Does your child want to go to college in another state? This could be the most expensive ways to go. A way that can cause your child to take on a lot of unnecessary student debt.
But it doesn't have to be!
Try to understand why they want to go to school in that state. Is there a particular school they want to go to?
Or is it that they hate the winters in New Jersey where you made them move when they were 10. (Wait, that's my son...) Or - gasp - is it because their friend/boyfriend is going to school in that state.
My son Tommy tells me he wants to go to UT Austin (University of Texas). We live in New Jersey. I looked at the college database that I created and saw that out-of-state tuition at UT Austin will run about $50k per year. Ouch. Our budget is $30k per year.
The reason I mention this is because it is possible to go to school in the target state, without breaking the bank. But it may require some strategy.
There are a few ways to go about this:
Community college costs vary widely in the US. By way of example, I will use my son Tommy as an example throughout this article.
Tommy can go to community college in Austin for a year or two. Out-of-state community college tuition can be expensive too. But it's a lot
less expensive than UT Austin.
State colleges can be really expensive for out-of-state students. Of course, some are more expensive than others.
Let's look at State schools in Texas to see how much it would be for Tommy to go to a school other than UT Austin. Well, according to our $30k budget, there appear to be quite a few schools in Texas that will work. The lease expensive among them appears to be UT Permian Basin.
Let's take another look at the database to try to see why there are such big differences.
This snapshot sows acceptance rates, retention rates, 4 year graduation rates and average SAT scores.
I see that University of Texas Permian Basin accepts 99% of the applicants. Wow. It makes you wonder what the other 1% looked like!
The point is, you want to look at these things. High retention rates mean happy students and less risk of lost courses.
So, could my Tommy go to another State University that costs about $30k out of state and has impressive stats?
What Texas state schools fit the criteria? Looks like a few schools come close!
Why do so many people shy away from private colleges? The sticker price is my guess. Did you know that only 12% of people actually pay the sticker price?
The truth is that private schools have a lot more latitude to give financial aid. Even to "high income" families. Public schools can't necessarily do that.
Of course in-state and out-of-state tuition are the same for private colleges.
Let's look at a True Cost Calculator to see about what your family would have to pay. This is a high-level look, but takes into account average aid given.
You enter the state, and it brings up a list of schools. You then click on a salary band with the drop-down menu, and it will show you what your family can expect to pay.
This True Cost Calculator isn't a substitute for actually going to SMU's website an looking at the Net Price Calculator. However it does take actual aid given into consideration. So, it can give you an indication of what you would expect to pay.
What you can see, is that for the salary band over $110k, students at SMU can expect to pay about $49k per year. This is well over the $30k budget I have for Tommy. So, this should will be off our list.
Next, we'll look at Baylor. Baylor is in Waco. When I look at what we'd expect to pay - with a salary band over $110k. And look - wow, with a salary of over $110k, we'd be expected to pay only $35k per year.
That's very close to our budget.
How can Baylor afford to do this? To give aid to 96% of students? I read that Baylor has an endowment of over $1 billion. They have generous alum - one of which recently gave $200 million.
Thirdly, let's look at St Edwards, in Austin. According to the True Cost Calulator, it will be $33k per year.
So, now we see that the three private school would run my family $49k, $34k or $33k.
If we go back to the college database. let's look to see how these three schools compare to each other, As Baylor and Saint Edwards cost about the same, we can look at acceptance rates, retention rates, 4 year graduation rates.
If you decide that the private school may work, the next step is to go to the school's website to do an actual Net Price Calculator. This will give you the most accurate cost for your family.
Every school will have a Net Price Calculator on its website. Try it! You'll find that they ask for lots of information. Information you'll find on your tax return and investment statements. Here is a great checklist you can use.
The military is a fantastic way to get help with education costs. I would never suggest that your child join the military to save on college costs. But if they have the desire to join, you can definitely get some help.
All branches of the military offer R.O.T.C. scholarships, so look to see what the requirements are.
Upon looking at the Air Force and Navy, I found that the scholarships offered were for extremely technical majors - aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering. So look to find the branch of government that will offer a scholarship that matches your child's interests.
The way the scholarships work varies, but one is that the military will pay tuition. In the case of public/state schools, the military will pay in-state tuition. If you get a 4 years scholarship, you will give the military 8 years of service. If you get a 2-3 year scholarship, you will give 4 years of service.
Click on the following links for more information.
Another way to get a deal on tuition would be for your child to move to the state. They can establish residency and then get in-state tuition.
See attached for residency requirements by state. Some states require that the student not work during the period they are establishing residency.
I'm a personal finance geek. A real estate investor. An accountant, a single mother. And I'm going to get my kids through college without student debt! Will you?