What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

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vanbogle59
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by vanbogle59 »

Take Columbia (the most expensive Ivy, I think):

Tuition* $58,920
Mandatory Fees $2,751
Average Room and Board Cost $15,130
Books and Personal Expenses $3,538
Travel varies
Total $80,339 + Travel

You can get close.
oldfort
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by oldfort »

MrCheapo wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:14 pm For background my kid will have a 4.0 GPA (but not "just" 4 APA classes), combined we earn about $300K a year and assets of $5+M.

Would they qualify for any tuition breaks based on people's experience? Is it roughly 10%, 50% or something else?
You will get zero need based aid. You might get some merit aid at some schools. Most of the top tier privates don't give out merit aid.
cableguy
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by cableguy »

My oldest went to private university and got merit $ that made the tuition similar to state college number. In his first year we bought the most expensive meal plan, tickets to every sporting game, etc. We went all in. No regrets. He's now a junior. Lives off campus, has a car, has no meal plan with the school. So things change as things progress. Many of the private schools will throw you money if you have strong grades. I'm going through the same process now with my next kid whose a HS senior. I do think the schools are getting stingy now. They have pressure to help minorities and low income students. So even if your kid has great grades, if you make good income....you may not get much $$$.
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ram
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by ram »

lazynovice wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:03 pm Straight from the horse’s mouth: Harvard does not give merit scholarships. When you see the stories of students getting full scholarships to Harvard, they are need based.
https://college.harvard.edu/resources/f ... ds-harvard
Correct. My daughter paid full sticker price at Harvard a few years ago. Tuition plus living costs were approx 75 K /year.
Our household income is somewhat more than the OP and we have never received any need based aid for any of our kids.
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MrCheapo
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by MrCheapo »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:56 pm
cockersx3 wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:14 pm My daughter had a 3.8 UW GPA and decent test scores, and applied to about a dozen or so colleges this year. I would characterize the schools to which she applied as the higher end of mid tier - not Harvard or MIT or anything, but not Crazy Larry's Discount U either. Our income and assets are high, so no need-based aid for us.

After merit aid, almost all of the colleges' all-in cost per year were within $10K of the tuition / room / board cost of our flagship state U. I think one or two were under the cost, but the others were up to around $10K above the all-in cost of state U. After talking to neighbors and peers, my experience was not uncommon. Strangely, peers of mine who live in other states reported similar experiences - whatever the all-in cost of their flagship State U was, seemed to be where all of the colleges targeted their aid packages.
This was our experience with our daughter who had a 3.96 unweighted GPA and good test scores.

Who doesn’t get merit aid at those mid range schools? The kids from wealthy families who have 2.5 GPAs and are obvious partiers and slackers. Those parents get to pay full pay for the privilege of getting the kid out of the house and someplace reasonably respectable. Because those schools know that those kids are not getting into their state flagships in most states and it is either a respectable private school or some “directional” regional state college.
Thanks do you mind giving me some examples what these mid-tier schools are?
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MrCheapo
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by MrCheapo »

manatee2005 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:39 am Why do you care if you have a 5 mil net worth?
Because with 2 kids their total tuition is going to cost close to 20% of my net worth. The cost to educate a kid is now the cost of buying a house so of course I'm going to ask for a break.
texasdiver
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by texasdiver »

MrCheapo wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:54 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:56 pm
cockersx3 wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:14 pm My daughter had a 3.8 UW GPA and decent test scores, and applied to about a dozen or so colleges this year. I would characterize the schools to which she applied as the higher end of mid tier - not Harvard or MIT or anything, but not Crazy Larry's Discount U either. Our income and assets are high, so no need-based aid for us.

After merit aid, almost all of the colleges' all-in cost per year were within $10K of the tuition / room / board cost of our flagship state U. I think one or two were under the cost, but the others were up to around $10K above the all-in cost of state U. After talking to neighbors and peers, my experience was not uncommon. Strangely, peers of mine who live in other states reported similar experiences - whatever the all-in cost of their flagship State U was, seemed to be where all of the colleges targeted their aid packages.
This was our experience with our daughter who had a 3.96 unweighted GPA and good test scores.

