The WSJ says families are starting to worry about affording tuition, with high school seniors applying to less prestigious (read: cheaper) schools as back-up.
It’s time for a flashback.
In 1998, my senior year of high school, I applied to eight or nine schools, all with price tags of more than $20,000 a year in tuition alone, unbeknownst to my parents. I worked my butt off in school and refused to even consider the idea of attending state school. I would accept nothing short of Northwestern or Georgetown (since Harvard and Yale flat out rejected me).
At some point (thankfully early on in the application process) my dad requested to see a list of my college choices and wondered why I hadn’t included Penn State University (our state school). “Um because that’s where the C students go, Dad!” I quickly pointed out. “Who cares if it’s 75% cheaper? Who cares if they’re offering me a partial scholarship?”
My dad snapped me out of it with the help of equating a year at Northwestern to a brand new car (a car I never received, but that's another story). Sure enough, I ended up going to PSU. And you know what? I loved it. I dove into a school with 50,000 students, a partial scholarship, lots of resources and a vast alumni network. It was the smartest move, both socially and financially, that I could've made. It was a total bang for my buck and I graduated debt-free.What’s my point in all of this? There’s no shame in going to a public, state school. It shouldn’t only be “Ivy League or Bust,” especially in this financial climate. You have to keep your options open. If you're determined to go to college there is a way to do it that won’t compromise your education or your bank account.