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    #162797 - 07/23/13 09:42 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: intparent]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: intparent

    I have this massive spreadsheet where I tracked everything about D2's college search. I think the most complicated part of it is the financial aid portion -- just tracking all the offers and the differences. And due dates & formats for FA materials to the college. Every one of them has a different set of requirements for CSS forms, how to get tax forms to them, what tax forms they want, and what the due dates for all that stuff is. One thing I will say is that there is no way our kids can just handle and figure this out on their own -- it is super, super complicated, and requires an adult understanding of your finances, assets, taxes, etc. It was practically a full time job to get all the paperwork in this last spring. Some people say you should apply to a LOT of colleges (15-20) to compare FA offers. I think that would have killed me (never mind my kid doing the applications).


    The process would be simpler if colleges charged everyone the same amount (lower than the current list prices), but that amounts to a parental wealth/income test. With a complicated financial aid process, colleges have made the wealth/income test easier for some but added to it a parental IQ/organization/motivation/cooperation test. Some applicants on CC report that their parents refuse to divulge any financial information, putting them in a difficult situation.




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    #162799 - 07/23/13 09:55 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    LOANS. Mostly unsubsidized, and 9K annually are parent loans, not "student" loans.


    And still burns so many years later, that no one explained that the parent loans are not deferred. So, a parent scraping by to meet their portion of the non-covered tuition/expenses can be totally crushed when that loan repayment starts to hit a few months after school starts. (see above, where I was "lucky" enough to attend both a top tier and a mid-level state school.)

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    #162801 - 07/23/13 10:03 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Dude]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    It's not about "getting in" for anyone posting here, I suspect. It's about getting in so that you can extract a good education from that setting at a cost that seems worth it.


    I agree, and the gulf seems to be between the following camps:

    1) This is the only educational option that works for our kids, so no price is too high.

    2) The [rent] is too damned high.

    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    Some kids respond very well to push-parenting (done in moderation, mind). My DD is one of them. Now, our version of "push" parenting is "No, this was your idea, you signed up for it, we paid for it, and you're going to follow through on the commitment."


    That's not pushing, that's just parenting. If the goal is to raise self-sustaining individuals that function well in society, then the ability to follow through on obligations is a critical one.

    Other parents act differently, because apparently they have another goal in mind.



    LOL-- yes, but when your kid is Ghandi-like, the amount of, er.. insistence (ahem) can be fairly extreme. Dealing with this right now, in fact. DD promised to complete a BUNCH of things for fair entry, and she then dragged her feet so that she could socialize for the past six weekends instead of tackling it early. Well, the materials are here and so are her entry cards, so she WILL turn something in. Her choice how picky to be about quality, though. wink



    CFK, the thing that I think differentiates a lot of parents HERE from parents there is that I do see a considerable amount of what I'd call hyper-prepping and Ivy-frenzy there. I just have trouble wading through it, honestly. I also have some trouble believing that "underachievement" is really a huge problem for kids who are statistically most likely to be bright or MG (IQ 120-135) and performing at the 95th percentile. But that seems to be all that I read over at CC, which just makes me appalled, so I tend not to read over there much.

    I can find what I think is WORTH reading by searching specific things out, but it's important to stay away from the HYP(e) there. LOL.

    I'll also say that I think there is a distinct difference between LOOKING top 1% and actually BEING top 1% within the context of a particular population. If you believe everything that people post at CC, then there are an awful lot more of the former than the latter.

    Again, this is why I think this is a different population, in general. It's also a more thoughtful population since only a few of us are really into the stage of being processed by this particular machine.


    I'd add a third group of parents--

    3. Defaults to paying out of pocket because it's too Byzantine to be WORTH figuring the rest of it out at multiple institutions.


    We're leaning this direction in spite of vacillating between perspectives 1 and 2. grin


    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162803 - 07/23/13 10:24 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Interesting article-- lots about the big endowment colleges and about the increasing pressure on those in the UMC w/r/t college costs.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-09-06/the-debt-free-college-degree#p3

    What private colleges consider "need" varies wildly, by the way. At Reed and Stanford, we are considered eligible for "need-based" aid.

    At many institutions, not at all.


    Interesting report on the financials of college attendance from Sallie Mae:

    https://www.salliemae.com/about/news_info/research/how-america-pays/

    The most startling thing about that report is that so FEW parents and students consider cost when applying. I mean, the media reports are treating 67% of families that reported that the eliminated some colleges on the basis of cost as a HIGH value. I'm surprised it's that LOW, honestly.