Who doesn’t get merit aid at those mid range schools? The kids from wealthy families who have 2.5 GPAs and are obvious partiers and slackers. Those parents get to pay full pay for the privilege of getting the kid out of the house and someplace reasonably respectable. Because those schools know that those kids are not getting into their state flagships in most states and it is either a respectable private school or some “directional” regional state college.
Thanks do you mind giving me some examples what these mid-tier schools are?
Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
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grogu
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by grogu »

vanbogle59 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:54 am What is your point?
I’ll repeat it:
grogu wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:10 am that’s my point: The cost of college is so insanely expensive at many schools, that even people with a $5M net worth can’t just write a blank check anywhere they want without at least considering all of the implications and their other options.
vanbogle59 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:54 am If you don't think it's worth it, don't pay it.
But, how can you ask someone else to pay it for you? Again, OMG.
I didn’t say he shouldn’t pay it. But $100k (or $85k) a year isn’t chump change--even to someone with a $5M net worth. Especially, as I said, if you have multiple kids and grad school to pay for (not to mention if a lot of the money is home equity or tied up in a business). He’s allowed to ask whether financial aid is a possibility. It probably won’t be. But to castigate him as if he’s trying to collect welfare or steal from the collection plate just for ASKING about getting aid seems a little harsh. Many schools have endowments in the billions.

Out of curiosity, what is your net worth cutoff in order for someone to not be allowed to ask for aid?
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vanbogle59
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by vanbogle59 »

grogu wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:24 pm as if he’s trying to collect welfare
AS IF? No. I wouldn't say that.

If I say any more on this topic, I think the moderators might (rightly) ban me for life.
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MrCheapo
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by MrCheapo »

texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
lazynovice
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by lazynovice »

MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
He is saying that is where she got merit offers. You get more merit from lower ranked schools than your match schools. Merit offers go to kids who bring up the average test score at a school.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Even with today’s inflated grades, not for unweighted GPA. I guess schools that have 72 valedictorians probably have multiple 4.0s though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/postever ... ictorians/
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
stoptothink
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by stoptothink »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:14 am
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Even with today’s inflated grades, not for unweighted GPA. I guess schools that have 72 valedictorians probably have multiple 4.0s though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/postever ... ictorians/
We went to my cousin's graduation 2yrs ago because she was valedictorian. We didn't find out until we got there that she was one of 19 who graduated with a 4.0 in a graduating class of <400. She went to local U (her test scores were not what you would expect from someone with an unweighted 4.0). I think there were about a dozen this past year at the school where my step-father teaches. My sister was valedictorian and I was salutatorian at a larger high school (graduating classes >600), I think both of us were <3.9.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

MrCheapo wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:59 pm
manatee2005 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:39 am Why do you care if you have a 5 mil net worth?
Because with 2 kids their total tuition is going to cost close to 20% of my net worth. The cost to educate a kid is now the cost of buying a house so of course I'm going to ask for a break.
Only if you round up to a million and down to five million. Annual tuition is less than the safe withdrawal rate on your NW.

You're not going to get a need-based break, but if your kids are bright, the way to get merit typically is to be attractive to a school that a tier below where they 'match'; so if your kid is HYPS quality, then Vanderbilt/Northwestern/etc. are going to be the schools to look at. State schools often have full scholarships for top applicants, too.
Normchad
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by Normchad »

My kid didn’t pay 1 dollar for her undergrad tuition. She was a very strong student, who graduated at the top of her high school class and got great standardized test scores.

She was admitted to UVA, William & Mary, etc etc. the only school she wasn’t accepted to was Stanford.

She choose to go to University of Alabama, because it was the best fit for her, and they gave her a free ride.

