smart. I think the cost with out of state tuition, housing, etc. is upwards of 75k/yr.

He could attend Colorado State University for about 17k/yr.

Like most students, he wants to get out of town and go some place new.

I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA. That's what the stats say but I'm not so sure. UCLA does have highly ranked computer science and math departments (for whatever that is worth).

We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder. His mom says she's okay working longer to cash flow it (I'm 50, she's 52).

Our retirements are pretty well funded and we have no debt. Any words of wisdom for me or my son. I want to support his desire to attend the school he wants but I know that it is a terrible financial decision.
You can tell him anything you want to. If you want to tell him he's on the hook for anything above 17k, you can do that. If you want to tell him that you have 85k and he's on the hook for anything above that, you can do that. If you want to foot the whole bill, you can do that too. They're all valid options. Don't let anyone shame you into deciding one way or the other--any decision you and your wife make here is a valid one and not subject to recriminations.

One thing I would keep in mind that that 47% of retired folks didn't retire voluntarily. Their health failed or their employment failed or something else happened that forced them to retire. If you foot the whole bill and suddenly find yourself "retired" against your wishes, you could really be in a tight spot. Personally, I would not trade the security of my retirement for a more expensive education. If the education is truly worth the price premium, then your son will easily earn enough to pay the loans back himself.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by jriding »

We are in a very similar situation as you. DD plans to attend an expensive private school ($80k/year COA) instead of CSU. The difference in our scenarios is that we are sticking to an annual "parent grant" of $35k/year (in-state flagship + some drift). Accounting for merit aid and scholarships, she's on the hook for ~$15k/year. She has been working since 15 and and plans to work summers (it's amazing what ice cream scoopers earn these days!) She's decided the $60k she'll personally spend over four years is worth it to her. I have no doubt that she'll earn every cent, not take any loans, and still have a healthy Roth IRA balance at the end.

All of that is to say, would the extra cost be easier to stomach if your son had skin in the game?
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by oldfatguy »

cjcerny wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:32 pm
You can tell him anything you want to. If you want to tell him he's on the hook for anything above 17k, you can do that. If you want to tell him that you have 85k and he's on the hook for anything above that, you can do that. If you want to foot the whole bill, you can do that too. They're all valid options. Don't let anyone shame you into deciding one way or the other--any decision you and your wife make here is a valid one and not subject to recriminations.

+1 You and your wife should decided how much you are willing to pay toward your son's college costs. Once he has that number, he is free to make his choice about where to attend.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by KlangFool »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm
I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA.
fortfun,

Then, he should not have a problem paying for the difference. Aka, 75K - 17K = 58K per year. He should take a student loan to pay for it.

It is easy to spend someone's else money. There is no cost in making a bad decision.

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Last edited by KlangFool on Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Dornhoefer »

I have a professional degree from UCLA and degrees from two other universities. UCLA is the only school in my will. It is a special place to me, a still newish public university that achieves excellence in many areas, draws a lot of smart, interesting students from different backgrounds, has a nice campus, and is surrounded by a vibrant, interesting city. I think a lot of students would love going there. Just mentioning this as a factor to weigh.
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simplesimon
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by simplesimon »

Sorry if I missed it, the $17k at Colorado doesn't include housing does it?

The two schools are not in the same league. You can tell him you'll pay what you can and he'll have to borrow for the rest. You can decide later if you want to help him with his student loans.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Beensabu »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm We have about 85k in his 529. We could probably cash flow the remainder.
Where does he want to go once you tell him the $85k in his 529 is what he gets for school and he can take out student loans for anything in excess of that?

If he still chooses UCLA, then you can always pay down as much of his loans for him as possible once he graduates.
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next." ~Ursula LeGuin
Modelslashactor
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Modelslashactor »

I looked at UCLA for grad school and you could apply for California residency in your second year of attendance. Not sure if that is an option for undergrad but it would be a big help in reducing costs.
Ependytis
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Ependytis »

niagara_guy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:52 pm I had similar situation with a child long ago. Child wanted to go to expensive private school in another state, I said I would give child enough money to attend a public instate school, child took out a loan and went one semester to private school, found out it was not worth it and then went to good public instate school for undergrad. I think that was a good way to handle this.
+1
As another poster said the OP thinks that it’s his son choice, but his responsibility. I would make sure the kid had some skin in the game as above. Choices without consequences don’t provide a learning opportunity. Also, as another poster said, if UCLA is really worth the difference, then he should have no problem paying for it.

Looking at it from a different angle, if you put the $240,000 into an S&P 500 fund, at 7.2% interest, it would double every 10 years. So at the end of 40 years, he would have -$3.84 million.
Last edited by Ependytis on Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Colorado14
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Colorado14 »

As others have noted, these are very different schools. So, to throw a wrench into this topic, has your son considered the Colorado School of Mines? It's a step (or 3) above CSU in terms of computer science and math, although still isn't UCLA. Obviously disregard this idea if this is not an option that your son would consider.
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fortfun
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by fortfun »

rule of law guy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:20 pm this is the type of parental sacrifice that you probably want to make. not just for his sake but for yours and your wife's.

perhaps one idea: draw up a "contract" with son, saying essentially that after his freshman and sophomore years, if his grades are not "satisfactory" as you and he agree to define it, then he will agree to transfer to a cheaper school.

if he is quite advanced in comp sci/math, were you aware of this: https://thielfellowship.org
Thank you for sharing this.
Firemenot
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Firemenot »

I’d just pay the in-state school amount and the rest is on him.
alfaspider
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by alfaspider »

Colorado14 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:06 pm As others have noted, these are very different schools. So, to throw a wrench into this topic, has your son considered the Colorado School of Mines? It's a step (or 3) above CSU in terms of computer science and math, although still isn't UCLA. Obviously disregard this idea if this is not an option that your son would consider.
It's too late to apply to Mines if he hasn't already.
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hand
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by hand »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm
I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA.
I'm struggling to understand your statement that "he fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision" - UCLA cost is significantly higher, but value would seem to be largely dependent on career outcomes (earnings, quality of jobs available etc.)

