Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

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index2max
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Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

I've seen a lot of posts from parents fretting about how much money to park away in 529 accounts for future college tuition payments.

As we all know, college tuition, medical expenses and asset prices are leading the pack in inflation. This is because of all the government money that's been flowing into higher education since the GI bill days after WWII, plus the federal government getting into the student loan business in 2009 using taxpayer money.

1. If you pay attention to news publications around higher education, you'll notice there is a big demographic crunch in the USA. College enrollment has been decreasing since 2011. Fewer Americans are having more than two children like their parents or grandparents did back in the 1950s-1970s.

2. The first two years of college (especially freshman-level courses) nowadays cover material that high-schoolers used to know just a few decades ago. Universities make the most profit on those large, freshman lectures of 200-500 students per professor, but make less money on upper-division courses where one professor might only teach 10-50 students.

3. There is a bubble in higher education too. There are too many colleges out there and all of them are desperate for good students to enroll and boost their average ACT/SAT entrance scores. You can take advantage of this! Find a college that accepts college credits earned in high school!

Here are some popular ways to do this:

1. Have your child study for AP or CLEP exams. If they receive good-enough scores, they can skip freshman and even sophomore-level courses in college and receive credit for them too. Check with the colleges your child is interested in attending to see which ones accept the most AP/CLEP exams for credit. Remember, the demographics are in your favor. If one college won't accept AP exam scores of 4 or 5 for college credit, another one probably will!

2. Have your child take classes directly at a community college or four-year college through a dual enrollment program. Three states call their program PSEO (post secondary enrollment options). I took advantage of Minnesota's program to get engineering prerequisite math courses out of the way in high school. It made the rest of college much easier.

3. Have your child participate in their school's IB diploma program to skip some college classes for credit. Don't know if I would personally recommend this option because, depending on the college, your child could skip more classes with good AP exam scores.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IB_Diploma_Programme

Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
loukycpa
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by loukycpa »

I have two in college right now and they are both graduating in 3 years instead of 4 thanks to AP and di credit.Both stayed in state public and got significant scholarships. My out of pocket to get both through undergrad will be less than 30k of room and board.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by z3r0c00l »

Taking AP science in HS saved me a ton of time as an undergrad, but rather than skip years I used it to take classes that had nothing to do with my major, or at least it seemed that way. Still paying dividends to have learned more about history, politics, art, philosophy, and time working research jobs including trips overseas. Then again I see college primarily as personal development rather than something you just have to try and get through as quickly as possible.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by secondopinion »

index2max wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:06 pm I've seen a lot of posts from parents fretting about how much money to park away in 529 accounts for future college tuition payments.

As we all know, college tuition, medical expenses and asset prices are leading the pack in inflation. This is because of all the government money that's been flowing into higher education since the GI bill days after WWII, plus the federal government getting into the student loan business in 2009 using taxpayer money.

1. If you pay attention to news publications around higher education, you'll notice there is a big demographic crunch in the USA. College enrollment has been decreasing since 2011. Fewer Americans are having more than two children like their parents or grandparents did back in the 1950s-1970s.

2. The first two years of college (especially freshman-level courses) nowadays cover material that high-schoolers used to know just a few decades ago. Universities make the most profit on those large, freshman lectures of 200-500 students per professor, but make less money on upper-division courses where one professor might only teach 10-50 students.

3. There is a bubble in higher education too. There are too many colleges out there and all of them are desperate for good students to enroll and boost their average ACT/SAT entrance scores. You can take advantage of this! Find a college that accepts college credits earned in high school!

Here are some popular ways to do this:

1. Have your child study for AP or CLEP exams. If they receive good-enough scores, they can skip freshman and even sophomore-level courses in college and receive credit for them too. Check with the colleges your child is interested in attending to see which ones accept the most AP/CLEP exams for credit. Remember, the demographics are in your favor. If one college won't accept AP exam scores of 4 or 5 for college credit, another one probably will!

2. Have your child take classes directly at a community college or four-year college through a dual enrollment program. Three states call their program PSEO (post secondary enrollment options). I took advantage of Minnesota's program to get engineering prerequisite math courses out of the way in high school. It made the rest of college much easier.

3. Have your child participate in their school's IB diploma program to skip some college classes for credit. Don't know if I would personally recommend this option because, depending on the college, your child could skip more classes with good AP exam scores.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IB_Diploma_Programme

Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
Point two of the first list is very valid. I started college at 16 (got a GED versus actually graduating from high school); and it was the best thing to do. I tested rather high in the ACT (mathematics and science were near perfect), so it skewed things a bit. Scholarships and such paid my way (work on the side where it did not). I do not know what I would recommend to others; I was taught at home (and the vast majority of that responsibility was mine to learn; guidance was given but not really many lectures since I had to read and learn to learn myself).
It is better to be half-wrong than have a 50% chance of being all-wrong. With the former, you will learn and have money to try again. Otherwise, you will never learn and will have nothing eventually.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:01 pm Taking AP science in HS saved me a ton of time as an undergrad, but rather than skip years I used it to take classes that had nothing to do with my major, or at least it seemed that way. Still paying dividends to have learned more about history, politics, art, philosophy, and time working research jobs including trips overseas. Then again I see college primarily as personal development rather than something you just have to try and get through as quickly as possible.
I was able to take some extra classes myself too this way through dual-enrollment in my state. A few too many to graduate in four years, but oh well :P
secondopinion wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:07 pm
Point two of the first list is very valid. I started college at 16 (got a GED versus actually graduating from high school); and it was the best thing to do. I tested rather high in the ACT (mathematics and science were near perfect), so it skewed things a bit. Scholarships and such paid my way (work on the side where it did not). I do not know what I would recommend to others; I was taught at home (and the vast majority of that responsibility was mine to learn; guidance was given but not really many lectures since I had to read and learn to learn myself).
Glad you took advantage of that! I'm just trying to remind Bogleheads here that saving hoards of cash and eating rice and beans everyday isn't the only way to meet your life goals. Sometimes we have to think outside of the box :wink:
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by z3r0c00l »

Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
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index2max
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:08 pm Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
Ivy league schools are also NOT friendly to matriculating students coming in with college credits through dual enrollment programs last time I checked several years ago. After all, they can't just make money off of rich families who pay full tuition.

