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Thread: A college degree is a lousy investment

  1. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPetter View Post
    So let's say you plan to go to school in NC, undecided major and your options are as follows because although you'd be in the top 25% of the incoming class at UNC-CH, the NC legislature has foolishly decided that it needs to admit morons from rural counties instead of the actual best students in the state. Therefore, UNC-CH is not an option, the following schools are:

    Wake
    Elon
    NC State
    App, ECU, UNC-C, UNC-G, UNC-W, etc
    USC - out of state

    Should you go to Wake, which is a top 30 institution; State, which is a decent school in the top 150 and much cheaper; USC which is less specialized and costs between State and Wake; or one of the public diploma mills?

    Keep in mind, none of these schools are free, and the college experience you actually sought was at UNC-CH. Where are you most likely to find it?
    I have no idea. I live in a state where my kids would have two choices for state schools, so I'm thinking you have a great selection in NC. FWIW, I went to UNC for law school and don't regret the decision. I was out of state first year, but got tons of money and then got the last two years as in state plus the money. I think college is largely what you make of it.

  2. #102
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    You realize that your answer is either a copout or shows that you put no value on a Wake diploma (which helped get you into Chapel Hill law school).

  3. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPetter View Post
    You realize that your answer is either a copout or shows that you put no value on a Wake diploma (which helped get you into Chapel Hill law school).
    It's not a copout. I would have gotten into UNC out of high school if I was in state. I don't think financially going to Wake makes sense. I see the value for other reasons and I wouldn't change what i did because of friendships and other intangibles. However, in this economy, I would have a tough time advising someone who isn't filthy rich not to go to State school. I don't think a Wake diploma is worth the money at this point. If I went to State school, I still would have gotten into law school and if I did as well as I did at Wake, it would probably have been a very good one. I would have the same job, make the same amount of money.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by awakegirl View Post
    It's not a copout. I would have gotten into UNC out of high school if I was in state. I don't think financially going to Wake makes sense. I see the value for other reasons and I wouldn't change what i did because of friendships and other intangibles. However, in this economy, I would have a tough time advising someone who isn't filthy rich not to go to State school. I don't think a Wake diploma is worth the money at this point. If I went to State school, I still would have gotten into law school and if I did as well as I did at Wake, it would probably have been a very good one. I would have the same job, make the same amount of money.
    You're not answering the question as it was presented to you. I said that you did not get into UNC-CH in-state, but you got into Wake. This happens to a fair number of people. Do you bite the bullet and pay for Wake or do you go to one of the fallback schools, knowing that you're going to graduate with a degree that garners little respect outside of NC (except perhaps NC State)? The pollyanna act of "Oh, I'm gonna study soooo hard at UNC-G and show the world!" is unlikely to work out for most people. I can't imagine what the admit rate at UNC law for students from App State, but it can't be good (assuming they actually apply).

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPetter View Post
    You're not answering the question as it was presented to you. I said that you did not get into UNC-CH in-state, but you got into Wake. This happens to a fair number of people. Do you bite the bullet and pay for Wake or do you go to one of the fallback schools, knowing that you're going to graduate with a degree that garners little respect outside of NC (except perhaps NC State)? The pollyanna act of "Oh, I'm gonna study soooo hard at UNC-G and show the world!" is unlikely to work out for most people. I can't imagine what the admit rate at UNC law for students from App State, but it can't be good (assuming they actually apply).
    No- I would go to State. I would never take on the loans at Wake. I went to school at UNC Law with plenty of NC State grads.

  6. #106
    Assuming no scholarship money and I'm paying my way, I'd probably go with State or UNC-C. Both are larger schools in big cities so you could parlay a summer internship directly into a job after school. You also wouldn't be drowning in debt. I love Wake and hope my kids can go there too (whenever I have kids) but with the current prices it will be impossible.

    One thing I will agree with, is that the drive of the student is really what matters. Great students and smart people will do well at most schools because they have the drive to push themselves. What the top end schools do better, in my opinion, is push the "Good" students to find the drive because you can't "hide" in entry level classes the whole time.

    Aka - I am a much better student\person for going to Wake because I don't think I fell into the "Great Student" category. I was good and Wake pushed me. I don't know if that would have happened at UNC\Clemson\Other Larger State School.

