We've got three teens in the house. We are staring down the barrell of a financial shotgun called college tuition.
A few weeks ago we were stunned to learn from a friend whose high school senior got accepted into UC Berkley for the fall that the annual cost of tuition, room, board, books, etc. would be $50K. No financial aid packages available. California would prefer to take a check in full from it's out of state students.
Blew my mind. I knew the Ivy schools would run that high. Didn't expect this from a state university, albeit out of state.
Compare $50K a year to our close-by state university about 30 minutes down the road: less than $20K. Begs this question, does a college diploma that costs $120K more pay off? Even more than that if you add in the interest on student loans. And most kids these days do get loans.
But really, does a kid who graduates from a nationally recognized school experience better financial success?
Something of an answer was in our local paper today. A study by economists Dale & Krueger found that,
"Once you control for aptitude, career earnings don't vary based on the college attended: if you are smart enough to get into a brand-name private university, you'll do just fine going to a state college. What will determine your success will be your aptitude and your work ethic, not the name on your diploma."
So kids? I'd much rather have a $20K t-shirt. No, really.
You can read more on financial lessons for high school grads, here.