Another reason to go the state school route, at least for STEM majors, is that if you do a good job in undergrad with a strong GPA, research with a professor or two etc., you can still go to an Ivy League school's graduate program where your full tuition will be covered by research assistant stipends anyways. Plus you only paid tuition at a state school, which is much cheaper.

Several people I knew at my state university went to places like Stanford for graduate school. You don't have to be an Ivy League undergrad to do their graduate programs.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Random Musings »

Also consider utilizing community colleges in for first two years. One that is in a county next to us excels in nursing and aeronautics.

Although I went to private schools both undergrad and grad (latter on the company dime), I took two summer classes at our community college. One class was good, but the instructor for the Technical Writing I had was outstanding.

Like any college, have to do your due diligence.

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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by dan7800 »

A college professor here. While this is not always the case, you FREQUENTLY get what you pay for (there are definite exceptions to this). I interviewed at a large number of schools, some large R1s to small state schools. From what I've seen, when my children look at colleges I will sway them more towards the more expensive/well-known schools. A huge part of what you pay for in a college is merely the name and the networking. When we think about the things that we spend our money on (larger TVs, carts etc...) I view college as the single best investment that can be made.

Your mileage will likely vary and I know a lot of folks have other experiences.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Old Guy »

My son needed the four years of college for maturation. We could afford it and it was worth the money.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by z3r0c00l »

Old Guy wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:22 am My son needed the four years of college for maturation. We could afford it and it was worth the money.
I think this is the crux of my experience, and is grounded in what we know about brain development, maturity takes until mid 20's for most people. It is an important transition stage between childhood and adulthood. 4 year college, internship(s), travel, this is invaluable between 18 and 24.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by dukeblue219 »

I took many AP courses in HS and scored 5s across the board, but my university (top tier engineering, ignore my username) only accepted a few of them. As such, I essentially retook a few at the college level in 2004. The AP classes were nothing like their college versions. Yeah the basics were covered to get the 5 on the AP exam but the undergrad versions were vastly more difficult and more thorough, rather than focusing on AP test prep.

I did not consider them equivalent in any way beyond the value of not having to take certain prerequisites.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by dan7800 »

dukeblue219 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:40 am I took many AP courses in HS and scored 5s across the board, but my university (top tier engineering, ignore my username) only accepted a few of them. As such, I essentially retook a few at the college level in 2004. The AP classes were nothing like their college versions. Yeah the basics were covered to get the 5 on the AP exam but the undergrad versions were vastly more difficult and more thorough, rather than focusing on AP test prep.

I did not consider them equivalent in any way beyond the value of not having to take certain prerequisites.
There are often state specific restrictions that limit the AP and other courses that can be transferred in. Always get this in writing before starting school.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by RedDog »

Don’t forget to consider the possibility of active duty/reserve/guard military service related education benefits.

The GI Bill benefits can also potentially be transferred dependents. Our daughter had her tuition paid for at a pretty good private college and the majority of her other expenses covered too.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by nisiprius »

1) "Plan on having your kid advance place out of two full years of college" is like saying "simply plan on having your kid get a full athletic scholarship."

2) The original posting has the flavor of the joke sign that says "if you need anything, just ask and I will tell you how to do without it."

3) Community college followed by a university is a workable plan, but it's not equivalent and depends on what you want to do and what your child wants for a college experience. For example, community colleges are not usually residential.

4) Community colleges are not free, and in-state tuition at a state university is considerably less expensive as private schools. So it is not fair to compare "four years of college versus two years," a better comparison would be "two years at community college followed by two years at a private university, versus four years at State U."

5) The elephant in the room in this discussions is always social prestige. We like to pretend it is all about the academics. How important the social prestige aspect is varies according to your income, class, and goals. But it's certainly a factor for some, even if it "shouldn't" be. I think it shouldn't be, but I recognize that it is there, particularly if the goal is not education but income enhancement.

And a personal note. I advance-placed out of freshman physics, and as a result I missed out on the famous demonstration involving the bowling ball suspended on a long wire. (The professor takes the ball and walks backward with it until their head is flat against the wall and the bowling ball is touching his nose. Then they release it and let it swing out and back, confident that the predictions of Newtonian physics guarantee that the ball will not quite hit their nose on the return swing). I've never seen it in real life. Probably not worth the effort of approaching a university and begging, or paying to audit freshman physics and only attending the one lecture. But does anybody really think I understand physics just as well as I would understand it if I had seen that demonstration, live?
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by stoptothink »

nisiprius wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:32 amAnd a personal note. I advance-placed out of freshman physics, and as a result I missed out on the famous demonstration involving the bowling ball suspended on a long wire. (The professor takes the ball and walks backward with it until their head is flat against the wall and the bowling ball is touching his nose. Then they release it and let it swing out and back, confident that the predictions of Newtonian physics guarantee that the ball will not quite hit their nose on the return swing). I've never seen it in real life. Probably not worth the effort of approaching a university and begging, or paying to audit freshman physics and only attending the one lecture. But does anybody really think I understand physics just as well as I would understand it if I had seen that demonstration, live?
It's not worth auditing a class for, but it's worth spending possibly thousands of dollars more to see? Not to mention, fairly easily replicated on your own. The things that people believe are magically better, simply because they take part on a college campus :oops:
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by dukeblue219 »

If you're going into debt to get a four year degree simply for the knowledge, you're doing it wrong. Similarly if you're doing it just for a diploma you're wasting your money. It needs to be both AND the experience you get through internships, co-ops, and part time jobs.

I could have learned basic EE theory from YouTube for free. I could have gotten a diploma for free from a no-name school. But honestly, the reason I'm successful in my job today is the connections I made at my university and the opportunities I had to get real experience before entering the workforce.

