Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($54k)

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Northwestern vs BU

Northwestern (sticker)
29
81%
BU ($54k total)
7
19%
 
Total votes: 36

Decimal
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Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($54k)

Postby Decimal » Thu May 24, 2012 6:50 pm

Unexpectedly and suddenly, I have been accepted off Northwestern's waitlist. My only other option is BU with $17k/year for a three year total of $51k. I'm interested in environmental law and public interest but would consider big law to service all the debt I'll amass. I don't have strong geographic preferences right now but have ties to California and wouldn't mind the west coast or east coast. The thought of sticker price is somewhat terrifying but cost of attendance will be high at either place. I've been given but one week to decide and don't know which to choose.

EDIT: Updated BU scholarship.
Last edited by Decimal on Fri May 25, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu May 24, 2012 6:52 pm

First, calculate the total COA for each school.

Second, ask BU for more money based on your NU acceptance.

Third, recalculate COA for BU.

Decimal
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Decimal » Thu May 24, 2012 7:01 pm

COA for the first year at NU: $79,628
COA for the first year at BU: $62,010 - $17,000 = $45,010

Without factoring in interest and yearly tuition/fee increases for the three years:

NU: $238,884
BU: $135,030

Attempts to factor in interest and yearly tuition/fee increases for the three years - debt at graduation:

NU: $290,513
BU: $165,574

...those figures are shocking. I will try and see if this new acceptance will give me any leverage for re-negotiating with BU.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby bk1 » Thu May 24, 2012 7:17 pm

Since you seem equivocal about what you want to do I'd probably say NU since you'll most likely end up doing biglaw.

That being said, NU sticker price isn't easy to stomach (although I think you're overpaying for BU by about 50k).

Decimal
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Decimal » Thu May 24, 2012 8:49 pm

The sight of my loan letter at the end of three years at Northwestern would probably induce fainting. I agree that I'd be overpaying for BU but I floundered in my negotiations because of a lack of leverage from competing offers.

If we were to assume that I didn't end up doing biglaw but rather something along the lines of public interest, would going with Northwestern be close to financial suicide?

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rayiner
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby rayiner » Thu May 24, 2012 9:04 pm

Decimal wrote:The sight of my loan letter at the end of three years at Northwestern would probably induce fainting. I agree that I'd be overpaying for BU but I floundered in my negotiations because of a lack of leverage from competing offers.

If we were to assume that I didn't end up doing biglaw but rather something along the lines of public interest, would going with Northwestern be close to financial suicide?


If you end up actually working in public interest, then no, it would be the smart decision because NU has a good LRAP linked to IBR. E.g. if you make $60k-ish, NU will pay half of your $6,500-ish IBR payment and 75% of your $16,500 unpaid interest for a total LRAP award of roughly $16,000 per year.

That said, as a practical matter public interest jobs directly out of LS are extremely difficult to get, and will remain so as long as states and the federal government are in the midst of budget crisis. So big law -> public interest is a much more practical route.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu May 24, 2012 9:10 pm

How the hell is Northwestern at sticker $17,000 more than BU?

HeavenWood
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby HeavenWood » Thu May 24, 2012 9:35 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:How the hell is Northwestern at sticker $17,000 more than BU?

When BU is offering a 17k/year scholly.

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Kikero
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Kikero » Thu May 24, 2012 9:46 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:How the hell is Northwestern at sticker $17,000 more than BU?

When BU is offering a 17k/year scholly.


Nah, OP's figures have BU at 17k less even before scholarship.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby bk1 » Thu May 24, 2012 9:56 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:How the hell is Northwestern at sticker $17,000 more than BU?


10k more for tuition.
2k for a laptop (which NU factors in but BU does not).
2k more for room/board.
3k for health insurance (which BU does not seem to factor in).

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby rickgrimes69 » Thu May 24, 2012 10:04 pm

It's a real tough call. I got into NU and was all ready to go there until I looked at the budget sheet. The idea of graduating from anywhere with $300k in debt, in this economy, is pretty damn terrifying IMO. It's an awesome school, no doubt, but ask yourself if you're ready for $3000 monthly debt payments for the next decade. I say try to leverage more money out of BU.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu May 24, 2012 10:05 pm

bk1 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:How the hell is Northwestern at sticker $17,000 more than BU?


10k more for tuition.
2k for a laptop (which NU factors in but BU does not).
2k more for room/board.
3k for health insurance (which BU does not seem to factor in).

Okay. So it's really just $10k more for tuition. Even that is surprising to me, but the rest is just different calculation methods. I don't think Chicago is any more expensive a place to live than Boston, though someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I bet the financial distinction isn't as stark as it looks, and Northwestern is a much better school.

Yossarian79
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Yossarian79 » Fri May 25, 2012 12:10 pm

If anything, Boston is a more expensive place to live.

Decimal
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Decimal » Fri May 25, 2012 1:45 pm

The votes and posts so far are overwhelmingly in favor of Northwestern. I am waiting on BU's financial aid office to see if they'll increase my scholarship in response to my NU acceptance. Is there any point at which going to BU over NU would be a good idea? I've seen BU applicants on lawschoolnumbers who were awarded $75k-90k scholarships.

