Expensive vs. Cheap(er) College ???

Since I’m on the topic of college (see yesterdays blog post), lets address the burning question for parents…

How much should we spend? Or let our children spend?

I promised a friend weeks ago that I would blog on this topic. (I’m on it TS, finally…)

Over and over again, I’ve heard that Darling Daughter should go to the college or university where she graduates with the least amount of debt. Or better, with zero debt.

Our family physician said she would have done it differently with her children. That she’s glad they’re all educated–she just wouldn’t have spent so much on those educations!

What’s a parent to do?

The friend who got me started on this topic has been made to feel guilty by her co-workers. They think she should encourage her child to attend a university with a $57,000 per year price tag–even if that means graduating $100K in debt. This friend cannot foot the bill for that $100K, unless she and her husband wish to work until they are 135 years old. And maybe not even then…

I’ve been advised the opposite. That my daughter shouldn’t bother going for a Brand Name college/university (at least for undergraduate studies). That Darling Daughter shouldn’t graduate college saddled with debt.

My experience: I got a BA in Finance 20 years ago. Went where I got the best deal, with most of it paid for by academic scholarships and little needing paid back. I know its archaic, but I knew I  wanted children and I didn’t want to overspend, then not have the option of staying at home to raise my children. A good choice for me. I graduated college. Got married. Had children. Only in my late 30’s and now (at 42) I’m using my degree. Pursuing a career. And really, a four-year degree is common. So many in the workforce (and my competition) are far more educated. Given my divorce, I’m just glad I got ‘the paper’ as my mother called it.

But that’s just me. Plenty of people spend a fortune on their educations, and would do it again. Then there are those who have been incredibly successful, with little, or no college education.

FUN LINKS: (or maybe not so fun…)

PayScale College Earnings Report Visit this site to compare graduate earnings from a variety of colleges.

National University Rankings (Top 10)  This is the US News & World Reports site. Go to the site and you’ll also find best value schools, up and coming schools, best regional schools and so much more.

So, lets debate this, and maybe help our children make solid decisions:



Did you graduate in debt? Or with no debt?


This is a group activity. Participation is welcomed…

6 thoughts on “Expensive vs. Cheap(er) College ???

  1. I think cost is just one part (albeit a really important part) of the decision-making process. I’m not sure who comes out ahead by having a child attend a college that’s a bad fit solely because it avoids debt. All your money will be wasted if she’s miserable and does poorly. That being said, graduating with mountains of debt after a wonderful 4-year experience isn’t great either. I did graduate with some debt, and my daughter is on pace to graduate with about twice what I had (that’s inflation for you!) But at least so far I wouldn’t have changed a thing. In the decision process with my son now and I’m not sure he’ll feel the same way she does about the experience.

  2. You are so right Tricia…makes no sense to send a kid to a school that is a bad fit, because it is cheaper. I guess we all need to weigh the information carefully, look at the financials (maybe see what feels right in our gut…) and then make the best decision we can. From there, we cross our fingers right??

  3. Spending $100 K is common now especially if it’s to Baldwin Wallace College for example. I have LinkedIn friends who are Managers in IT and Business Oriented Companies. They make $80 K to $120 K per year after about 5 years of working in their area. Debt is eventually paid of and that education is known to be very valuable!

    • Of course you probably do!! You are wise and quite smart. You know things. I always tell you that!! Just between you and me (and a few others…) I don’t often name names here…

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