I work with families from all different economic demographics, full-pay to full-need and everything in between. And the one thing all families agree on is that college is expensive. Whether they can afford it or not, there is a consensus among parents that $80,000 a year is too much. If you have a high school student that plans to attend a selective private college, you will probably hit that price tag at some point in your child’s college career.
My inspiration for this post was a friend that I ran into on the ski slopes over the December break. I knew her youngest was a freshman but I did not know where he ended up in school, so I was eager to hear about where he matriculated and how it was going. When she told me his story, I knew it would make a great blog.
Her son is a strong student and was admitted to an array of engineering programs, including UVA, Lehigh, Villanova and SUNY Binghamton. This family resides in New York, so when they laid out their options, and the University of Binghamton offered a $10,000 STEM scholarship, the cost for room/board/tuition at SUNY Binghamton was under $16,000.
Take a look at the cost of room/board/tuition at these schools for the 2020-2021 school year and what the costs will be over four years and think about what you would do:
When this family saw that their son could attend college for four years as an instate student for the cost of one year at the other colleges, all arrows pointed to Binghamton. He could go to Binghamton FOUR TIMES for the cost of the private schools. The great news is that after one semester, they are thrilled with their decision. Their son is thriving socially as well as academically and the parents are happy with the cost.
If you are the parent of a college-bound teenager, you might face a similar decision around cost. When your family looks at all of the options and one of them is significantly more affordable, cost concerns come into play. I realize that some people reading this might feel that the colleges that this student turned down possibly offer a higher quality education, but could it possibly be four times better? I suggest that every family talk about college affordability early and often.
I took the photo of the Binghamton Bearcat license plate of a proud alum that was displaying his school pride on his Rolls Royce SUV. Learn more about Binghamton University, a flagship of the State University of New York here.