From a cursory craigslist search, 1 bedrooms in Chicago tend to run around $100-200 less than 1 bedrooms in Boston (and I would be splitting the cost of the apartment with one other person). I am hoping that a car isn't a necessity in that region of Chicago though because that would add extra costs.

EDIT: My BU scholarship has just been increased $3k for a total of $54k over the three years.

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Kikero
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Kikero » Fri May 25, 2012 6:16 pm

Decimal wrote:The votes and posts so far are overwhelmingly in favor of Northwestern. I am waiting on BU's financial aid office to see if they'll increase my scholarship in response to my NU acceptance. Is there any point at which going to BU over NU would be a good idea? I've seen BU applicants on lawschoolnumbers who were awarded $75k-90k scholarships.

From a cursory craigslist search, 1 bedrooms in Chicago tend to run around $100-200 less than 1 bedrooms in Boston (and I would be splitting the cost of the apartment with one other person). I am hoping that a car isn't a necessity in that region of Chicago though because that would add extra costs.

EDIT: My BU scholarship has just been increased $3k for a total of $54k over the three years.


A car isn't needed at NU.

concurrent fork
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby concurrent fork » Sun May 27, 2012 2:06 pm

Decimal wrote:COA for the first year at NU: $79,628
COA for the first year at BU: $62,010

The number provided by NU is really inflated, even considering the $10K additional tuition. NU assumes you will spend $1,500/mo on room and board. You can live way cheaper than that in Chicago. Most people also have a laptop before coming to law school.

The BU breakdown seems pretty accurate.

Decimal
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Decimal » Sun May 27, 2012 3:07 pm

rayiner wrote:If you end up actually working in public interest, then no, it would be the smart decision because NU has a good LRAP linked to IBR. E.g. if you make $60k-ish, NU will pay half of your $6,500-ish IBR payment and 75% of your $16,500 unpaid interest for a total LRAP award of roughly $16,000 per year.

That said, as a practical matter public interest jobs directly out of LS are extremely difficult to get, and will remain so as long as states and the federal government are in the midst of budget crisis. So big law -> public interest is a much more practical route.

From NU's website: "Eligibility for LRAP - Any graduate who starts work immediately after graduation or after a clerkship as an attorney or manager in any government or non-profit agency is eligible for LRAP."

Not sure if I'm misreading this but would working biglaw for a few years and then landing a public interest job disqualify me from LRAP since I wouldn't be doing public interest immediately after graduation nor working a clerkship in a government or non-profit agency?

concurrent fork wrote:
Decimal wrote:COA for the first year at NU: $79,628
COA for the first year at BU: $62,010

The number provided by NU is really inflated, even considering the $10K additional tuition. NU assumes you will spend $1,500/mo on room and board. You can live way cheaper than that in Chicago. Most people also have a laptop before coming to law school.

The BU breakdown seems pretty accurate.

Yeah, I noticed the over-budgeting in NU's COA as well today.

Thanks for the responses thus far!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun May 27, 2012 3:56 pm

Decimal wrote:[
From NU's website: "Eligibility for LRAP - Any graduate who starts work immediately after graduation or after a clerkship as an attorney or manager in any government or non-profit agency is eligible for LRAP."

Not sure if I'm misreading this but would working biglaw for a few years and then landing a public interest job disqualify me from LRAP since I wouldn't be doing public interest immediately after graduation nor working a clerkship in a government or non-profit agency?


Yes you would be disqualified from using LRAP at NU. But you could still go on IBR and have the federal government forgive the balance of your loans after 120 months of qualifying public interest work.

Decimal
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby Decimal » Sun May 27, 2012 8:24 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Yes you would be disqualified from using LRAP at NU. But you could still go on IBR and have the federal government forgive the balance of your loans after 120 months of qualifying public interest work.

Well, that throws a wrench into the big law -> public interest plan I was contemplating. Thanks for clarifying!

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rinkrat19
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs Boston University ($51k)

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun May 27, 2012 8:26 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Decimal wrote:[
From NU's website: "Eligibility for LRAP - Any graduate who starts work immediately after graduation or after a clerkship as an attorney or manager in any government or non-profit agency is eligible for LRAP."

Not sure if I'm misreading this but would working biglaw for a few years and then landing a public interest job disqualify me from LRAP since I wouldn't be doing public interest immediately after graduation nor working a clerkship in a government or non-profit agency?


Yes you would be disqualified from using LRAP at NU. But you could still go on IBR and have the federal government forgive the balance of your loans after 120 months of qualifying public interest work.
I actually asked this exact question at ASW in the financial aid presentation and got the opposite answer: that we CAN work in a firm for a while, then take a PI job and start our 120 payment (10 yr) program on the LRAP program.

Seems like someone needs to get them to clarify whether we can use NU's LRAP in that situation or just the fed PSLF.


NU generously budgets enough in the loans to let you live near campus, in which case the $1500/mo is barely enough (unless you have a roommate). You CAN live cheaper than that, but it means a commute or roommates.




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