That’s really crux of it. If you want a lot of merit aid, you have to go someplace that isn’t as prestigious as the best place you got accepted. Your student has to be a reach for that school, a better student than would normally go to that school.

With high income and assets,you won’t get merit aid to the best school you can get into, unless you are truly amazing at something. World class cellist, or something like that.

USNWR rankings are trash. But people can’t talk about anything else. Be prepared to pay if you want to climb the schools in the rankings.

So, we paid zero for tuition. We paid ~ 5 thousand for books and fees. And we probably paid around $40K total for apartment rents, food, and travel. So $45K total for 4 years.

And after graduation, she received fully funded PhD offers to 8 out 10 schools she applied to.

Also, it seemed to us at the time that every school offered some merit aid to her. But it felt perfunctory, and I’m guessing everybody got it. Like a $5K chancellors scholarship, etc etc. my guess at that time was that it was a manipulative form of anchoring. They artificially raised the prices by 10k, so that everybody could get a break. And now they happily pay 40K/year, because they feel like they’re going to a 50K school, but getting a break. Not realizing that everybody gets the same break, and that they’re still paying $40K.
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by texasdiver »

MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
She had straight As except for one single A- in a junior math class that was pandemic related. Should have been a regular A but she got screwed by the pandemic grading. She also had 9 AP classes and a 1400 SAT that she took September of her junior year as a practice test and never was able to take again after all the pandemic closures. Washington State doesn't do weighted GPAs like some states.

And no, not all kids have that high of a GPA. Her other two sisters do not. I think that puts her at about 70th in a graduating class of about 500 so about 69 students apparently do have straight As. I'm not sure exactly how they do the calculation.

She could have applied to more "reach" schools like Stanford or Pomona or USC but really wasn't that interested in the college admissions rat race and wanted to stay in the Pacific Northwest. I was happy with that decision because those schools would all have likely been full pay had she gotten in. She will be attending UW-Seattle and was admitted into their honors college so will be just fine. That is the one school on her list that didn't offer merit aid. But since we are in-state it doesn't matter really. It is already affordable.
retire57
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by retire57 »

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:38 pm State college in our state in state is $26k a year average when you count mandatory on campus living freshman and sophomore years.
Wow. What does that include? How much would you estimate above that for living expenses?
Normchad
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by Normchad »

MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Grade inflation is ubiquitous. I think this is why most colleges basically ignore GPA now and use class rank instead.

At our local high school, I don’t know what the average unweighted GPA was. You do get an extra point though for AP courses. So, if your kid has less than a 4.0 at our high school, they are a real dummy. Basically everybody here graduates with at least a 4.3. And yes, this is complete and utter nonsense.

AP chem is a challenge. And Calculus as well. But here, we offer AP classes you can sleepwalk to an A in. AP US gov, AP human geography, etc.

It is very common to take 10 or more of these......
HereToLearn
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by HereToLearn »

Normchad wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:05 pm
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Grade inflation is ubiquitous. I think this is why most colleges basically ignore GPA now and use class rank instead.

At our local high school, I don’t know what the average unweighted GPA was. You do get an extra point though for AP courses. So, if your kid has less than a 4.0 at our high school, they are a real dummy. Basically everybody here graduates with at least a 4.3. And yes, this is complete and utter nonsense.

AP chem is a challenge. And Calculus as well. But here, we offer AP classes you can sleepwalk to an A in. AP US gov, AP human geography, etc.

It is very common to take 10 or more of these......
The majority of high schools in America no longer provide class rank. The # that do provide rank has slipped steadily in the nine years I have been watching college admissions. You can confirm this by pulling the Common Data Set for any college and going to section C10. The last line in that section shows the % of enrolled students who submitted HS class rank.

Some colleges will unweight HS transcript GPA and recalculate using own formula which sometimes discards PE grades or grades for non-academic electives.

I agree with you completely about grade inflation. It has become worse each year. There should be a standard HS profile template, requiring all high schools to submit the same information about their graduating class. I have seen schools that bump an A grade to a 6.0.

