How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

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cotiger
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby cotiger » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:01 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:A state school that's even half-decent is still a better choice than every school besides HYPSMC. If I lived in Chicago, I would send my kid to UIUC over UChi in a heartbeat. And UChi isn't even close to the most flagrant examples of money sinkholes.


That's a strangely authoritarian way to phrase it. If you mean that you would only offer to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition at Illinois (and your kid would have to take out loans to cover the rest of it if he really wanted to go to UChi), I think that's totally reasonable. Like I've said several times, you can absolutely go to a good public school and receive a quality education.

Mono wrote:Huh? Bucknell and Princeton are two half-decent schools; you really think the odds of the same student getting an A at each are the same?


Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.

Mono wrote:
cotiger wrote:Mono's suggestion (only about 30% in jest, IMO) was that it would be preferable to go to one of the super shitty schools where putting the same effort into the same class would guarantee you a higher grade in order to ensure a 3.9+ and therefore increase your chances of doing well on law school apps.


This suggestion was made 0% in jest, and I still have not heard a reason as to why it wouldn't be the credited plan.


An exception to the "most of your UG education is going to be pretty similar in material and difficulty if you take the same classes no matter where you go" is going to ClownshitU.

Your suggestion is to intentionally select a school where the educational standards are lax and many of your fellow students probably should not be going to college (Chicago State 6yr graduation rate: 14%) so that your classes will be a joke and you can far outclass your peers while easily snagging that 4.0?

I would be miserable in that environment, and I imagine many, if not most, others would be too. That's the main reason why it's not credited. I feel like the purpose of an education is to, you know, educate. Not just a tool to snag a 4.0 for a possible law school app that most 17 year olds don't know that they want.

It sounds like you wish that you had followed that path so that you could've gotten a 3.9+ and shot at HLS. But you. are. different. Most people care about having other people around them who can stimulate them intellectually. Most people don't have a single-minded dedication to going to law school at the age of 16. For something to be TCR, it needs to be broadly applicable. Maybe this would have been the best path for you, I don't know. But it's surely not going to be the best path for most highly intelligent people, even if they knew they wanted to go to law school.

Personally, I doubt that even you believe in this plan deep down. If your 17 year old told you that they would accept your offer to pay in-state tuition, but that they were choosing ChiState instead of Illinois because they wanted to take joke classes with under-qualified students in order to cop a 4.0, I doubt you'd be super thrilled.

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midwest17
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby midwest17 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:51 pm

cotiger wrote:Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.


As someone who has taken and taught equivalent courses at two different schools, this is not true at all. And those were both good schools.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:58 pm

midwest17 wrote:
cotiger wrote:Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.


As someone who has taken and taught equivalent courses at two different schools, this is not true at all. And those were both good schools.

Yeah, I agree, this is totally not true. For one thing, grade inflation (which is arguably more of a thing at the top fancy expensive schools where all the special snowflakes have received As their entire lives).

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midwest17
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby midwest17 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
midwest17 wrote:
cotiger wrote:Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.


As someone who has taken and taught equivalent courses at two different schools, this is not true at all. And those were both good schools.

Yeah, I agree, this is totally not true. For one thing, grade inflation (which is arguably more of a thing at the top fancy expensive schools where all the special snowflakes have received As their entire lives).


Also true (see, e.g., the recent stories about Harvard undergrad). But I was responding more to the suggestion that the material and objectives of courses are the same things everywhere. It's my understanding that some classes in the hard sciences are relatively standardized across institutions, but even calculus can be, and is, taught in a variety of ways.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:31 pm

midwest17 wrote:Also true (see, e.g., the recent stories about Harvard undergrad). But I was responding more to the suggestion that the material and objectives of courses are the same things everywhere. It's my understanding that some classes in the hard sciences are relatively standardized across institutions, but even calculus can be, and is, taught in a variety of ways.

Oh, I agree with that, too, definitely.

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cotiger
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby cotiger » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:58 pm

@Mouse and Midwest

Fair enough, I don't have direct experience of taking similar classes across different schools. This was mostly drawn from taking with friends.

However, my point was that it's not like X class at *super-elite* school is more difficult to get a good grade in than X class at *good* school. I was trying to be charitable in saying that it was the same, and that the reason for the inflated scores at *super-elite* was because the students were on average a little better. But if we accept the claims about the grade inflation at top schools as true, then that only makes Mono's claim that it's harder to get good grades at those schools than at merely good schools even more false.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:16 am

Yeah, I don't think you can ever guarantee a higher GPA at one institution over another.