    I can't even begin to understand that frame of reference that says "money isn't a consideration." :shock:

    This is a reasonably coherent compression of that report:

    The Dark Side of College in One Chart

    ... and another issue which is related to it:
    Loan interest rates not the only problem


    Edited by HowlerKarma (07/23/13 10:47 AM)
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162805 - 07/23/13 10:58 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    I tend to stick to the parent forums on CC, and I stay off the Ivy forums altogether. I do like the financial aid forum. Have also gotten some good info in the past on the summer program forum, and the national merit scholarship one. I have also found it valuable to go back and read old posts on the colleges that aren't tippy top (so there aren't a zillion posts). You can learn a lot about the college isn't mentioning in their marketing materials. Must admit, I have developed a sort of morbid fascination with one school that D considered that is going through a lot of issues -- I still read their forum for the soap opera entertainment value (and to remind myself to be glad D did not pick that school).

    Quote:
    It's also a more thoughtful population since only a few of us are really into the stage of being processed by this particular machine.


    I would use a different word... I would say this is a more "theoretical" population vs "thoughtful". Some of the comments remind me of what people without kids say to those of us with kids. "My kid will never..." fill in your blank. It is easy to say you "won't pay the rent" when you have no concrete options with the various pros and cons in front of you and it is all 10 years away. A lot harder when you start looking at the imperfect world of options in the college admissions process with an actual kid involved.

    Quote:
    3. Defaults to paying out of pocket because it's too Byzantine to be WORTH figuring the rest of it out at multiple institutions.


    Or there is #4 - Defaults to paying out of pocket because when you do figure it out, it does appear to be the best option for your particular kid. That would probably be us -- although we did (via negotiation using another college's FA package) get D's college to give us $10,000 in grant money for her freshman year (they had offered none). So not entirely out of pocket for year #1. smile But I am guessing it may be for years 2, 3, and 4. She has been STRICTLY informed (as my father did with me 35 years ago) there there are NO EXTRA SEMESTERS beyond four years. So no changing majors junior year, losing track of graduation requirements, etc.


    Edited by intparent (07/23/13 11:05 AM)

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    #162806 - 07/23/13 11:00 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    I can't even begin to understand that frame of reference that says "money isn't a consideration." :shock:


    The same frame of reference that brought us the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble.

    For some people, money is never a consideration because they just ignore it.

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    #162809 - 07/23/13 11:30 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Clearly we've been doing this all wrong. wink
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162846 - 07/24/13 01:40 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: CFK]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    As I said here
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post162765
    Costs matter, but the costs depend on your financial status, your academic status, and the institution.

    For us, with a 2nd quartile income, elite institutions such as CalTech, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford would cost in the $10k-$20k range. That's a lot of money, but we can handle it. The difficulty is not the paying, but getting in in the first place. (I don't see any reason for choosing not to go.) It's good that it's hard to get in due to high academic standards, but it's bad that it's hard to get in due to all this extra curricular nonsense. But it is what it is, so the main thing is to understand it and assess one's chances, for these and other options.

    Now "lesser", and easier to get into, but still high quality are places like Rice, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, U Virginia, which would cost us in the $15k-$25k range. Hopefully some merit aid would reduce that.

    I really would rather not go over $20k/yr (with 3 kids that's $240k), so most places become irrelevant to us, and that's fine.

    We're very frugal, saving 2/3 of income, which makes us secure, but we get that way by saying no to unreasonable expenditures.

    And if our kid doesn't get into a good place at a low price? Well I agree with CFK that the state flagship is an option.

    Originally Posted By: CFK
    Or your child can go to a university where he/she can get a lot of merit aid, and save the super selectives for grad school when (at least if in STEM) it will be funded.

    My son entered with enough dual enrollment credits that he is now a college junior after one year. He will graduate from his university (an apparent bastion of mediocrity from what I read here) in three years total. He will have completed about 15 graduate courses if all goes as planned, enough to earn a Masters degree if that was desired. At 18 he plans on being at one of these "elite" colleges as a graduate student because he plans to stay in academia and the terminal degree is important for that. (note that in that bastion of mediocrity, otherwise known as our state flagship, almost all of his professors have degrees from Harvard, Brown, Berkely, Princeton, etc.. I wonder at what point did they lose IQ points?)

    Honestly, my son is extremely advanced, always has been (I don't use the PG label because it is too loosely defined and widely applied in my opinion). He attended two other universities (flagship equivalents) for dual enrollment before he officially matriculated. He did not wither and die at any of them. Given enough AP/IB/dual enrollment credits an advanced student can probably complete a BS in two to three years and then head off to grad school where academic achievements and research are just about all that matters, thereby skipping the whole EC/clubs/athletics thing. My son is very well adjusted and can function in any environment but I think that even the most sensitive student could survive two years in a less than perfect environment.

