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Should I attend Northeastern University or a cheaper state school?

For context, my parents are insistent that I go to Northeastern University, as they're obsessed with acceptance rates. It's 34,000 without federal loans, which is quite outrageous as we are broke. They're insistent that they are able to afford it yet even if were not, I'd rather not spend that much money on a equation when I can get an education anywhere. My parents are convinced that somehow I'll end up more successful just because I go to a school with a lower acceptance rate. We still have a mortgage and my sisters college expenses. How do I convince them that I don't want to pay 34,000 for college?

Thank you comment icon I forgot to add that I'm going for business administration with a concentration in finance. I got sent to the Oakland campus for the first year as well. Andrew

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Joseph’s Answer

Great question. My daughter attended a Community College then transferred to a 4 year University. Saved her alot of money. Usually when you do this you start as a second semester sophomore. Word of advise if $$ is an issue Online University degrees are the same as attending the school as you take the same courses and get the same degree. Also you have access to all the schools amenities. Can save you lots of $$. You can also still be in the graduation.
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Megan’s Answer

My advice to students is that your student loan debt should not cost you more than what the starting salary of your career is.

If the starting salary of the career you are going into is 50K your student loan debt should not be more than 50k

I hope that helps!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Andrew,

When pondering over the choice between Northeastern University and a more affordable state school for your business administration degree with a focus on finance, it's crucial to balance the potential advantages against the financial implications. Here are some key aspects to think about:

Cost of Attendance: Northeastern University's overall cost is notably higher than most state schools. Their website states that the estimated cost for the 2021-2022 academic year is $73,548 for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and other expenses (excluding federal loans). On the other hand, the average in-state tuition and fees for public universities in the U.S. were $27,060 for the 2020-2021 academic year (National Center for Education Statistics).

Return on Investment: It's a common belief that schools with lower acceptance rates may provide better career or networking opportunities post-graduation, but this isn't always true. A Georgetown University study shows that public university graduates earn more than their private college counterparts over their lifetimes (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce). Moreover, many successful business moguls, like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, are state school alumni.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: You can potentially lower your expenses by applying for financial aid and scholarships. Many state schools have attractive financial aid packages to draw in students. Plus, there are numerous scholarships specifically for business students, based on merit or need. Looking into these options could make a more affordable state school even more cost-effective.

Opportunities: Northeastern University provides unique programs like its cooperative education program (co-op), which gives students a chance to gain real-world work experience while pursuing their degrees. However, many state schools also have internship programs and local business partnerships that offer similar experiences at a reduced cost.

Location: Think about whether you'd prefer living in a bustling city like Boston or a smaller town or rural area near a state school. Your personal preferences and comfort level with your surroundings should be part of your decision-making process.

In summary, while Northeastern University might offer certain benefits like potentially stronger career connections or unique learning opportunities, these advantages need to be balanced against the substantial cost increase compared to a more affordable state school for your business administration degree with a finance concentration. By taking into account factors like cost of attendance, return on investment, financial aid opportunities, and personal preferences, you can make a well-informed decision about which path is the most beneficial for you, both financially and academically.

Referenced Authorities:

National Center for Education Statistics - NCES: https://nces.ed.gov/
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce: https://cew.georgetown.edu/
Northeastern University: https://www.northeastern.edu/

Take care,
JC.
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Paige’s Answer

It could help to show them some data. Payscale's college ROI calculator can be helpful when decided between schools and the goal is a good future income. https://www.payscale.com/college-roi
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Kara’s Answer

If you want to save money and get a good acceptance rate then you may want to consider community college first, and then transferring to a university after first two years. You will then have an associate's degree secured and can use that time to hone in on what you really want to do. This may appeal to your parents as well if you give them a set plan and show that you are taking control of your future. Most jobs you choose at the end of your education they will usually just ask on the resume where your degree was from and then you can just put community college AND the university. They just want to know you got the necessary degree and had a decent GPA.
I came from a low income family as well and my reality for having a decent income and stable job was by paving my own way and exploring different education and career paths. I went to community college and got financial aid anywhere I could. I still had a little debt, but it was much more manageable than going to a big university right away. Also, I do NOT take financial advise from my parents. I figure if they have a hard time being financially stable I should look for other avenues for advice. Career counselors at my colleges also helped.
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Rory’s Answer

