"Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

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shortporch
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"Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby shortporch » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:21 pm

If I may offer my two cents. A number of posts here treat scholarship amounts as something to flaunt or something remarkable or impressive. Really, scholarships are some of the worst indicators of "value" for school.

It doesn't distinguish between public and private school costs.

It doesn't distinguish between inexpensive and expensive schools.

It doesn't distinguish cost of living in a region.

It doesn't reflect tuition hikes, which some schools have seen increase by double-digit percentages (especially public schools in struggling states), and which some have broadcast in advance (e.g., Berkeley will cost, tuition and fees, $57,573, excluding cost of living, in 2012-2013 for nonresidents).

It doesn't reflect the few schools that "lock in" tuition for you at a specific rate for all three years.

Instead, indebtedness at graduation is the best metric. And it's not difficult to calculate.

You take the tuition at the school, and you estimate the tuition increases to be whatever they've historically been, perhaps 5% (or you use the actual numbers if they're available); you add in the cost of living, with annual increases accordingly, perhaps 5%; you wrap in a "bar loan" of a few more thousand dollars to cover the expenses for living that last summer and bar expenses; and then you subtract the three-year projected total of scholarships.

At the end, you may end up graduating with less debt--if you, for instance, secure an elite firm that pays generously during the summer, allows you to work during the year, and pays for your bar expenses. But, at the very least, those kinds of factors aren't up front calculated and highly contingent.

Just a thought. There are lots of people here throwing around scholarship totals, when I can't think of a more meaningless or deceptive "cost of attendance" stat.

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sambeber
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby sambeber » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:29 pm

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Last edited by sambeber on Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

TheFactor
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby TheFactor » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:32 pm

Wait, so you're saying that you need to take out loans for living expenses too?! :shock:

You learn something new everyday I guess...

lawschooliseasy
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby lawschooliseasy » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:33 pm

All very good points, but I don't understand why "scholarships" is in quotes.

Sandro
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby Sandro » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:41 pm

it really bugs me when people ask to help choose schools and post their scholarship amounts, which are completely useless unless you know tuition and COL at that school. A 20k scholarship to UGA is still cheaper than 60k at minnesota.

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shortporch
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby shortporch » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:44 pm

lawschooliseasy wrote:All very good points, but I don't understand why "scholarships" is in quotes.


Part of that is tongue-in-cheek. A number of schools inflate tuition, then allow "scholarships" provided by some wealthy benefactor, in order to inflate "expenditures per student" for USNWR, and to boast about how a gigantic X% of students receive "some form of financial assistance." It's win-win: win, as in higher tuition means more money for those accepted off the waitlist and willing to pay sticker; and win, as in a "value" for students who think they're getting a "scholarship" for their credentials.

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apaint
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby apaint » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:52 pm

So true!!! I feel like some people are so in awe of the scholly numbers they fail to look at the whole debt picture! If you have to use unsubsidized loans for a substantial portion of your education costs that interest adds up quick (assuming you are not paying it monthly while in school).

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zonto
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby zonto » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Compiled chart with all this information for Tier 1 schools? :mrgreen:

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JamMasterJ
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Re: "Scholarships" don't matter--indebtedness at graduation does

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:08 pm

True, but I feel like most of the people that respond to posts on here are at least generally aware that 20K/yr at William and Mary is not the same as the same scholarship at a state school in California where the student is paying OOS. At least I hope that's the case. But you are right, COA is a much better number to post.




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