Good luck trying to get a job based on a bunch of audited classes and community college credits.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by alfaspider »

z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:08 pm Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
This is not necessarily true. Ivy League schools (and prestige equivalents) have huge endowments and can afford to be much more generous with financial aid than state schools. The very top Ivies have “no loan” policies for students and provide aid even for families making well into the six figures. Depending on circumstances, the Ivy could actually be cheaper. At the very least, you shouldn’t decide without seeing aid packages.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by EnjoyIt »

I did things a bit differently, I retook those AP classes in college and got myself very easy As. It allowed me to focus on the more difficult classes so that I can get As there as well. Also, college isn't just about finishing and getting a degree. It is an experience that I am so glad I had a chance to take part of. Decades later, I am still friends with my college buddies and we meet up regularly. Of course back then college wasn't that expensive. My wife on the other hand spent the first 2 years of college living at home and regrets that decision. I think, if one can afford it, a 4 year education is worth paying for.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by alfaspider »

AP classes and dual enrollment classes can be a great cost savings, but realistically you won’t likely be graduating in quicker than 3 years just from these strategies. Nor should someone plan not to save on the assumption that AP classes will take up the slack.

Starting at CC can be ok for some students, but there can be serious social downsides. Some more outgoing students can thrive, but others are going to end up depressed and isolated. The academic rigor at community college can also be hit or miss.

As for 529s, keep in mind that these accounts are tax strategies for high income parents, nothing more. They are missold as savings plans for the middle class.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by nigel_ht »

nisiprius wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:32 am 1) "Plan on having your kid advance place out of two full years of college" is like saying "simply plan on having your kid get a full athletic scholarship."
Yes, this depends on the kid. Mine is pretty lazy and not that bright but he’s taken 4 college classes using dual enrollment in his junior year. Planning on 4 more in senior year. That’s about a years worth head start.
4) Community colleges are not free, and in-state tuition at a state university is considerably less expensive as private schools. So it is not fair to compare "four years of college versus two years," a better comparison would be "two years at community college followed by two years at a private university, versus four years at State U."
From my thread:

https://www.valuepenguin.com/student-lo ... of-college

Scenario 1 - 4 years private, live on campus = $203,600
Scenario 2 - 4 years flagship state school - in state, live on campus = $101,160
Scenario 3 - 2 years community college (live at home) + 2 years in-state university (live on campus) = $18,360 + 50,580 = $68,940
Scenario 4 - 2 years community college + 2 years state school (live at home all 4 years) = $18,360 + 28290 = $47,340

viewtopic.php?p=5937245#p5937245

So somewhere from $30K to $130K savings. We can afford $30K of luxury so state flagship is our main hope vs 2+2.

The maturation process of those 4 years is important to us but the flexibilty of having an extra year in the tank (and the $100K we save from not doing an expensive non-elite private) I hope he’ll use on a semester as an exchange student and a co-op semester and still get out in 4 years.

But kids do what they are gonna do.

The other aspect of going 2+2 is depending on the kid you might be better off with 1-2 more years at home and then college...especially the big colleges where it is very impersonal the first couple years. A lot of my freshman classes were huge AND intentional weeder courses. I did fine but more than one kid ended partying too much and if lucky just ended up on academic probation.

The unlucky dropped out or transferred to community college anyway and a year behind.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by nigel_ht »

alfaspider wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:27 am
z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:08 pm Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
This is not necessarily true. Ivy League schools (and prestige equivalents) have huge endowments and can afford to be much more generous with financial aid than state schools. The very top Ivies have “no loan” policies for students and provide aid even for families making well into the six figures. Depending on circumstances, the Ivy could actually be cheaper. At the very least, you shouldn’t decide without seeing aid packages.
If your kid can get into HYPMS then it’s generally a no brainer.

The question is a no-name private worth $50K tuition a year? Or even $30K? Because you generally have to tack on another $10-15K for room and board.

The endowments at these schools tend to be a lot lower.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by alfaspider »

nigel_ht wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:27 am
z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:08 pm Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
This is not necessarily true. Ivy League schools (and prestige equivalents) have huge endowments and can afford to be much more generous with financial aid than state schools. The very top Ivies have “no loan” policies for students and provide aid even for families making well into the six figures. Depending on circumstances, the Ivy could actually be cheaper. At the very least, you shouldn’t decide without seeing aid packages.
If your kid can get into HYPMS then it’s generally a no brainer.

The question is a no-name private worth $50K tuition a year? Or even $30K? Because you generally have to tack on another $10-15K for room and board.

The endowments at these schools tend to be a lot lower.
Agreed. No name privates aren’t usually worth it, but can be beneficial for a student who needs a more personal touch to thrive and whose family can bear the cost without too much hardship.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by little_star »

index2max wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:06 pm
Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
If you have a gifted or motivated child, you should think about what opportunities you may be depriving them of if you follow this plan. Opportunity cost is real. Effective college education is not just about the classroom experience, it is also about the networking, leadership opportunities, and, yes, maturity, that comes from facing new challenges in a relatively supportive environment.

On a different note, I cringe everytime someone advocates that 2 years of community college plus 2 years at the local state university is equivalent to (but cheaper than) a 4 year degree at a single institution. This may be true for some degree programs, but not in my field. First, the required sophomore courses in my field are not usually offered at community colleges, so anyone attempting to transfer will require at least 3 years at my university to complete the major. Second, students develop friendships/study groups in the introductory courses. It is difficult for a transfer student to be accepted into these existing groups, so they are at a disadvantage in the upper-level courses. And third, research experience, i.e., working with faculty on a real research project, is not usually available at community colleges, whereas we regularly invite first year students, identified as excellent students in our introductory courses, to begin research with faculty as soon as feasible. Such research experiences are critical for any student considering working in this field, either directly after graduation or for entry into graduate programs. Thus, in my experience, a student who begins at a community college will be at a serious, perhaps irredeemable, disadvantage for my field of study.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by nigel_ht »

dan7800 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:56 am A college professor here. While this is not always the case, you FREQUENTLY get what you pay for (there are definite exceptions to this). I interviewed at a large number of schools, some large R1s to small state schools. From what I've seen, when my children look at colleges I will sway them more towards the more expensive/well-known schools. A huge part of what you pay for in a college is merely the name and the networking. When we think about the things that we spend our money on (larger TVs, carts etc...) I view college as the single best investment that can be made.

