{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Hypothetical here: you are a parent and your child got into two schools for undergrad. The first school is a US top 30 University out-of-state, but you have to pay full sticker price ($60k+ per year). The second school is a good in-state university and 20% the cost. If your child goes in-state, you agree to invest the residual ($50k per year) in an S&P 500 fund that releases upon graduation. What is the best outcome for your child?", "post_id": "5eb6aed7aa26b7001aeb7ef6", "reply_count": 69, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "Coronavirus Work-life" }

Hypothetical here: you are a parent and your child got into two schools for undergrad. The first school is a US top 30 University out-of-state, but you have to pay full sticker price ($60k+ per year). The second school is a good in-state university and 20% the cost. If your child goes in-state, you agree to invest the residual ($50k per year) in an S&P 500 fund that releases upon graduation. What is the best outcome for your child?

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I don’t know that a top 30 school is the difference-maker a top 5 ivy would be. Then again, I think it’s fool’s gold to figure the recovery that won’t start for a while yet will yield 15%, even if you have mad stock-picking skills. So maybe you keep the funds in cash—and the lad/lass graduates with a nifty $200k in cash. Now comes the crap shoot: what’s the longer term success move? And that, I’d argue really means making the assessment based on all sorts of indeterminate factors relating to personality, learning habits, ambition, likely path forward. Me, I’d start by doing something my parents didn’t—having discussions together about the options and thinking it through, together. I don’t necessarily think the quality of undergrad education is all that different in any large school; it’s still a factory. But assessing how the qualitative factors will influence your kid is really the heart of this bird in bush vs two in hand decision.

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I was in a similar situation. My parents had saved ~30k and were in a position to contribute ~15k/year toward tuition. I wanted to go to their alum school (near our family in NY where I always wanted to go), but didn’t get any financial aid. We lived in Texas, and I was valedictorian, so by TX state law I got into any stat school AND got a year of tuition covered. My parents offered to fully cover UT and give me the 30k in the CMA account if I went to UT, otherwise I had to take loans. I still wanted to go to NY, so we agreed I would take my free year and transfer after the first year if I still wanted to. I ended up loving Austin and UT, and was able to get more scholarships for my academic success, so my parents ended up paying 20k tuition and splurging 30k on 4 years of living expenses (also had housing covered my first year). I got to keep the CMA account, and have been using it to invest / paid for my wedding and down payment when I finally did move to NYC after graduation.

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The latter. The older I get the more I believe that undergraduate education is not as important as graduate. I went to private liberal arts college and a top 15 MBA program. Many of my smartest classmates were from state and not as “elite” colleges. The invested money can serve as a true safety net, ability to buy a house, grad school money etc.

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#2 but also I'd just sent them to the good in state without the extra $$$

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I don’t know, but both are very generous

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Very true

Honestly, 2 without the money. Use it as a safety blanket so they can follow their passion. A kid straight out of UG isn't going to spend that money responsibly.

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Well what does the kid want to do? Be a nurse/teacher? The latter obviously. Finance? A case could be made for the first. Doctor/lawyer? Well that $200k+ would be nice for grad school but also will be slightly harder if it’s a no name school. Lots of factors involved

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Yes, this is exactly what I was going to post! Depends a lot on what experience they’re looking for, career goals and how that coincides with recruiting opps, etc.

Seems like you’re basing decision criteria on cost, but yet you’re willing to spend the exact same on either. What other decision factors should you be considering since cost doesn’t seem to be the real decision driver here?

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Plus you have no idea what your kid will do. They may start as an engineering major and end up graduating art history. I’d invest the money if you can get your kid to agree to go to the instate school, because these days odds are if your kid is smart they’ll go to one form of grad school or another and need that $$$

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The latter for sure. Though idk if I'd invest the difference just because 4 years is a bit of a short time horizon but you're probably fine.

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Good thing you picked Jan and not March...

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Depends what the in-state school is and the kid's intended major/career path. For example if it's computer science and the in-state school is Berkeley, UW, Georgia Tech, etc then it's a no brainier.

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I would send them to the first school. My kid will probably meet their future spouse during undergrad.

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BCG2: What I’m saying is I’m selecting the more prestigious university for my child given the ability to afford either. I hope they meet someone that selected the same school. Whatever that means to you - infer away. Associate 1: I did think about that. But undergrad is only ~4 years or so. They can decide to live/work in the location best for them after graduation, and if they choose to move close to me that would be great. But if not, that’s okay. (My parents actually had a similar situation, it was seen as a plus that my grandparents lived in the same hometown. Ultimately it was a horrible idea and neither of my parents like their in laws, and I’ve had to hear all about it throughout my childhood. Everyone felt trapped. So I’ll make sure my child and my future son in law or daughter in law know they’re always welcome and we would love to have them live nearby, but there’s no pressure and I won’t stack the odds in my favor to start.)

The kid will probably have a higher GPA at the less competitive state school and no debt. It’s a no brainer. Go state all the way.

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Save the money for an elite grad school. Undergrad is undergrad.

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Let me share my experience: I went to a cheap (affordable and good, but largely unrecognized) state school and received a high quality education. I learned during school how to build a brand, fight and get in front of the right people. I paid for the whole thing myself (with the military) and graduated with <10k loans and my first year salary and bonus (in line with the Big4 market) was valued at about 1.5x what I spent in 5.5yrs tuition (incl MBA). The downside? I’ll likely never make upper management or partner or VP or 200/300k salary. All my friends will. I’ll also never afford to live in LA or SF. The up side? I make about 1/2 that and have ~12 years debt free. While I will never be able to retire early, recessions don’t bother me. I say go with option 2.

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Setting up my life after college in this manner allowed me to take on debt after having the net worth to underwrite it. This creates a discipline on living within ones means and is an incredible stress reliever. Sure a recession will hurt, but it won’t make me homeless or lose anything.

Which region of the country are you in? As a New Englander, depending on the school, people here value school prestige over many other factors.

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I went to both a community college an ivy league school, but the sad fact is people look at others differently based on the prestige of their education. I agree it shouldn’t matter, but on average, it makes a difference in terms of network and certain opportunities.

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I would find it frustrating to send a kid to a state school and pay out of state tuition knowing most of their classmates are paying a fraction of that. Our first kid got into a bunch of top state schools - Berkeley, Michigan, UVA and UNC - but wound up at a private school instead. Whatever $$ you spend is a great investment in their future - she’s now an Investment Banker and couldn’t be in a better position.

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And sorry — college baseball doesn’t offer the “big time athletics” feel to a campus. Duke basketball or ND football def count, but Vandy baseball? Cmon.

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It depends on whether the kid wants to go on to law/medical/grad school and what they're planning to get their undergrad degree in. My parents gave me those options and since I wanted to go to law school, I chose the latter. I went to the flagship public school and then made it to a T-6 law school.

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Yeah, I'm referring to flagship public universities. Mine was a top ten public university and it worked out fine for me.

The latter. School ranking isn’t what makes a successful career, and having a seed fund once out will give a much larger leg up in life.

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Depends how deep in the top 30 - if you’re talking non-Cornell Ivy then definitely, if you’re talking #29 then it’s probably not worth it

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Keep in mind, your child is going to major in the same field at each school in a STEM field (or business). And, the first semester is taught online due to COVID-19.

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OP, I was an engineering major that ultimately graduated with a poli sci degree. Best laid plans.

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