I also think there are a variety of completely different attitudes about higher ed and the value of different kinds of schools and what you should prioritize in higher ed underlying the argument here, and I don't think any one of them is objectively correct or that there's any way to reconcile them.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:32 am

cotiger wrote:That's a strangely authoritarian way to phrase it. If you mean that you would only offer to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition at Illinois (and your kid would have to take out loans to cover the rest of it if he really wanted to go to UChi), I think that's totally reasonable. Like I've said several times, you can absolutely go to a good public school and receive a quality education.


I am, like many students, primarily concerned with the material value of the degree with respect to its cost. It doesn't make financial sense to go to UChi for $200k when you could go to UIUC for $80k. If you want to go to a school for reasons other than you expect the degree will be useful, then okay, whatever, as long as you acknowledge you're the bounds of rational advice.

Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.


So by this logic the average Brown student (average GPA 3.6) > the average Princeton student (average GPA 3.4)? It seems really weird to assert your chances of getting an A are the same anywhere when you're well aware different schools have different grading curves and different levels of student quality.

Your suggestion is to intentionally select a school where the educational standards are lax and many of your fellow students probably should not be going to college (Chicago State 6yr graduation rate: 14%) so that your classes will be a joke and you can far outclass your peers while easily snagging that 4.0?


Yep.

I would be miserable in that environment, and I imagine many, if not most, others would be too. That's the main reason why it's not credited. I feel like the purpose of an education is to, you know, educate. Not just a tool to snag a 4.0 for a possible law school app that most 17 year olds don't know that they want.


Yeah, what a miserable experience it would be to party your ass off and generally just do whatever you want, and nonetheless be assured of an excellent GPA that will get you into an elite law school because you're competing against a bunch of mouthbreathers. Let the 3.4/168 from Princeton paying sticker at UCLA hang his hat on the education, the one that exalted him way past the 3.9/168 from Shit U getting $50k at NYU.

It sounds like you wish that you had followed that path so that you could've gotten a 3.9+ and shot at HLS. But you. are. different. Most people care about having other people around them who can stimulate them intellectually. Most people don't have a single-minded dedication to going to law school at the age of 16. For something to be TCR, it needs to be broadly applicable. Maybe this would have been the best path for you, I don't know. But it's surely not going to be the best path for most highly intelligent people, even if they knew they wanted to go to law school.


I couldn't really give two shits about HLS because I'm not looking for Bigfed or academia, and I think the two schools are pretty comparable elsewhere (during the recession CLS sent a bigger proportion of grads to Biglaw). Might've been nice to be able to cop some of dat scholly money here at CLS, as well as not having to freak the fuck out on a reserve list. I had three goals in UG: get a good GPA, graduate in five semesters, and have an insanely awesome time. I did two out of the three with a decent amount of effort. But yeah, it would've been nice to be able to do all three without really trying. If I had known UG quality makes little difference in law school admissions, I might've chosen a different school. But like I said, I'm very grateful to have gone to my school because it was mad cheap (total COA: $50k) as opposed to the STRIVY I was considering. Absent law school considerations, definitely the right choice given that I couldn't have gotten into HYPSMC.

As I said before, the shitty school is only credited for the law-school bound. If you're not going to grad school, TCR is HYPSMC or your state school.

Personally, I doubt that even you believe in this plan deep down. If your 17 year old told you that they would accept your offer to pay in-state tuition, but that they were choosing ChiState instead of Illinois because they wanted to take joke classes with under-qualified students in order to cop a 4.0, I doubt you'd be super thrilled.


I was pretty much told not to give a shit about which UG I went to, and that once you had a grad degree, no one would ever give a shit about which UG you went to. I would up going to a cheap school purely by chance (and, against the advice I'd give 17-year-old me, one with a relatively stiff grading curve).

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midwest17
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby midwest17 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:46 am

A few points:

1. Some people actually enjoy school.

2. "Material" benefits are only one kind of benefit that goes into a rational cost-benefit analysis.

3. Some people perform less well in less challenging environments than they do in more challenging environments.

4. UG quality, while having no impact on law school admissions, probably does have some impact on law school performance, which in turn affects the value of your law degree.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:47 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
cotiger wrote:That's a strangely authoritarian way to phrase it. If you mean that you would only offer to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition at Illinois (and your kid would have to take out loans to cover the rest of it if he really wanted to go to UChi), I think that's totally reasonable. Like I've said several times, you can absolutely go to a good public school and receive a quality education.