Your mileage will likely vary and I know a lot of folks have other experiences.
As the son of a professor and working at a highly ranked academic institution I will say “eh, maybe”.

My dad went to private university. Nice school, moderate name recognition. Not worth the $50K tuition if I have to pay full price.

Make too much for need based help. Not enough not to care about costs.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by nigel_ht »

little_star wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:48 am
index2max wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:06 pm
Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
If you have a gifted or motivated child, you should think about what opportunities you may be depriving them of if you follow this plan. Opportunity cost is real. Effective college education is not just about the classroom experience, it is also about the networking, leadership opportunities, and, yes, maturity, that comes from facing new challenges in a relatively supportive environment.
How gifted is the question. The bar these days is high:

https://www.ted.com/talks/taylor_wilson ... anguage=en

This is the guy Asian parents will be brow bearing their kids with:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... tjonnykim/

Navy seal (silver star), doctor (Harvard of course) and now astronaut. M’hmm.

That guy is tailor made to run for senator someday.
On a different note, I cringe everytime someone advocates that 2 years of community college plus 2 years at the local state university is equivalent to (but cheaper than) a 4 year degree at a single institution. This may be true for some degree programs, but not in my field. First, the required sophomore courses in my field are not usually offered at community colleges, so anyone attempting to transfer will require at least 3 years at my university to complete the major. Second, students develop friendships/study groups in the introductory courses. It is difficult for a transfer student to be accepted into these existing groups, so they are at a disadvantage in the upper-level courses. And third, research experience, i.e., working with faculty on a real research project, is not usually available at community colleges, whereas we regularly invite first year students, identified as excellent students in our introductory courses, to begin research with faculty as soon as feasible. Such research experiences are critical for any student considering working in this field, either directly after graduation or for entry into graduate programs. Thus, in my experience, a student who begins at a community college will be at a serious, perhaps irredeemable, disadvantage for my field of study.
How about an internship at Fermi?

https://internships.fnal.gov/community- ... ships-cci/

Or JPL?

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/intern/app ... -scholars/

Actually that gives you access to any NASA center.

Ya think a moderately gifted and motivated student (aka didn’t build a fusion reactor in his garage) would be more or less competitive in getting a slot in these CC internships than in the normal NASA summer internships?

The number of undergrads doing research at any prestigious research institution is very low. 40 for the robotics institute at CMU. Most juniors or seniors.

You show me a motivated and gifted student I would be inclined to say “Learn German. Go to Technical university of Munich for free. #14 in the world for computer science. #24 for engineering. Live 4 years in the EU. Come back with a perspective and life experience you wouldn’t get at UPenn.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by RXfiles »

Barely any people passed the AP classes when I was in high school. That was 10 years ago tho. The classes were way harder than the college equivalents I took later.
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index2max
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

little_star wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:48 am
index2max wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:06 pm
Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
If you have a gifted or motivated child, you should think about what opportunities you may be depriving them of if you follow this plan. Opportunity cost is real. Effective college education is not just about the classroom experience, it is also about the networking, leadership opportunities, and, yes, maturity, that comes from facing new challenges in a relatively supportive environment.
Which majors are you referring to. One girl who participated in PSEO at the same time as me got her biology college degree done in two years after high school, went on to medical school, did her residency at Stanford Medical school and is now a professor of neurology at an Ivy Leage University. She did plenty of research with professors too, probably. Are you really going to tell me she didn't get a great deal from PSEO in MN by getting two years of college courses done in high school?

I am talking strictly about getting college classes out of the way, the education part. Can't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections. For a typical student majoring in science, math or engineering, it's definitely in their best interest to get the freshman- or sophomore-level courses out of the way in high school ASAP.
little_star wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:48 am On a different note, I cringe everytime someone advocates that 2 years of community college plus 2 years at the local state university is equivalent to (but cheaper than) a 4 year degree at a single institution. This may be true for some degree programs, but not in my field. First, the required sophomore courses in my field are not usually offered at community colleges, so anyone attempting to transfer will require at least 3 years at my university to complete the major. Second, students develop friendships/study groups in the introductory courses. It is difficult for a transfer student to be accepted into these existing groups, so they are at a disadvantage in the upper-level courses. And third, research experience, i.e., working with faculty on a real research project, is not usually available at community colleges, whereas we regularly invite first year students, identified as excellent students in our introductory courses, to begin research with faculty as soon as feasible. Such research experiences are critical for any student considering working in this field, either directly after graduation or for entry into graduate programs. Thus, in my experience, a student who begins at a community college will be at a serious, perhaps irredeemable, disadvantage for my field of study.
Regarding transferring to a four-year institution from a community college, it all depends on the individual institutions. Yes, it's possible to miss out on things as a transfer student. It's always good to do your research ahead of time and talk to students and professors about it before committing to a plan. I've talked to students who weren't aware of four-year college policies after transferring because those topics were only discussed at freshman orientation. Always good to double check policies with staff etc.

