Are Four-Year Colleges Worth $200k+?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MICHAELSD, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    If I go another route, I feel like I'm robbing myself of the experience of a four-year college. Even though I received some generous scholarships and could have done a program at a top college, I decided to stay home and attend a community college 15 minutes away. It's really no frills, but I've had some fun enough classes. It seems people keep to themselves whereas at a 4-year college I would have made hundreds of new friends and had a better time by now. I feel like the degree itself is unnecessary for entrepreneurship and film, but I could be having the time of my life elsewhere. Then again, $200k is enough for a Lamborghini or a few extra rooms on my house.

    So, do you regret the loans or would you do it again? I'm trying to consider whether living in a dorm or off-campus is better. In some states a decent apartment is affordable but it does seem people in dorms have more fun even though they have no space.
     
  2. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020

    xxBURT0Nxx

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    #2
    there are easy ways to go to school for waaaayyyy less than $200k.

    i mean, if all you want is the experience, just go hang out on campus. You can make friends, get 70% of the experience, and it's free.
     
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #3
    Not sure of what you are really asking. Seems you are just typing out your thoughts.

    No 200k is not worth it for undergrad. However, many 4 year schools cost muuuuuuuch less than that
     
  4. malman89 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    First off, $200k for any education is ridiculous. Even at the most expensive/elite schools, few people pay full sticker price.

    While I have an amazing group of friends, lived in a great city (Chicago), and got to study abroad (Rome), I would probably not do the same if I had the choice. I went to a private out of state university in Chicago and ended up with ~$34k in debt after graduation, which added up to $518/month in student loans (10 year standard repayment). I lump sum paid off two loans, so now that is down to $412/month, but it's still about $30-32k due to interest (Note: At least all my loans are/were federal loans, with interest rates between 2.00-6.55%).

    Then again, I double majored in two things that interested me, but really aren't doing anything for me in the "real world." While I have been gainfully employed since graduation (May 2011 - full time/salaried positions), it isn't what I really want to do. If I majored in something more practical, I might be more accepting of my debt.

    Having to face going back to school to pursue more of what I want to do (Accounting / Finance), I do regret the debt more. I will be going part time at a local community college part time while working and don't expect to add on more debt for this additional schooling, but will pay out of pocket.

    I would advise anyone going into college to either do a community college or at the very least stay in state to minimize expenses. Having the financial freedom/flexibility to do what you want after graduating is something I wish I had more - knowing that $412/month in student loans alone needs to be covered (plus all other bills/expenses) is something that I am always thinking about, even though I am fortunate enough to have a decent paying job with benefits and am not rubbing pennies together.
     
  5. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #5
    I'm asking who's been to a top $50k/year college and if they regret it. Any other recommendations/experiences would be great too.

    The question is more about whether the experience is worth the money, not the degree itself.
     
  6. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #6
    I'd like to know where these schools are. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the most expensive tuition in the country is only around $45k a year, with most far, far less than that.
     
  7. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #7
    When I say $200k, I'm factoring in cost of living and interest. Also not counting financial aid or scholarships into that price (curious how much aid you guys received anyway). Most top schools are $40k/year for tuition alone.
     
  8. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #8
    Honestly, that $200K is better spent on building a ****ing-fantastic film portfolio. If you're going to blow money away like that, invest INTO what you're learning, write some scripts, do some storyboards, buy the cameras and lighting, advertise to the students studying theater, and make a little bit of money doing that kind of business within your school and surrounding community.

    $200K in debt just so you can be up all night partying and meeting new people? You don't seem that serious about your career path, or at least you don't get that this isn't the kind of program where rushed work is better than nothing. Rushed work IS nothing. If you're going to do ANYTHING in film, you better take it seriously, because the work you do NOW, is the rest of your life.
     
  9. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #9
    I agree there about $200k being better spent on indie film production around the campus. Still, I'm not sure I'd convince myself at this point to spend $5k+ per film. That wouldn't be taken seriously compared to an education, especially with family.

    Partying isn't my reason for wanting to consider a top 4-year college. It's part of the experience, but it's the rest of it that I'm not sure I should be skipping as well. The long hours studying and meeting people, etc. Just being on campus and having fresh experiences daily instead of going to a college like I am now where almost everyone seems indifferent to being social and learning.