Your example of 4.3 confirms that. Meanwhile, the valedictorian of my children's HS did not have a 4.3, but grade inflation existed in different ways.
neverpanic
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by neverpanic »

My daughter did not get any merit awards at the school she chose. There were merit awards offered by other schools, but this was her top choice and by reputation, it's clearly the best of those she was accepted to. Successful completion of her degree will greatly increase her chances of getting into a good graduate program.

She has no financial worries at all and is unlikely to over the next 4-8 years. She has classes with some first-gen college students whose parents have incomes of less than 50K. The experience of sitting down and interviewing and socializing with students from such different backgrounds has really expanded her perspectives with regard to opportunity and access.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by ncbill »

Normchad wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:41 pm My kid didn’t pay 1 dollar for her undergrad tuition. She was a very strong student, who graduated at the top of her high school class and got great standardized test scores.

She was admitted to UVA, William & Mary, etc etc. the only school she wasn’t accepted to was Stanford.

She choose to go to University of Alabama, because it was the best fit for her, and they gave her a free ride.

That’s really crux of it. If you want a lot of merit aid, you have to go someplace that isn’t as prestigious as the best place you got accepted. Your student has to be a reach for that school, a better student than would normally go to that school.

With high income and assets,you won’t get merit aid to the best school you can get into, unless you are truly amazing at something. World class cellist, or something like that.

USNWR rankings are trash. But people can’t talk about anything else. Be prepared to pay if you want to climb the schools in the rankings.

So, we paid zero for tuition. We paid ~ 5 thousand for books and fees. And we probably paid around $40K total for apartment rents, food, and travel. So $45K total for 4 years.

And after graduation, she received fully funded PhD offers to 8 out 10 schools she applied to.

Also, it seemed to us at the time that every school offered some merit aid to her. But it felt perfunctory, and I’m guessing everybody got it. Like a $5K chancellors scholarship, etc etc. my guess at that time was that it was a manipulative form of anchoring. They artificially raised the prices by 10k, so that everybody could get a break. And now they happily pay 40K/year, because they feel like they’re going to a 50K school, but getting a break. Not realizing that everybody gets the same break, and that they’re still paying $40K.
Yep, that's what my kid's private school does...$5k bronze, $10k silver, $15K gold (school has more prestigious-sounding names, of course) annual discount, but ~$55k/year estimated total cost...my kid is only there because of a ROTC scholarship that pays all tuition & fees.
Last edited by ncbill on Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
alfaspider
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by alfaspider »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:25 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:14 am
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Even with today’s inflated grades, not for unweighted GPA. I guess schools that have 72 valedictorians probably have multiple 4.0s though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/postever ... ictorians/
We went to my cousin's graduation 2yrs ago because she was valedictorian. We didn't find out until we got there that she was one of 19 who graduated with a 4.0 in a graduating class of <400. She went to local U (her test scores were not what you would expect from someone with an unweighted 4.0). I think there were about a dozen this past year at the school where my step-father teaches. My sister was valedictorian and I was salutatorian at a larger high school (graduating classes >600), I think both of us were <3.9.
Not uncommon. When I graduated almost 20 years ago, we had ~15 valedictorians. It was pretty simple. If you max out your honors/AP courses (you were allowed max 4 out of a 6 class schedule), and get straight As, you are a valedictorian. Get one "B" and you are salutatorian (usually 3-4 of those). To be top 10%, you could get no more than 5 "Bs" out of 50 semester credits (and that includes extracurriculars like PE). If you did not take honors/AP classes, your maximum class rank would be barely top 1/2.