Quality of education at a community college varies with the institution. What I think is a waste of money is paying to have your kid take freshman physics or chemistry or calculus in a 400-person lecture room. Those courses can and should be completed in high school for a fraction of the cost.
RXfiles wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:40 am Barely any people passed the AP classes when I was in high school. That was 10 years ago tho. The classes were way harder than the college equivalents I took later.
The AP route is tougher than dual enrollment at a local college of university in high school. Take calculus for example. The AP exam tests you on a semester or year's worth of content. If you take a calculus course at a university you only have midterms and a final exam to worry about, which makes it possible to forget things and refresh them just before the exams. I would personally put more stock in a good AP exam score for freshman physics, chemistry or math than an "A" grade at a typical public college or university just because of that factor. Still the freshman-level STEM courses at my uni were decent enough
Last edited by index2max on Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
HereToLearn
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by HereToLearn »

RXfiles wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:40 am Barely any people passed the AP classes when I was in high school. That was 10 years ago tho. The classes were way harder than the college equivalents I took later.
More than 90% of the students who took AP exams at my children's HS scored 3, 4 or 5. I believe a three is considered passing. Scores of the more difficult BC Calc & Physics C exams were almost all 5's, although as the years went on and more people enrolled in AP exams, some 4's started appearing. The course content and exams were not more difficult that the equivalent college material, but like so many topics in higher education, this varies widely.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by stoptothink »

RXfiles wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:40 am Barely any people passed the AP classes when I was in high school. That was 10 years ago tho. The classes were way harder than the college equivalents I took later.
Probably the two most difficult classes I ever took were AP classes in high school, and I have an "elite" undergrad and a PhD. I believe ever single person who took those classes got a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, although most got "C's" in the class. Teachers who cared WAY more than any professor I ever had and small class sizes.
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index2max
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

nigel_ht wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 am
You show me a motivated and gifted student I would be inclined to say “Learn German. Go to Technical university of Munich for free. #14 in the world for computer science. #24 for engineering. Live 4 years in the EU. Come back with a perspective and life experience you wouldn’t get at UPenn.
Yes, I have read about that too. Thanks to the high personal-income taxation rate in Germany, the German government can afford to actually attract foreigners such as Americans to their higher education institutions to learn engineering there. Of course this is in the hopes that those students will stay there to work at German engineering companies, but it's a pretty sweet deal.

Of course, if the student is going for free, the professors don't have to be "nice" by going along with grade inflation. The students and their parents are no longer "customers". The professors can grade as harshly as they feel, from what I heard.

Still, it's definitely something off the beaten track, which I recommend anyone look into. Makes life interesting that way.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Tingting1013 »

index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by mermlund »

I'm a somewhat recent college grad. Took mostly dual credit but some AP in high school and accumulated around 35 credits before entering college, all for free. Went to an out-of-state public university but got a pretty huge scholarship so cost was very low. All credits transferred and I only had a small handful of prereqs to take. Decided to do a double major in college and realized coming into year 2 that if I took one or two online courses the following summer, I could graduate in 2.5 years (5 semesters).

Ended up working out even better because I graduated in December 2019, right before COVID hit. Had I graduated in 3 years instead of 2.5, would have had to deal with classes and graduation being canceled. I like to think I foresaw the pandemic and made that choice but...

Very glad I took the cheap undergrad option and graduated early because now I have extra resources to put towards grad school. My biggest advice to kids looking at undergrad is that the prestige of your undergrad university matters very little. It does not always seem this way when looking at colleges because the fancy schools want to sell that they provide extravagant things and opportunities other schools do not provide. Don't take the bait. The well-paying job I got after school was entirely due to the people I met and work I did as a student, not because of where I went to school. While this certainly depends on the field one is going into, very few degrees are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That money is much better spent on graduate school, or a house, lol.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by z3r0c00l »

alfaspider wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:27 am
z3r0c00l wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:08 pm Let me also vote for state schools vs ivy-league if money is a concern. My school runs about $21,000 including room and food for anyone in state. (Extra 10K out of state, still a good deal imho.) Ivy league and other expensive private schools are all in the low 70,000s these days, outrageous unless you really have money.
This is not necessarily true. Ivy League schools (and prestige equivalents) have huge endowments and can afford to be much more generous with financial aid than state schools. The very top Ivies have “no loan” policies for students and provide aid even for families making well into the six figures. Depending on circumstances, the Ivy could actually be cheaper. At the very least, you shouldn’t decide without seeing aid packages.
Good point, if your kid is in the top 1% of students in their school and can get a free ride at an ivy, they should go for it.
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index2max
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
mermlund wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:37 am I'm a somewhat recent college grad. Took mostly dual credit but some AP in high school and accumulated around 35 credits before entering college, all for free. Went to an out-of-state public university but got a pretty huge scholarship so cost was very low. All credits transferred and I only had a small handful of prereqs to take. Decided to do a double major in college and realized coming into year 2 that if I took one or two online courses the following summer, I could graduate in 2.5 years (5 semesters).

Ended up working out even better because I graduated in December 2019, right before COVID hit. Had I graduated in 3 years instead of 2.5, would have had to deal with classes and graduation being canceled. I like to think I foresaw the pandemic and made that choice but...

Very glad I took the cheap undergrad option and graduated early because now I have extra resources to put towards grad school. My biggest advice to kids looking at undergrad is that the prestige of your undergrad university matters very little. It does not always seem this way when looking at colleges because the fancy schools want to sell that they provide extravagant things and opportunities other schools do not provide. Don't take the bait. The well-paying job I got after school was entirely due to the people I met and work I did as a student, not because of where I went to school. While this certainly depends on the field one is going into, very few degrees are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That money is much better spent on graduate school, or a house, lol.
Glad to hear getting the college credits done in high school saved you some money too! :sharebeer
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Hannibal Barca »

1) I think you can level-set with your kid that you're only paying for 3 years of higher ed; 2 years is wishful thinking and can actually be a negative during corporate recruiting. Think the airplane test; do you really want to work with someone who was "all business" and cut his college time in half? Most people don't.

2) If you aspire for your kid to make six figures, (i) prestige of the school and (ii) recruiting opportunities are the most important aspects of college selection, assuming roughly equivalent costs. A top in state school can deliver those things, as can an Ivy or something like it. Avoid expensive, "kind of" high ranked schools and very good schools no one has heard of. And all other things equal, larger schools are better because of the larger network. That said, very little you learn in undergrad couldn't be gotten for "$1.50 in late fees from the public library."