  7. #107
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    Fair enough.

    Personally, I'd probably pay the extra $120,000 so people wouldn't moo at my daughter.

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPetter View Post
    Fair enough.

    Personally, I'd probably pay the extra $120,000 so people wouldn't moo at my daughter.
    If I have it to spare, I would do it. I would never advise my kid take on that debt. I love Wake Forest, I loved going there, but they are pricing people out.

  9. #109
    Go to any flagship state school (UNC, NC State, UT, Oregon, you name it) and as long as your grades are good it won't weed you out of any employer, up to F100. Especially if you have a graduate degree over top of it, as then its the grad degree that will be your reputational calling card.

    And like most others on here, while I wouldn't trade my Wake experience for anything, from an economics perspective hands down UNC would have been a better cost/benefit. We'll see where our finances are in 10 years when my kids start college but even if Wake is doable for us, as much as I would nostalgically love them being at Wake, I will be gritting my teeth each time I write that tuition check if they choose to go there instead of UVA or another in-state school here in VA.

  10. #110
    It wasn't too long ago that your first year salary would be several times greater than a year's tuition. Then college is a good investment. Graduating with a home mortgage worth of debt - no.

    Wake and other privates are going to have to offer some serious financial aid as future students are losing their appetite for loans.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
    Go to any flagship state school (UNC, NC State, UT, Oregon, you name it) and as long as your grades are good it won't weed you out of any employer, up to F100. Especially if you have a graduate degree over top of it, as then its the grad degree that will be your reputational calling card.

    And like most others on here, while I wouldn't trade my Wake experience for anything, from an economics perspective hands down UNC would have been a better cost/benefit. We'll see where our finances are in 10 years when my kids start college but even if Wake is doable for us, as much as I would nostalgically love them being at Wake, I will be gritting my teeth each time I write that tuition check if they choose to go there instead of UVA or another in-state school here in VA.
    My father says the most expensive decision he ever made was hating UNC as his kids hated UNC. My older brother and I (who could've both gotten into UNC) went to private schools instead

  12. #112
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    This thread has gotten me thinking, how much of a Wake fan do I really want to raise my future child as?

  13. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
    Go to any flagship state school (UNC, NC State, UT, Oregon, you name it) and as long as your grades are good it won't weed you out of any employer, up to F100. Especially if you have a graduate degree over top of it, as then its the grad degree that will be your reputational calling card.

    And like most others on here, while I wouldn't trade my Wake experience for anything, from an economics perspective hands down UNC would have been a better cost/benefit. We'll see where our finances are in 10 years when my kids start college but even if Wake is doable for us, as much as I would nostalgically love them being at Wake, I will be gritting my teeth each time I write that tuition check if they choose to go there instead of UVA or another in-state school here in VA.
    I agree wholeheartedly. I love WFU with all my heart, but I would never advise an NC student paying their own way to go to Wake over UNC. To be completely honest, I would say you would have to consider the other state schools as well.

    Again, not hating on Wake but I think this board REALLY overvalues the cache of a WFU degree.

  14. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by Baconwfu View Post
    Let me spray my college tuition hypothesis on everyone.
    My opinion is that college tuition is driven by the desire and ability of the very top colleges to spend money on students.
    Example
    Harvard has a gazillion dollars and can afford not to charge tuition if it wanted to, but it doesn't because people will shell out bucks to go to Harvard because it's Harvard. Harvard has so much money they can pay their staff whatever they want, they can fund whatever studies they want and they can get the best equipment and labs and facilties and still not have to worry about anything from a financial standpoint. In the endless race to be #1 and "keep up with the Joneses" other colleges have to spend similar amounts of money and do similar things just to stay highly ranked. It's a spending war, so to speak. Schools don't cover costs on ever increasing tuition not because educating a student is fundamentally that much more expensive, but keeping pace with the Elite schools and what they are doing and trying to position yourself as one of the best schools in the country/world is very expensive.
    Soooooo......unless there is some fundamental shift in how college institutions and educations are percieved then regardless of endowment, tuition will likely never go away......maybe if the elite schools did it others would follow, but something tells me that probably won't happen anytime soon.
    I completely agree with this. Wake could cut a LOT of spending and still provide the same quality education, but they wouldn't have as many flashy things to show potential applicants and admits. I think the sad reality is that if Wake decided to save money and lower tuition by cutting out the renovation projects and frills, they would fall in the rankings because they'd lose a lot of kids coming in. Kids deciding where to go to college generally have no idea what they're doing (I certainly didn't), and they're impressed by the nice-looking things and dozens of funded clubs and ski trips, etc.--when the what matters is the quality of education and marketability of degree. I just don't see how to beat this game at the moment.