People lament such systems, but I think it makes sense. Most high school teachers aren't really equipped to parse the differences between the very top students. Plus, at the very high end the differences in grades can have more to do with what teacher you drew rather than anything about you specifically. For example, there was one AP Government teacher at my high school who took perverse pride at shutting people out of valedictorian status. AP government is not an overly difficult class, but since the grading was pretty subjective (mostly essay exams), she could just hand out a B+ just because she didn't like you and didn't think you deserved to be a valedictorian. People went to extreme lengths to avoid taking that class.
stoptothink
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by stoptothink »

texasdiver wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:13 pm
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
She had straight As except for one single A- in a junior math class that was pandemic related. Should have been a regular A but she got screwed by the pandemic grading. She also had 9 AP classes and a 1400 SAT that she took September of her junior year as a practice test and never was able to take again after all the pandemic closures. Washington State doesn't do weighted GPAs like some states.

And no, not all kids have that high of a GPA. Her other two sisters do not. I think that puts her at about 70th in a graduating class of about 500 so about 69 students apparently do have straight As. I'm not sure exactly how they do the calculation.
Am I reading this correctly, with a single "A-" your daughter is ~70th in a graduating class of ~500 :shock: ?
stoptothink
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by stoptothink »

alfaspider wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:28 pm
stoptothink wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:25 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:14 am
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Even with today’s inflated grades, not for unweighted GPA. I guess schools that have 72 valedictorians probably have multiple 4.0s though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/postever ... ictorians/
We went to my cousin's graduation 2yrs ago because she was valedictorian. We didn't find out until we got there that she was one of 19 who graduated with a 4.0 in a graduating class of <400. She went to local U (her test scores were not what you would expect from someone with an unweighted 4.0). I think there were about a dozen this past year at the school where my step-father teaches. My sister was valedictorian and I was salutatorian at a larger high school (graduating classes >600), I think both of us were <3.9.
Not uncommon. When I graduated almost 20 years ago, we had ~15 valedictorians. It was pretty simple. If you max out your honors/AP courses (you were allowed max 4 out of a 6 class schedule), and get straight As, you are a valedictorian. Get one "B" and you are salutatorian (usually 3-4 of those). To be top 10%, you could get no more than 5 "Bs" out of 50 semester credits (and that includes extracurriculars like PE). If you did not take honors/AP classes, your maximum class rank would be barely top 1/2.

People lament such systems, but I think it makes sense. Most high school teachers aren't really equipped to parse the differences between the very top students. Plus, at the very high end the differences in grades can have more to do with what teacher you drew rather than anything about you specifically. For example, there was one AP Government teacher at my high school who took perverse pride at shutting people out of valedictorian status. AP government is not an overly difficult class, but since the grading was pretty subjective (mostly essay exams), she could just hand out a B+ just because she didn't like you and didn't think you deserved to be a valedictorian. People went to extreme lengths to avoid taking that class.
I had three "Bs" in high school: AP U.S. history (highest grade in the class, like 89.6%, and got a 5 on AP exam), AP chemistry (not highest grade, but did get a 5 on AP exam and I've since written three chemistry textbooks), and AP calculus (absolutely deserved that one, got a 4 on AP exam). What you said totally happens, but 1/20 kids in the graduating class (or in the case of Texasdiver's daughter, 1 out of 8) never getting less than 90% in a course? That does not pass the smell test.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

Normchad wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:41 pm

Also, it seemed to us at the time that every school offered some merit aid to her. But it felt perfunctory, and I’m guessing everybody got it. Like a $5K chancellors scholarship, etc etc. my guess at that time was that it was a manipulative form of anchoring. They artificially raised the prices by 10k, so that everybody could get a break. And now they happily pay 40K/year, because they feel like they’re going to a 50K school, but getting a break. Not realizing that everybody gets the same break, and that they’re still paying $40K.
In addition to what you say, parts of higher ed have become a Veblen good. Private small liberal arts colleges (and some small universities) figured out about twenty-thirty years ago that if they bumped up their sticker price a lot, parents would perceive them to be a higher quality school, and there would be a subset that would/could pay full sticker price just so Junior wouldn't have to consider State. So about a third-to-half the class pays full freight (and admissions aren't always need-blind), which pays for their brighter/poorer classmates to attend at something a little more reasonable. Revenue is up, college presidents get big houses, and everyone gets a rock climbing wall.

