I have been accepted to both. The cheaper college is much less expensive, almost to the point where I could pay out of pocket every year, yet the more prestigious college has awarded me with multiple generous scholarships and financial aid.
Should I choose a cheaper college with less financial aid, or a prestigious college that's much more expensive, but offers much more financial aid?
You need to look at your education like a financial investment. In order to do this, consider the cost of college, the impact of debt, and your expected payout (i.e. your future earnings from employment).
I’ve seen very few cases where the difference in eventual income is large enough between the expensive and inexpensive schools to justify going to the expensive school… but much of this comes down to what profession you want to pursue. In short example, elementary school teachers that graduate from state universities make the same as those graduating from private schools.
Adam C. Harding, CFP
Disclosure: For informational purposes only. Not to be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. My responses on Nerdwallet are for educational purposes only and action should not be taken until a thorough analysis has been done by me or your financial advisor. Investing involves risk of loss and diversification does not ensure protection against risk of loss.
More people need to ask, and at least attempt to answer, this question. College needs to be looked at like an investment. Over the last 15+ years it has grown to a very, very large investment compared to the growth of income and other inflation.
I address this behavior in a recent article
Calculating the Return On Investment (ROI), is a detailed process including qualitative and quantitative factors. I would sit down and look at the what-ifs. I would also try to attach numbers to the debt take on.
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Mark Struthers CFA, CFP®
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This is for informational purposes only. Your specific situation would need to be taken into account. All information is subject to change. Not to be considered investment, tax, or legal advice.
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