3) On IB: If you can, have your child go to an AP school over IB, as it's better reward for the effort in the US. Most IB courses won't translate into college credit unless their are the "Higher Level" exams (vs. "Standard Level"), and I think most high schools restrict kids to only taking 3 or 4 Higher Level exams. Meanwhile a good student could rack up something like 10 AP classes during high school and get the college credit.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by manatee2005 »

People who do 2 years of community college then a no name state school don't know what they're missing. It would be like me telling people not to buy a Porsche 911 if I only drove Toyotas all my life and didn't know what I was missing out on.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Scooter57 »

Random Musings wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:19 pm Also consider utilizing community colleges in for first two years. One that is in a county next to us excels in nursing and aeronautics.

Although I went to private schools both undergrad and grad (latter on the company dime), I took two summer classes at our community college. One class was good, but the instructor for the Technical Writing I had was outstanding.

Like any college, have to do your due diligence.

RM
I totally second this. Both my kids didn't go right to college because they didn't really have any clue of what they wanted to do besides get away from home and do what 18 year olds like to do best. They both went back to community colleges when they were motivated to learn something, both got far, far better grades than they had in high school (where they were more interested in Football and Friends). Both transitioned to very good flagship state universities with full scholarships. I have helped out with some expenses, but not a lot, and the kids are debt-free. Most importantly they both studied things they truly love, and their more mature attitude helped make important contacts with professors. Having taught at the university level, I know how rare it is to have intelligent, highly motivated students who ask questions besides, "Will that be on the test."

Re the idea of using AP to place out of two years of college. NO! No, no, a thousand times no. I say this based on my own experience. I went to university that was ranked in the top 5 in the US. This university allowed students to test out of the first two years of college using complex exams. I ended up being a college junior at the age of 17. What a disaster! Like my kids, I was interested mostly in the things that older teens are interested in and had no idea what I really wanted to do, having no experience of life outside of high school. I got a silly degree that was completely useless for employment, choosing courses that were easy because I was sick of going to school.

I went back to school years later at a decent but not great state university where I got another seeming useless degree but ran into a professor who was something of a superstar who helped me take the first step on what turned out to be a lifelong career. Since I still couldn't make a living at it, I went to a two year Technical Institute, where I got a programming degree that got me hired into Megacorp and gave me another set of skills without which I couldn't have done what I have done.

I have yet to think of a single useful thing I got from that fancy, expensive college. I can however report that in my first year there, the first person who turned me on to cannabis was someone who went on to become the CEO of a major investment bank.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by eye.surgeon »

My college years were formative and not just because of classes. The socialization, friendships and connections made have benefited me for decades. I hold a dim view of AP classes and online school. College is much more than just getting a class credit. I feel sorry for people who graduate with a degree and never have the experience of living in the dorms, hanging out on the quad, studying in the library with friends, attending football games, and all the other experiences that make college the most important 4 years of your life.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Tingting1013 »

index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
It’s pretty clear you don’t know what it takes to reach the top jobs in “business”
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Big Dog »

Consider this as an alternative to spending lots of money on 529 accounts, especially if you have a gifted or motivated child.
Personally, I think this is a terrible idea particularly for a gifted child. But as my mom used to say, 'to each their own'.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by beyou »

Family of 4 with all undergrad degrees, and 2 went to grad school. My 2 kids went to highly challenging colleges, both competitive to get in and stay in (lots flunk out).

Both schools had policies against giving credit for college courses given before graduating HS, except AP credits, and even then, limit AP credits. They limit AP both by total credits, and by score (some test you need 5/5 to get any credit, or 4 for less credit, 5 for more).

One son took a community college course in lieu of taking a required course on campus, primarily because it was of no interest to him and known to be MUCH easier at community colleges. He barely studied, 3 hour labs were 1 hour, and he got a B+ in this science course. The education simply wasn’t the same as in his expensive 4 year college.

And yes you pay more for networking, but that is worth alot. One son got multiple jobs (coop/intern/full time) through alumni, student and professor connections). He is doing very well today, and PART of his success is the school and people he met there. They pushed him hard but also helped him with connections. He was accepted to much larger state U with merit scholarships, but he would have been an anonymous number there. And our local community colleges are a joke academically, one step above HS. Not the same, and was “worth it” to me to see my child achieve as he has in and after college.

529 savings helped pay for it.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Superleaf444 »

Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
It’s pretty clear you don’t know what it takes to reach the top jobs in “business”

Speaking of which, 90% of my jobs I've had came from the network I built at the university I attended. 0% came from the cheap community college classes I wasted money on.

(btw this isn't a comment against community college. If knew better, I would have taken care of different classes in community college. I stumbled a lot and had no help from my parents.)
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
It’s pretty clear you don’t know what it takes to reach the top jobs in “business”
Ok, go ahead and jump through hoops just to please someone else because that's considered the "conventional" route. If I were running a business, I'd prefer to hire people who think outside of the box, not bean counters and copy what everyone else does. Innovators are the ones doing something different and acquire an edge over their competitors.

It all depends on what you're looking for. Want a prestigious job on Wall Street? Yeah, getting into an Ivy league school and going there for four years while you build connections is probably not a bad idea.

If what you are after is the knowledge and credentials, then there are cheaper ways to go for it like taking advantage of AP/CLEP exams or dual enrollment. Sounds like some of the Bogleheads here are after networking and the "experience" of being on a college campus. I personally don't think it's worth paying $60k-$240k for a four-year degree just for that.

I've seen lots of kids who get liberal arts degrees at private colleges costing $60,000/year only to go on to low-paying jobs serving coffee WITH student loan debt to boot :oops:
eye.surgeon wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm My college years were formative and not just because of classes. The socialization, friendships and connections made have benefited me for decades. I hold a dim view of AP classes and online school. College is much more than just getting a class credit. I feel sorry for people who graduate with a degree and never have the experience of living in the dorms, hanging out on the quad, studying in the library with friends, attending football games, and all the other experiences that make college the most important 4 years of your life.
I consider the "college experience" to be vastly overrated. I went to parties, but that was a waste of time. The point of college is to get an education. If you want to socialize, there are many other cheaper ways to do it outside of college. Again, it all depends on what you and your children are after in life.
Last edited by index2max on Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
afan
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by afan »

Many problems with this approach.