COVID has [forked] this business model. It's going to be a wild ride for the next few years.
alfaspider
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by alfaspider »

stoptothink wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:38 pm
alfaspider wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:28 pm
stoptothink wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:25 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:14 am
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
Even with today’s inflated grades, not for unweighted GPA. I guess schools that have 72 valedictorians probably have multiple 4.0s though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/postever ... ictorians/
We went to my cousin's graduation 2yrs ago because she was valedictorian. We didn't find out until we got there that she was one of 19 who graduated with a 4.0 in a graduating class of <400. She went to local U (her test scores were not what you would expect from someone with an unweighted 4.0). I think there were about a dozen this past year at the school where my step-father teaches. My sister was valedictorian and I was salutatorian at a larger high school (graduating classes >600), I think both of us were <3.9.
Not uncommon. When I graduated almost 20 years ago, we had ~15 valedictorians. It was pretty simple. If you max out your honors/AP courses (you were allowed max 4 out of a 6 class schedule), and get straight As, you are a valedictorian. Get one "B" and you are salutatorian (usually 3-4 of those). To be top 10%, you could get no more than 5 "Bs" out of 50 semester credits (and that includes extracurriculars like PE). If you did not take honors/AP classes, your maximum class rank would be barely top 1/2.

People lament such systems, but I think it makes sense. Most high school teachers aren't really equipped to parse the differences between the very top students. Plus, at the very high end the differences in grades can have more to do with what teacher you drew rather than anything about you specifically. For example, there was one AP Government teacher at my high school who took perverse pride at shutting people out of valedictorian status. AP government is not an overly difficult class, but since the grading was pretty subjective (mostly essay exams), she could just hand out a B+ just because she didn't like you and didn't think you deserved to be a valedictorian. People went to extreme lengths to avoid taking that class.
I had three "Bs" in high school: AP U.S. history (highest grade in the class, like 89.6%, and got a 5 on AP exam), AP chemistry (not highest grade, but did get a 5 on AP exam and I've since written three chemistry textbooks), and AP calculus (absolutely deserved that one, got a 4 on AP exam). What you said totally happens, but 1/20 kids in the graduating class (or in the case of Texasdiver's daughter, 1 out of 8) never getting less than 90% in a course? That does not pass the smell test.
1/8 is probably excessive, but I don't think 1/20 ending up with straight As is necessarily a bad thing, especially at a fiercely competitive high school. Again, I think trying to parse within those top 5% tends to just result in kids getting separated by luck or personality conflicts with teachers rather than academic merit (as you experienced with your AP History teacher). In Texas, schools are obligated to at least designate a top 7% because that qualifies a student for automatic admission into any state university.
texasdiver
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by texasdiver »

stoptothink wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:32 pm
texasdiver wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:13 pm
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
She had straight As except for one single A- in a junior math class that was pandemic related. Should have been a regular A but she got screwed by the pandemic grading. She also had 9 AP classes and a 1400 SAT that she took September of her junior year as a practice test and never was able to take again after all the pandemic closures. Washington State doesn't do weighted GPAs like some states.

And no, not all kids have that high of a GPA. Her other two sisters do not. I think that puts her at about 70th in a graduating class of about 500 so about 69 students apparently do have straight As. I'm not sure exactly how they do the calculation.
Am I reading this correctly, with a single "A-" your daughter is ~70th in a graduating class of ~500 :shock: ?
That is what she said. I'm not sure how they count it though. She would be tied with all the other kids who have the same GPA. Also there are kids who have more credits due to summer school, online courses and such.

But yes, that implies that a lot of kids going to school there are sitting on perfect 4.0 GPAs. It is a large HS in an affluent area with lots of very high-pressure Asian-American parents so it doesn't really surprise me.
lazynovice
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost

Post by lazynovice »

texasdiver wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:57 pm
stoptothink wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:32 pm
texasdiver wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:13 pm
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am
texasdiver wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 pm Here in the Pacific Northwest my daughter got reasonable merit aid offers from Gonzaga, Whitman, Lewis & Clark, University of Oregon, Washington State, and University of Puget Sound. She got a less generous merit aid offer from Occidental College in CA.