I am, like many students, primarily concerned with the material value of the degree with respect to its cost. It doesn't make financial sense to go to UChi for $200k when you could go to UIUC for $80k. If you want to go to a school for reasons other than you expect the degree will be useful, then okay, whatever, as long as you acknowledge you're the bounds of rational advice.

Absolutely. Intermediate Micro is Intermediate Micro no matter where you take it. There's a reason why the schools that have the highest average GPAs are the top schools. Everyone's taking the same stuff, but the students at top schools are on average higher caliber students and are therefore better that it.


So by this logic the average Brown student (average GPA 3.6) > the average Princeton student (average GPA 3.4)? It seems really weird to assert your chances of getting an A are the same anywhere when you're well aware different schools have different grading curves and different levels of student quality.

Your suggestion is to intentionally select a school where the educational standards are lax and many of your fellow students probably should not be going to college (Chicago State 6yr graduation rate: 14%) so that your classes will be a joke and you can far outclass your peers while easily snagging that 4.0?


Yep.

I would be miserable in that environment, and I imagine many, if not most, others would be too. That's the main reason why it's not credited. I feel like the purpose of an education is to, you know, educate. Not just a tool to snag a 4.0 for a possible law school app that most 17 year olds don't know that they want.


Yeah, what a miserable experience it would be to party your ass off and generally just do whatever you want, and nonetheless be assured of an excellent GPA that will get you into an elite law school because you're competing against a bunch of mouthbreathers. Let the 3.4/168 from Princeton paying sticker at UCLA hang his hat on the education, the one that exalted him way past the 3.9/168 from Shit U getting $50k at NYU.

It sounds like you wish that you had followed that path so that you could've gotten a 3.9+ and shot at HLS. But you. are. different. Most people care about having other people around them who can stimulate them intellectually. Most people don't have a single-minded dedication to going to law school at the age of 16. For something to be TCR, it needs to be broadly applicable. Maybe this would have been the best path for you, I don't know. But it's surely not going to be the best path for most highly intelligent people, even if they knew they wanted to go to law school.


I couldn't really give two shits about HLS because I'm not looking for Bigfed or academia, and I think the two schools are pretty comparable elsewhere (during the recession CLS sent a bigger proportion of grads to Biglaw). Might've been nice to be able to cop some of dat scholly money here at CLS, as well as not having to freak the fuck out on a reserve list. I had three goals in UG: get a good GPA, graduate in five semesters, and have an insanely awesome time. I did two out of the three with a decent amount of effort. But yeah, it would've been nice to be able to do all three without really trying. If I had known UG quality makes little difference in law school admissions, I might've chosen a different school. But like I said, I'm very grateful to have gone to my school because it was mad cheap (total COA: $50k) as opposed to the STRIVY I was considering. Absent law school considerations, definitely the right choice given that I couldn't have gotten into HYPSMC.

As I said before, the shitty school is only credited for the law-school bound. If you're not going to grad school, TCR is HYPSMC or your state school.

Personally, I doubt that even you believe in this plan deep down. If your 17 year old told you that they would accept your offer to pay in-state tuition, but that they were choosing ChiState instead of Illinois because they wanted to take joke classes with under-qualified students in order to cop a 4.0, I doubt you'd be super thrilled.


I was pretty much told not to give a shit about which UG I went to, and that once you had a grad degree, no one would ever give a shit about which UG you went to. I would up going to a cheap school purely by chance (and, against the advice I'd give 17-year-old me, one with a relatively stiff grading curve).


I didn't mean to unsettle this entire debate again - I feel like it has been raged across this forum repeatedly in the interest of god knows what - but you paint these proclamations in such stark terms that it is difficult to take seriously. I think the gist of your idea from a law school pareto-optimality point is well taken, but as cotiger suggested, the circumstances in which that calculus is applicable are so infrequent, and the the range of direct comparisons so narrow, that what you are saying only really holds in a theoretical universe of bizarrely mechanic and uninspired values.

1) You are discounting the number of people for whom it is cheaper to go to a well-funded private school than the local state school. For many of my friends, USC was cheaper than UCLA due to financial aid. Northwestern was cheaper than Cal. And top LAC's routinely provide aid packages to a plurality of the class that rival your $80K tuition figure.

2) Of the roughly %45-50 of students at "top private colleges/universities" who aren't on financial aid, the majority of them hail from absurdly wealthy families where it makes no difference from an economic or strategic standpoint to go to a state school just for the money. The grade inflation at many Ivy's and Ivy-level institutions actually makes it a better call for these wealthy students to attend top schools than compete with their working and lower middle class peers at CUNY, UIUC or UC Irvine.