Requires that either the high school offers sufficiently advanced courses or that there is a suitable community or 4 year college nearby.

Requires the student to be capable of doing an accelerated program. Some can, many cannot.

Requires that the middle school and high school offer the courses and permit the student to enroll in them so that they have the prerequisites for the college level courses. The student has to take these prerequisites early enough to then take the college courses while still in high school. I went to what was considered an excellent high school but it took constant pressure from my parents to get permission to take courses above what the school considered to be my grade level. Sometimes they went along with it, sometimes not. I had to take advanced courses over the summer to get around their attitude. Not free and prevented doing as much work as would have been possible otherwise. I still resent the treatment.

Not all colleges accept AP courses for credit. The same course can be taught at a wide range of rigor and abstraction. AP calculus, for example, is nothing like what the math majors would take in their frosh year at my alma mater. Almost all of them have taken at least a year of calculus before they start. Often much more. For people who truly are ready for the next level courses, they offer reviews of the content and level of the pre-college courses a student has taken and often use placement exams. With this, SOME students who may have received a 5 will be ready to skip the intro course. My kids went through this at different colleges than mine. They were able to start with higher level courses based on what they knew. The colleges did not care about the AP scores because the curricula were so limited compared to what they taught. At my alma mater no one gets credit for the pre-college preparation.

Again, using my alma mater, there is no need to keep students there for 4 years to collect tuition. If a student graduates early, their slot is just filled by someone else. The size of the student body and the tuition dollars received do not change. No problem finding top quality replacements.

If you have an academically advanced student then it is appropriate to find course work advanced enough to keep them stimulated and engaged. But don't stop saving for college.
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Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

afan wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:47 pm Many problems with this approach.

Requires that either the high school offers sufficiently advanced courses or that there is a suitable community or 4 year college nearby.

Requires the student to be capable of doing an accelerated program. Some can, many cannot.

Requires that the middle school and high school offer the courses and permit the student to enroll to have the prerequisites for the college level courses. The student has to take these prerequisites early enough to then take the colle courses while still in high school. I went to what was considered an excellent high school but it took constant pressure from my parents to get permission to take courses above what they considered to be my grade level. Sometimes they went along with it, sometimes not. I had to take advanced courses over the summer to get around their attitude. Not free and prevented doing as much work as would have been possible otherwise.

Not all colleges accept AP courses for credit. The same course can be taught at a wide range of rigor and abstraction. AP calculus, for example, is nothing like what the math majors would take in their frosh year. Almost all of them have taken at least a year of calculus before they start. Often much more. For people who truly are ready for the next level courses, they offer reviews of the content and level of the pre-college courses a student has taken and placement exams. With this, SOME students who may have received a 5 will be ready to skip the intro course. My kids went through this at different colleges than mine. They were able to start with higher level courses based on what they knew. The colleges did not care about the AP scores because the curricula were so limited compared to what they taught. At my alma mater no one gets credit for the pre-college preparation.

Again, using my alma mater, there is no need to keep students there for 4 years to collect tuition. If a student graduates early, their slot is just filled by someone else. The size of the student body and the tuition dollars received do not change. No problem finding top quality replacements.

If you have an academically advanced student then it is appropriate to find course work advanced enough to keep them stimulated and engaged. But don't stop saving for college.
That's right. Your child should be motivated and smart enough to go outside the box and take advantage approaches that net them two years or more of college credits in high school. Ideally the parent or another role model or support group is there to help the student along with this unconventional approach.

I did not instruct people to NOT save for college at all, I am suggesting they not fuss over 529 plans so much and consider ways to avoid paying the sticker price for a four-year degree.

I know people who work in academia and have listened in on some of the online conferences they've been attending. One thing I've constantly heard from professors in liberal arts fields is that overall college enrollment is dwindling. There are too many colleges in the US and not enough qualified students to fill those slots.

You don't have to live nearby a university or in-person school to take advantage of AP exams. Plenty of homeschool families use AP exams to skip ahead in college. This homeschool family used AP exams to skip the first two years of college and earn STEM degrees.

https://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/curr ... -and-more/

Yes, not all colleges are AP-exam-friendly, you have to shop around. The future is moving towards online schooling anyways, the ones who refuse to adapt will be left behind and go bankrupt.
lazynovice
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:48 pm

Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by lazynovice »

Both of our kids earned a lot of AP credit. 40 hours for one and 47 for the other (some 4 hour classes so the numbers are weird). The one who earned the 47 actually could have gotten another 6 if he had tried harder but I digress...These were non-STEM degrees. Their school recommended STEM students retake the classes. And yes, all of the classes counted toward their degrees.

We let them decide whether to use the credit in college or take the classes over. They both chose to take the credit. One used the extra time and money to get his masters. The other added a minor but will still graduate in three years with money left over for grad school if he decides to go later. Neither of them ever took very full course loads. They were able to enjoy college with more free time for internships and friends. There were some regrets about being in classes with older students rather than a bunch of 18 year olds but they gravitated toward other students in those classes who were in the same situation. The older kid still recommended the path to the younger kid.

For us, the savings did not result in bigger retirement accounts since the money went to graduate degrees we had not planned to pay for. That is a choice we made.
Last edited by lazynovice on Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
Tingting1013
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by Tingting1013 »

index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:43 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:04 amCan't speak to non-STEM majors here. What you talk about might make sense for a kid majoring in business at Harvard for the connections.
And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
It’s pretty clear you don’t know what it takes to reach the top jobs in “business”
Ok, go ahead and jump through hoops just to please someone else because that's considered the "conventional" route. If I were running a business, I'd prefer to hire people who think outside of the box, not bean counters and copy what everyone else does. Innovators are the ones doing something different and acquire an edge over their competitors.