Deciding between Northeastern University and a more budget-friendly state school is a significant choice that hinges on a variety of elements. Let's balance the advantages and disadvantages:

Northeastern University:
Benefits:
Reputation: Northeastern is a highly respected private university, celebrated for its co-op programs, hands-on learning, and solid ties to industry.
Networking Opportunities: Situated in a bustling city like Boston, you'll have access to a vibrant professional network.
Co-op Programs: Northeastern's co-op programs provide you with the chance to gain real-world experience while you study.
Research Opportunities: Private universities often present more opportunities for research.
Drawbacks:
Cost: Private universities are usually more costly. Think about the financial strain and potential student loans.
Class Size: Some classes might be larger due to the size of the university.
Competition: You'll find yourself amongst driven peers, which can be inspiring but also competitive.

Budget-Friendly State School:
Benefits:
Affordability: State schools are generally less expensive, particularly for residents of the state.
Quality Education: Many state schools provide top-notch programs and faculty.
Community: State schools often foster a strong community spirit.
Smaller Class Sizes: Some state schools offer smaller class sizes, meaning you get more personalized attention.
Drawbacks:
Less Prestige: State schools might not carry the same prestige as private universities.
Limited Networking: Fewer networking opportunities might be available in smaller cities or rural locations.
Fewer Resources: State schools might have fewer resources for research or specialized programs.

Points to Ponder:

Career Goals: Reflect on your career dreams. Will going to Northeastern give you an advantage?
Financial Situation: Assess the cost difference and your capacity to handle expenses.
Location Preference: Would you rather be in a city setting (Northeastern) or a more tranquil environment (state school)?
Programs Offered: Contrast the specific programs you're interested in at both schools.
In the end, consider these factors based on your personal priorities and long-term objectives. Keep in mind that your success hinges on your commitment, regardless of your chosen place of study.
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Kelly’s Answer

While it might be tempting to prioritize cost and location when choosing a university, I suggest you first consider the curriculum, your desired career path, and the graduation requirements. Reflecting on my own undergraduate experience, I realize I was swayed by factors such as cost, location, and family circumstances. I now wish I had focused more on the program itself. When you're enrolled in a program that genuinely interests you, your engagement as a student naturally increases, and other factors tend to fall into place.

To manage the high costs of tuition and avoid loans, I sought out local employers offering excellent educational programs. I was fortunate enough to find one that fully funded not only two master's degrees but also my doctoral studies. Some employers provide tuition reimbursement, which means that instead of spending countless hours applying for scholarships, you can earn money and not have to stress about covering your school expenses. Remember, even if you leave the job, your degree stays with you!

Here are a couple of articles that provide more information about employers who assist with student loans and tuition: [Companies That Help Pay Off Student Loans](https://money.usnews.com/loans/student-loans/articles/companies-that-help-pay-off-student-loans) and [Companies That Pay For College](https://www.investopedia.com/companies-pay-college-6829220).

To help you further in your decision-making, I've located the academic webpage for your prospective school: [Northeastern University Areas of Study](https://admissions.northeastern.edu/academics/areas-of-study/). If you ever reconsider your program of choice, at any university, simply visit their academics page and thoroughly review the curriculum and requirements.
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Eric’s Answer

Andrew, I think you are wise to be concerned about the impact that education debt will have on your overall financial situation and well-being. Even if your parents can find a way to pay for your college education at Northeastern, if you are not confident in the financial plan to pay for college then it is in your best interest to choose an option that does not add that stress on you while you are trying to study. Peace of mind is a must while you study since the demands of college coursework are heavy and you do not want to have financial burdens further weighing you down. Now, if your parents are able to clearly spell out a financial plan for Northeastern that satisfies you and earns your confidence, then it should be considered. If not, then I think your gut feeling should be heeded. All the best.
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