I wouldn't know what the exact equivalent schools would be on the east coast. Probably mostly liberal arts colleges that aren't in the top 50 rank but more in the 50-100 rank.
That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
She had straight As except for one single A- in a junior math class that was pandemic related. Should have been a regular A but she got screwed by the pandemic grading. She also had 9 AP classes and a 1400 SAT that she took September of her junior year as a practice test and never was able to take again after all the pandemic closures. Washington State doesn't do weighted GPAs like some states.

And no, not all kids have that high of a GPA. Her other two sisters do not. I think that puts her at about 70th in a graduating class of about 500 so about 69 students apparently do have straight As. I'm not sure exactly how they do the calculation.
Am I reading this correctly, with a single "A-" your daughter is ~70th in a graduating class of ~500 :shock: ?
That is what she said. I'm not sure how they count it though. She would be tied with all the other kids who have the same GPA. Also there are kids who have more credits due to summer school, online courses and such.

But yes, that implies that a lot of kids going to school there are sitting on perfect 4.0 GPAs. It is a large HS in an affluent area with lots of very high-pressure...parents so it doesn't really surprise me.
Depends on the GPA scale. My older son was measured on a GPA scale that gave different points for a 100, 99, 98, 97 etc. It was ridiculously competitive with kids fighting for every point in every class. The only grades that mattered were semester grades, not the 9 week periods. Kids with certain grades and below a few absences could exempt some exams, but some opted to take them to increase their GPAs. This was in Texas where the class rank mattered very much not just for getting into certain schools but getting into your desired major. This was in an affluent suburb where a significant percentage of parents have graduate level degrees. Kids take 10-15 AP classes. SAT scores were very high all the way through the 25% of the class. There was a significant amount of depression and anxiety in the class. The district changed it before my younger son got to high school. But we only had 1 valedictorian. Had to get out to five or six decimal places.
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
stoptothink
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost

Post by stoptothink »

lazynovice wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:50 pm
texasdiver wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:57 pm
stoptothink wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:32 pm
texasdiver wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:13 pm
MrCheapo wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:50 am

That's astonishing your daughter had a 3.96 unweighted GPA (isn't that straight A's except for 1 or 2 courses?) and got into 50-100 ranked schools? Not dis-respecting Gonzaga, UO and WSU etc but these to me are not highly competitive colleges to get into.

Maybe I'm missing something but do all kids graduating get close to a 4.0 GPA?
She had straight As except for one single A- in a junior math class that was pandemic related. Should have been a regular A but she got screwed by the pandemic grading. She also had 9 AP classes and a 1400 SAT that she took September of her junior year as a practice test and never was able to take again after all the pandemic closures. Washington State doesn't do weighted GPAs like some states.

And no, not all kids have that high of a GPA. Her other two sisters do not. I think that puts her at about 70th in a graduating class of about 500 so about 69 students apparently do have straight As. I'm not sure exactly how they do the calculation.
Am I reading this correctly, with a single "A-" your daughter is ~70th in a graduating class of ~500 :shock: ?
That is what she said. I'm not sure how they count it though. She would be tied with all the other kids who have the same GPA. Also there are kids who have more credits due to summer school, online courses and such.