It all depends on what you're looking for. Want a prestigious job on Wall Street? Yeah, getting into an Ivy league school and going there for four years while you build connections is probably not a bad idea.

If what you are after is the knowledge and credentials, then there are cheaper ways to go for it like taking advantage of AP/CLEP exams or dual enrollment. Sounds like some of the Bogleheads here are after networking and the "experience" of being on a college campus. I personally don't think it's worth paying $60k-$240k for a four-year degree just for that.

I've seen lots of kids who get liberal arts degrees at private colleges costing $60,000/year only to go on to low-paying jobs serving coffee WITH student loan debt to boot :oops:
eye.surgeon wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm My college years were formative and not just because of classes. The socialization, friendships and connections made have benefited me for decades. I hold a dim view of AP classes and online school. College is much more than just getting a class credit. I feel sorry for people who graduate with a degree and never have the experience of living in the dorms, hanging out on the quad, studying in the library with friends, attending football games, and all the other experiences that make college the most important 4 years of your life.
I consider the "college experience" to be vastly overrated. I went to parties, but that was a waste of time. The point of college is to get an education. If you want to socialize, there are many other cheaper ways to do it outside of college. Again, it all depends on what you and your children are after in life.
I don’t think you are here to have a productive conversation so I will just point out just one of the fatal flaws in your approach and then take my leave.

For a college student interested in a top-tier business career (not just “Wall Street”), the #1 critical thing to have in on your resume is a great summer internship with a known company, and hopefully more than one.

Someone who got the first two years of college “out of the way” in CC is basically locked out of these internships compared to someone who actually spent the first two years on the campus of the 4 year school making connections and learning how to compete for these sought after internships.
Topic Author
index2max
Posts: 461
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:01 pm

Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by index2max »

Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:56 pm
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:43 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm
index2max wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:36 am

And this in a nutshell is the problem with your post.

Not everyone wants to be an engineer or doctor. A small minority in fact.
No, there isn't any problem with my post at all. Costs matter. I am telling parents on here to NOT resign themselves into spending tens of thousands of dollars for college if there are alternative routes available, of which they might not know.

Even for a business major, it's possible to get a college degree in business at certain colleges by the age of 18 through CLEP exams too.

https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/publi ... ent128.cfm
It’s pretty clear you don’t know what it takes to reach the top jobs in “business”
Ok, go ahead and jump through hoops just to please someone else because that's considered the "conventional" route. If I were running a business, I'd prefer to hire people who think outside of the box, not bean counters and copy what everyone else does. Innovators are the ones doing something different and acquire an edge over their competitors.

It all depends on what you're looking for. Want a prestigious job on Wall Street? Yeah, getting into an Ivy league school and going there for four years while you build connections is probably not a bad idea.

If what you are after is the knowledge and credentials, then there are cheaper ways to go for it like taking advantage of AP/CLEP exams or dual enrollment. Sounds like some of the Bogleheads here are after networking and the "experience" of being on a college campus. I personally don't think it's worth paying $60k-$240k for a four-year degree just for that.

I've seen lots of kids who get liberal arts degrees at private colleges costing $60,000/year only to go on to low-paying jobs serving coffee WITH student loan debt to boot :oops:
eye.surgeon wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:30 pm My college years were formative and not just because of classes. The socialization, friendships and connections made have benefited me for decades. I hold a dim view of AP classes and online school. College is much more than just getting a class credit. I feel sorry for people who graduate with a degree and never have the experience of living in the dorms, hanging out on the quad, studying in the library with friends, attending football games, and all the other experiences that make college the most important 4 years of your life.
I consider the "college experience" to be vastly overrated. I went to parties, but that was a waste of time. The point of college is to get an education. If you want to socialize, there are many other cheaper ways to do it outside of college. Again, it all depends on what you and your children are after in life.
I don’t think you are here to have a productive conversation so I will just point out just one of the fatal flaws in your approach and then take my leave.

For a college student interested in a top-tier business career (not just “Wall Street”), the #1 critical thing to have in on your resume is a great summer internship with a known company, and hopefully more than one.

Someone who got the first two years of college “out of the way” in CC is basically locked out of these internships compared to someone who actually spent the first two years on the campus of the 4 year school making connections and learning how to compete for these sought after internships.
Yes, internships matter for business and engineering majors too. I'm sure plenty of businesses would love to hire mature kids who demonstrated the self-motivation to save on college credits in high school. Maybe some of those same managers interviewing those same kids would like advice on how to save on college for their children in the future too someday :wink:

I am here to tell parents there is more than ONE way to get college done. They don't have to take my advice, but seeing the comments here from others who skipped college credits, they sound happy with it
afan
Posts: 5766
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Don't fuss about 529 accounts. Have your child skip the first two years of college instead!

Post by afan »

Re: the "college experience". Recently I realized that I did not have one. Listening to people reminisce about college days at an online reunion event, it became clear that what they remembered was totally different from what I did. They had all these wonderful times hanging out in the dorm, going to games, parties, extracurriculars and all that TV-movie version of college.

I remember classes, libraries, labs for courses and labs for research. The lab where I did research was far enough away that it was a struggle to get back in time for dinner before the dining hall closed. Often I would have my roommates get something for me so I did not have to leave the lab early.

When I did get back, I still had to do my homework, since the afternoon had been filled with labs for courses and research lab. So I would eat in my room while I started the evening's studying. This started frosh year.

There was nothing to compare to this in the courses I took in high school. Not just night and day the level of education but so qualitatively different that they could not be related to high school.

Not all my classmates acted like grad students while undergrad. But high school courses were essentially irrelevant to my college experience.

I graduated early because I took extra courses while I was there, not because of AP credit.

In my field, connections count for nothing. Grad school was based on grades, test scores and undergrad research. Opinions of my fellow undergrads never came up. Same for every step of my career thereafter.
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