    As an aside, a film degree doesn't seem like the most practical. A degree in film is almost useless so I'd probably just major in business.
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #10
    Take cost of living out of it; you're going to have to live somewhere whether you go to school or not. And I'm not sure what interest you're talking about, since schools don't generally offer financing...unless something has changed drastically over the last 25 years or so.
     
  11. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    Yes, but at my age that somewhere would be my family's home. It's pointless for anyone to move out if their school is minutes away. An apartment with utilities elsewhere would be ~ $1k+/month. Even dorms range from $3-$7k/school year.

    Federal loans mainly.

    How much financial aid did you guys receive?
     
  12. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #12
    Federal student loans in the US charge 3.9% interest, but that only covers about $7000 a year. If the OP wants to finance the whole $40k per year he would need to take out lots of private loans, which can range from 4-10% interest, don't have income based repayment, and can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

    Sure, a 200k education is worth it if it will get you into a very high paying job in a field you want to be in. For a film degree though? Don't equate "top" schools with expensive ones. The best film schools in the country do NOT cost 40k per year.
     
  13. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #13
    Which would those be? The top schools I've seen (NYU, USC, etc.) are $40k/year minimum.
     
  14. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #14
    What reason do you have to go to those schools? One of the best film schools in the US is UNCW, their out of state tuition is $18k per year.
     
  15. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #15
    Those are two of my and many others' dream schools (USC specifically). UNCW looks okay. Do you have a list of top film schools that have reasonable tuition? All the lists I found had NYU and USC in the top three.

    Judging by your name, it seems like you may have attended film school :cool:. Did you?
     
  16. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #16
    But the interest rate doesn't change from school to school. It's a non-factor when choosing where to attend.
     
  17. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #17
    Still, this thread isn't about price. Although, many of the schools I'm considering are $40k-$65k/year before aid and scholarships. i.e. Boston University states an average rate of $65k/year on their website. No, I wouldn't spend that on a year of education.
     
  18. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #18
    Guess it all depends on what you want to do with your life.

    If you want a useless liberal arts or English degree, then yes, a high-dollar private university is a waste of money for you.

    If you want a quality engineering/business degree or want to end up at a well-ranked profession school (MBA, dental, MD, etc), then the $200k debt is well-worth it. It's all about investing in the future.

    Don't expect to get into a good med school by going to community college and transferring into a state school. They'll weed your application out in the first round.

    ----------

    They're inflating the costs tremendously. It doesn't cost an average of $65k.
     
  19. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #19
    $200,000? **** no.

    I graduated from a four-year college for $80,000. This includes room, food, all the fees, and of course the tuition. And it's not even a public university.

    I didn't actually pay that -- scholarships covered roughly half of it.

    ----------

    Wrong.
     
  20. puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #20
    You don't need to spend $200k to get the college experience, *any* 4 year college will give you that college experience. Hell, you'd probably have more fun at a less prestigious school if you are talking about the overall atmosphere/experience.

    Again, these points have nothing to do with price of the institution. Any 4 year college will give you these experiences. You don't have to go to Harvard to have to spend long nights studying.

    I disagree. A $200k education isn't going to get you that much better of a job than a $100k or $60k education. And actually, I'd say a good school is more important for lib arts than technical or business; an engineering or business degree is pretty much the same in terms of job opportunity when you get out, wherever you went. Sure there are better programs than others, but anyone with an engineering degree from anywhere should be able to land a decent gig.

    Agreed. Look at program quality, not price. I went to the University of Minnesota which cost about $60k out the door at the time, and it was a top 3 chemical engineering program, with MIT and Berkeley. Depending on year, those three are always the top three, in any order.

    Again I disagree. You have much more flexibility in where to go when getting a technical degree, because there's always demand. When going for liberal arts, you should look into top programs because reputation matters a lot more in a liberal arts field.

    OP, I have degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from, as mentioned, a top 3 program. I then went off and taught English in Japan for 3+ years and came home in 2011 when the economy still sucked. Even having been out of school for three years doing something completely unrelated and given the economy, I had a job secured within less than two months.