But yes, that implies that a lot of kids going to school there are sitting on perfect 4.0 GPAs. It is a large HS in an affluent area with lots of very high-pressure...parents so it doesn't really surprise me.
Depends on the GPA scale. My older son was measured on a GPA scale that gave different points for a 100, 99, 98, 97 etc. It was ridiculously competitive with kids fighting for every point in every class. The only grades that mattered were semester grades, not the 9 week periods. Kids with certain grades and below a few absences could exempt some exams, but some opted to take them to increase their GPAs. This was in Texas where the class rank mattered very much not just for getting into certain schools but getting into your desired major. This was in an affluent suburb where a significant percentage of parents have graduate level degrees. Kids take 10-15 AP classes. SAT scores were very high all the way through the 25% of the class. There was a significant amount of depression and anxiety in the class. The district changed it before my younger son got to high school. But we only had 1 valedictorian. Had to get out to five or six decimal places.
I don't even know how to respond to this, I guess I feel fortunate I wasn't raised in an affluent area? With a handful of neighbors who are teachers there, I do not believe this is close to the environment in our (fairly well-to-do suburban) high school.
TheHiker
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by TheHiker »

With yearly income > 150K your kids won't get need-based aid anywhere. Some private schools may give merit-based scholarships. These won't be top tier schools. Public schools may give merit scholarships too.

Our child went to a state school which gave a small merit scholarship which came with a priority enrollment to classes.
I think priority enrollment was actually worth more than the scholarship as our child graduated in 2.5 years (vs 4+ years it took others to graduate). Total cost was about 50K including housing, food, books.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

TheHiker wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:48 pm With yearly income > 150K your kids won't get need-based aid anywhere.
This demonstrably false statement is repeated all the time. Repetition does not make it true.


Note: the below is from Yale, which isn’t even the most generous (Princeton probably deserves that honor)


Image
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
TheHiker
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by TheHiker »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:33 pm
TheHiker wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:48 pm With yearly income > 150K your kids won't get need-based aid anywhere.
This demonstrably false statement is repeated all the time. Repetition does not make it true.


Note: the below is from Yale, which isn’t even the most generous (Princeton probably deserves that honor)
Thanks for correcting me. I should not have made a blanket statement.
I suppose "Median net cost" in the screenshot above is the answer to the OP's question.
Specifically for Yale for 250K income they say "Most who qualify have multiple children in college".
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

TheHiker wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:00 pm Thanks for correcting me. I should not have made a blanket statement.
You’re not alone in this :D

The problem, of course, is getting accepted at those schools. Once accepted, most students will be able to graduate debt free and with a moderate strain on their parents’ finances.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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dziuniek
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by dziuniek »

vanbogle59 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 1:06 pm Take Columbia (the most expensive Ivy, I think):

Tuition* $58,920
Mandatory Fees $2,751
Average Room and Board Cost $15,130
Books and Personal Expenses $3,538
Travel varies
Total $80,339 + Travel

You can get close.
Haha, here's another one and it's beyond me why anyone would pay so much for this....

Trinity College - private, Hartford, CT.
W/ Room n Board $ 74.5k....

Nuts.
Get rich or die tryin'
inbox788
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Re: What Does College Tuition Really Cost?

Post by inbox788 »

getthatmarshmallow wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:45 pmIn addition to what you say, parts of higher ed have become a Veblen good. Private small liberal arts colleges (and some small universities) figured out about twenty-thirty years ago that if they bumped up their sticker price a lot, parents would perceive them to be a higher quality school, and there would be a subset that would/could pay full sticker price just so Junior wouldn't have to consider State. So about a third-to-half the class pays full freight (and admissions aren't always need-blind), which pays for their brighter/poorer classmates to attend at something a little more reasonable. Revenue is up, college presidents get big houses, and everyone gets a rock climbing wall.

COVID has [forked] this business model. It's going to be a wild ride for the next few years.
What does that mean for this university? Note this was 2019.

This college used to be one of the most expensive in its state. Now it’s $20,000 cheaper
By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN
Published 8:23 AM EDT, Wed September 11, 2019
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/11/business ... index.html

Cost and discount is a pricing strategy JC Penny tried to get away from, but failed, and returned.
https://www.priceintelligently.com/blog ... g-strategy

Even if they're only getting a few buyers at inflated full list price, that's leaving money on the table if they lower the price.

Anyway, maybe there's more similarity selling clothing and education than first appears.
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