    Or you can start signing your children up for every club, sport, summer program you can find and plan on paying upwards of $50k per year. To each their own.


    It's not what we'd want. But as a consolation, it's essentially free, with merit and living at home. Similarly to what CFK said, a very advanced kid can get a BSc in 2 or 3 years, maybe start early, and take grad courses, maybe tack on a quick MSc, interact with faculty who did go to much better universities, maybe start doing some decent research, and get into position to get into an elite university for grad school.

    Actually this is basically what I did. I went to the local university (which was free), then I went to an elite university for PhD on a scholarship, in a different country. (Neither were in USA which is why I am so unfamiliar with the American system.) I actually didn't even really consider going elsewhere for my undergraduate, but I now regret this. I needed to be exposed to a higher caliber environment so I'd realize how much more mathematics there was to learn and how good people were. I got complacent and didn't realize how much harder I should be trying (even at the elite foreign university, where there was no coursework, just thesis, which I did the research for in 6 months the goofed around for the next 2.5 years of my scholarship).

    So if you have to "settle" for a state flagship, or similar, you really need to stay aware of the very high standards out there and not get too complacent.

    That's why I'd really like my kid to go to the best place possible for undergrad. (And "fortunately" our income is low enough that we can afford the elite places.

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    #162851 - 07/24/13 05:20 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    You need to remember that:

    1. Costs are still going up every year. Count on at least an average of 3% increase per year. I watched tuition over the past two increases at the 10 colleges my daughter was seriously considering (part of that spreadsheet smile ). They actually went up an average of 4% per year. If you assume (as I believe it was Dude?) does that costs won't rise as fast over the next 10-15 years, then use the 3%. But you have to remember that we are in a period of very low inflation in the rest of the economy now. If inflation takes off across the economy, costs rise for the colleges as well (although with their "normal" increases).

    2. If you are saving 2/3 of your income, then your assets might be higher than the $100,000 that you plugged into the calculator. If you plugged in current assets vs what they will be in 10 years, obviously your results will look better.

    3.
    Quote:
    extra curricular nonsense
    This comment just makes me sad. My kid did mostly what she loved (I insisted on SOME kind of physical activity, so fencing isn't actually a beloved activity, but the best of a bad lot of athletic choices in her opinion... and like HK, sometimes the 4H projects she signed up for weren't something she was loving a week before the county fair). But all in all she would be a different (and less complete, less happy) person without them. Worry more about the whole kid and less about the cost of college, IMHO.

    4.
    Quote:
    Hopefully some merit aid would reduce that.

    Most colleges do NOT stack your merit aid. They might use it to offset loans in the FA package. Then they offset grants. Only if you will merit scholarships big enough to offset ALL the need based aid do they do you much good at most colleges. I think there are a few exceptions, but this is a very painful lesson learned again and again by students and parents. They work really hard for merit scholarships, then find their cost of attendance is unchanged.

    5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university. The expectation in the US college system is that parents have the primary responsibility to pay for college. They are first in line -- help is intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way. We haven't talked about this, but some kids choose to go abroad to college. McGill or St. Andrews or Oxford... those are also generally lower priced alternatives.

    6. One thing we didn't talk about is your own kid's responsibility in all this. Obviously a kid can't cover these kinds of expenses on their own. We have told our kids since middle school that they own all book and spending money expenses for college. And the expenses of any unpaid summer internships they choose to take (common in areas like political science). So any monetary gifts they have gotten since then have gone almost entirely into their savings. Both had jobs the summer before college started, worked/will work on campus, and will have paid work most summers during school to cover these expenses. They are pretty frugal kids any way (books are about the only thing they ever buy). But making that expectation clear to them helped them be prepared and plan ahead.


    Edited by intparent (07/24/13 05:21 AM)

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    #162857 - 07/24/13 07:22 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: intparent]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: intparent
    5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university.


    "Every penny"?

    You mean the continuous massive maladaptive economic distortion that's caused by mammoth amounts of debt that's being poofed into existence by the United States Government and pumped into the university system by the United States government on a regular and ongoing basis so that the administrators of the system can overpay themselves and lard up on perks?

    Those pennies?

    Um, yeah.

    I'm not interested in being a mark.

    (Notice that I didn't call it a bubble nor did I predict that it would end anytime soon.)


    Edited by JonLaw (07/24/13 07:23 AM)

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