  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by awakegirl View Post
    If I have it to spare, I would do it. I would never advise my kid take on that debt. I love Wake Forest, I loved going there, but they are pricing people out.
    you are aware they have very competitive financial aid correct?

  16. #116
    Quote Originally Posted by deacphan View Post
    you are aware they have very competitive financial aid correct?
    I know I didn't get a cent of it and while my parents were doing very well during that period, they are not wealthy. The whole premise of this thread was that upper middle class folks will be the ones who get screwed, which will be most of our kids.

  17. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by awakegirl View Post
    I know I didn't get a cent of it and while my parents were doing very well during that period, they are not wealthy. The whole premise of this thread was that upper middle class folks will be the ones who get screwed, which will be most of our kids.
    upper middle class kids are always getting screwed. did your parents have to take out an equity loan on the beach house to write tuition checks?

    *upper middle class whites. so persecuted.

  18. #118
    Quote Originally Posted by deacphan View Post
    upper middle class kids are always getting screwed. did your parents have to take out an equity loan on the beach house to write tuition checks?

    *upper middle class whites. so persecuted.
    Is that what I said? I said I would encourage my kids to go to State school bc I likely will not be able to afford Wake for them and we probably won't get financial aid, because I'm upper middle class. And as for my parents financial situation, I have no idea how you would know a thing about that. I certainly don't think upper middle class whites are persecuted. In fact, I have a job where I mostly argue the exact opposite. In the financial aid situation however, it is usually upper middle class families who can't afford to take the kind of financial hit that Wake is, but also don't qualify for financial aid.

  19. #119
    Quote Originally Posted by RaleighDeacon View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly. I love WFU with all my heart, but I would never advise an NC student paying their own way to go to Wake over UNC. To be completely honest, I would say you would have to consider the other state schools as well.

    Again, not hating on Wake but I think this board REALLY overvalues the cache of a WFU degree.
    I don't think that's the case at all. I think most people are actually being pretty realistic about the value of a Wake degree.

    One thing I do find interesting is people talk about the "intangibles" of a Wake degree, but then don't seem to place any value on that.

    In my case, Wake had a direct impact on expanding my perspective on the world and completely changing what I wanted to do. The experience I had at Wake, socially and academically shaped me tremendously and made me a totally different person from when I came in. It's impossible to say if I would have had the same experience at another school, but I think it is more likely I would have ended up in a middle-management paper pushing job if I had gone to big state U or wherever.

    Again, I think Wake is too expensive as are all private schools, but it's not like Wake's tuition is completely out of whack in the current higher education climate. If my kid wants to go to Wake, I will find a way to make it happen, because I think a Wake degree has a ton of value (at this point, I hope i continue to think that way). I can't imagine shelling out 200+K for High Point or something along those lines though.

  20. #120
    Quote Originally Posted by awakegirl View Post
    Is that what I said? I said I would encourage my kids to go to State school bc I likely will not be able to afford Wake for them and we probably won't get financial aid, because I'm upper middle class. And as for my parents financial situation, I have no idea how you would know a thing about that. I certainly don't think upper middle class whites are persecuted. In fact, I have a job where I mostly argue the exact opposite. In the financial aid situation however, it is usually upper middle class families who can't afford to take the kind of financial hit that Wake is, but also don't qualify for financial aid.
    it seems like you're arguing two different things. if your kid wants to go to calloway, and youre upper middle class it's probs a good investment. if they highly value wake, it's a good investment. if a beach house or or a few thousand square feet or a luxury auto is more your taste, fine send them to state school. wake is pricing people out, but it isnt pricing out many because of the aid. if they wanna go taht bad, make them take out loans. a loan on a benz is a bad investment and people still buy them.

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