    Another tidbit for thought, I graduated with $25k in loans, and now that is down to $12k and change. I did actually apply to Columbia and UC San Diego for grad school in international affairs for fall of 2010, and I declined to go. Why? Price, plain and simple. $70k for a masters from UCSD, $140k for a masters from Columbia. It's unfortunate that we have to think this way, but price DOES matter. In my case it would've come down to an income based repayment plan, and that was the red flag for me that I was taking too many student loans. So, as much as I would've like to, I didn't go. It was the best decision of my life. My wife and I now have two new cars and are saving for a house, which we would not be able to have or do anytime soon if I was $150k in the hole.

    It ain't worth it, not even Ivy League.
     
  21. AutoUnion39, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #21
    And your experience in this field is what again?

    You get laughed out of the med school application pool if you took any classes at community colleges (especially pre-reqs). Doesn't matter even if you got As. You are better off going to any state school in the first place. Why would they pick you (community college transfer) over a straight 3.7+/35+ MCAT top-ranked private university applicant? Even if you are a URM, it is very tough.
     
  22. rick3000, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    rick3000 macrumors 6502a

    rick3000

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    #22
    As a recent grad of a 4 year, top 10 and nearly $100k film school (I had a 50% scholarship), I have to push back on what is being said here about film schools. In high school, I did a lot of 'indie' film work and was on a lot of the indie film forums. There is a night and day difference between what you can learn online, and on indie sets, and what you learn in a really good film program. I have never heard half of the things I learned in school even mentioned online.

    If you are dedicated enough to read all the textbooks, and work on as many sets as possible you can get close but otherwise there is no real comparison. Anyone that says to take the money you would spend on school and instead spend it on making films is an idiot. If you are teaching yourself, you really aren't going to learn anything you will just be fine tuning what you already know, not make many, if any, connections, and most importantly no one cares about your indie feature or short. I worked on 25 indie shorts during college, and they are great experience but nothing else, besides a few festival laurels on my website.

    In my opinion, it is worth the money just for the networking ability it brings you, because the entire business is based on who you know. That top 10 film school on your resume will put you above everyone else when you apply to jobs in the industry. However, if money is an issue, get as much on set experience as possible that is the single best suggestion I can make, and try to get on real film projects, not student films. Unless of course you are aspiring to be a videographer in which case everything I just said is irrelevant.
     
  23. AutoUnion39, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

    AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #23
    Of course, it varies tremendously. U Minnesota is a fantastic school, that DOESN'T cost $200k. Same with UNC Chapel Hill, UMich Ann Harbor, Berkley, etc.

    You bring up a good point, it's isn't as clear cut as people make it. There are plenty of highly-ranked state schools that are well-priced. There are plenty of private schools that are junk, yet cost $50k+ a year.

    For an undergrad biz degree, you could spend $55k+ and go to NYU-Stern, or you can go to Indiana, which is also highly ranked.

    The most expensive schools almost always aren't "the best." It all depends on exactly what you want to do and what your budget allows. To pick the best school for themselves, one must look at the rankings of their individual course of study (chemistry, chemical engineering, etc.) and then pick where to go.

    For example, if you want a shot at a top-med school, you have to pretty much go to an elite state-school (Ann Harbor, UCLA, Chapel Hill, etc) or a well-ranked private university. One can't expect a seat at Harvard Med or Business School by going to some crappy state/private university. (UMaine for example)
     
  24. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #24
    There's a very good reason for going to community college first, and it has nothing to do with academic prowess. A community college costs $3,000 for the whole 2 years here. It varies state-by-state, but much cheaper than an university nonetheless. Then you go to a 4-year university to finish up. Instead of $80,000, you end up only $43,000 in the hole without any scholarships or grants.

    And you said "good med schools". Not "top med schools". One has a good shot of getting into a "good med school" if he/she has stellar grades, extracurriculars and honors.
     
  25. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #25
    I went to two state colleges and I still regret not going to community college first to save money.

    The people going to $150k-$180k colleges are the same as those going to $30k-40k colleges (excluding those who are getting free rides), their parents just have more money which affords them better connections which usually means better jobs.
     

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