It sounds like your son recognizes the cost, but the two of you disagree on the value.

If the two of you are truly agreed that UCLA is a terrible financial decision, then pay for the good financial decision and let him choose whether to spend his own money on the bad decision. (Either give him the money for UCLA and let him keep any savings, or force him to take out loans for the UCLA premium)

If on the other hand, you have the money and the two of you disagree on value, it may make more sense to make the investment in your smart, hardworking son even if you're skeptical he'll get full value from the premium over in-state.

I have a hard time believing a computer / math degree from UCLA isn't worth it's cost.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm I never thought I'd be this parent, but here I am. My son has been accepted to, and wants to attend UCLA. He plans to double major in Computer Science and Math. He's very smart.
Isn't this also about what your son plans to do after college - with his degree? You know him best - will he be able to follow through on his after college plans (move to a new city to get the high paying job)? I would think that having big student loans and than choosing to work in a lower paying job/career path would be a financial disaster. Having big student loans but able to land and keep at a high pay job is not necessarily a financial disaster.

ADDED: having a yearly salary of 150K with 250K in students loans might not be that insurmountable (to get them paid off in a reasonable way/amount of time). Having a yearly salary of 75K and 250K in students loans is probably going to be way more challenging and a long term quality of life effecting thing.
Last edited by LittleMaggieMae on Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pharming2017
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by pharming2017 »

My brother went to a Cal State University college for EE undergrad. He ended up getting a full ride to USC/Caltech MD/PhD program. My point is that if your son is extraordinary it won’t necessarily limit his capabilities in the future. It might be a tad more difficult but I wouldn’t say it’s worth the extra cost.
alfaspider
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by alfaspider »

hand wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:23 pm
fortfun wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:41 pm
I've been through the numbers with him. He fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision. He's certain that he will make much more money with a degree from UCLA.
I'm struggling to understand your statement that "he fully understands that it's a terrible financial decision" - UCLA cost is significantly higher, but value would seem to be largely dependent on career outcomes (earnings, quality of jobs available etc.)

It sounds like your son recognizes the cost, but the two of you disagree on the value.

If the two of you are truly agreed that UCLA is a terrible financial decision, then pay for the good financial decision and let him choose whether to spend his own money on the bad decision. (Either give him the money for UCLA and let him keep any savings, or force him to take out loans for the UCLA premium)

If on the other hand, you have the money and the two of you disagree on value, it may make more sense to make the investment in your smart, hardworking son even if you're skeptical he'll get full value from the premium over in-state.

I have a hard time believing a computer / math degree from UCLA isn't worth it's cost.
An expensive degree from a lightly regarded institution might be a "terrible financial decision." But this is a choice between two good investments: investing in a UCLA degree is higher risk investment, but potentially higher reward. The downside risk is that he pays the extra money but ends up in the same sort of career he would have with the CSU degree. In that case, the "loss" is the extra tuition. But the potential upside is a much more lucrative career. $200k is nothing next to lifetime earnings that could easily be $10 million+ in tech. Regardless, he's on a path that will likely reward him with a remunerative career. This is unlikely to be a situation where the expensive school results in a permanent debt trap.
Last edited by alfaspider on Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jaMichael
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by jaMichael »

Is the UCLA experience and credential worth $232,000 more than the in-state experience and credential? Probably yes if your son is going to enter a lucrative and competitive industry such as computer science. Probably not if your son has less ambitious goals.

Should you foot 100% of the bill for a $300,000 college education? I think that is a harder choice, and a personal one. I went to a fancy undergraduate school but paid for a significant portion of it myself, through work-study jobs and student loans, and I paid for 100% of my own graduate school. I'm glad I contributed.

Hopefully, UCLA would come forward with some aid in years 2 through 4.

Any chance he can defer, take a gap year, and attempt to establish CA residency? Seems like that might be hard to do. https://www.ucop.edu/residency/residenc ... t%20status.
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Re: What to tell son who wants to attend UCLA vs state school.

Post by Arabesque »

Neither of my children went to the state school. Both went to the best school they got into. I am a middle class, single mother. I cash flowed them for the most part, with subsidized loans for #2. It was hard, but worth it. Surprisingly much better for the weaker student: she struggled and succeeded in a heavy math major, not her talent. Both have great jobs.

I didn’t put a high GPA requirement on them because I didn’t want them to avoid hard courses. It was good when Covid hit as a couple of courses online were very hard for #2.

I know my kids, and I knew they both would perform to the best of their ability. I never had to consider issues of “skin in the game.”

UCLA!
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