3) In your getting-into-law-school formula, you are forgetting that prestigious colleges do send more grads into T6 law schools than relatively anonymous state institutions than an average LSAT-adjusted metric would suggest. You know this, because most of our class (and nearly EVERYONE in my small section) attended a top school. Moreover, the "softs" you gain for the purposes of an application are in general more impressive from top schools, just because of the opportunities afforded. My college, to take an example, had the highest number of fulbright recipients per capita in past years (I'm not sure if this is still the case, but it is to prove a more general point). This is not a negligible soft, whether in life, hiring, or applications to law school. For prestigious internships in finance, law, and government, its undeniably easier out of Duke, Dartmouth, or Washington University than Idaho State. These do have an impact.

4) In states like CA, a "public" school education is well over $100K now with tuition increases. The cost delta between going to UCLA, for example, and somewhere like Penn, lowers every year. Also, you are less likely to graduate in 4 years due to budget cuts and the strangulation of required classes for juniors and seniors, so you are spending more tuition money (albeit at the $20K-$30K level) and time (from a loss of opportunity standpoint) than you would otherwise. Again, your "5 semester" circumstance is extraordinarily unique. (I didn't even know your college had in-state tuition until I met you, FYI).

5) Significantly, as others have suggested, you can't know you want to go to law school at 17. You shouldn't. College should be about self-exploration. It's how people become socialized in the 21st century. We need that process, and we sure as shit don't need more attorneys, especially the gunnerish teenager wanna be attorneys. We need more social workers, engineers, math teachers. It might sound in a bourgeois conception of higher education, but we do not operate on a structure of technical training. From a policy point of view, what you are suggesting is more like the European system of legal education (and not just legal): students acquire their legal degrees out of high school. Unless you are suggesting that we should adopt this system, the argument that the straightforward path to law school and ex ante knowledge of that path is TCR fails on all counts. It sends disoriented and socially maladjusted people into a shattered and unstable work force.

6) Lastly, you are ignoring that students should be choosing college based largely on fit. It isn't like law school, where an ROI computation is very useful due to the structural demands of the specific job market and the similarity between institutions and curricula. People who thrive in smaller environments should go to a small liberal arts college if they can - they will more likely cop dat 3.8+ there then in a huge, alienating environment. 18 year olds are very impressionable and fragile. Similarly, someone who loves mass-action school spirit and having a billion friends should be at a large school, and that is their choice. Fit cannot be ignored here.

Rather than pick apart these points in your favored quote-by-quote fashion, consider that they may suggest an alternative but no more flawed or less reasonable understanding of the process and purpose of higher education, and that they may be more compatible with your analysis than first blush would admit.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:11 am

jbagelboy wrote:I didn't mean to unsettle this entire debate again - I feel like it has been raged across this forum repeatedly in the interest of god knows what - but you paint these proclamations in such stark terms that it is difficult to take seriously. I think the gist of your idea from a law school pareto-optimality point is well taken, but as cotiger suggested, the circumstances in which that calculus is applicable are so infrequent, and the the range of direct comparisons so narrow, that what you are saying only really holds in a theoretical universe of bizarrely mechanic and uninspired values.


I don't think the circumstances are so narrow that they are law-school specific. The beneficial actions tend to remain the same across any grad school. So the circumstances then become "17-year-old who knows he/she will, in all likelihood, be going to grad school." This is still a relatively narrow group but it is not so insignificant that a determination of optimality is ordinarily not applicable.

1) You are discounting the number of people for whom it is cheaper to go to a well-funded private school than the local state school. For many of my friends, USC was cheaper than UCLA due to financial aid. Northwestern was cheaper than Cal. And top LAC's routinely provide aid packages to a plurality of the class that rival your $80K tuition figure.


I'm not discounting the financial aid aspect. You understand that the point of my suggestion is that people should be doing a cost/benefit analysis. The group of school that provide a top-line benefit to go with a top-line price (~200k) is VERY narrow. As I've said, there are only six that make me comfortable doing in most circumstances. If you have no GPA concerns and the better school is cheaper? Well, duh. The overwhelming majority of schools aren't worth $200k but schools may provide the right value at lower COAs. It all depends on the opportunity cost.

2) Of the roughly %45-50 of students at "top private colleges/universities" who aren't on financial aid, the majority of them hail from absurdly wealthy families where it makes no difference from an economic or strategic standpoint to go to a state school just for the money. The grade inflation at many Ivy's and Ivy-level institutions actually makes it a better call for these wealthy students to attend top schools than compete with their working and lower middle class peers at CUNY, UIUC or UC Irvine.


Being able to pay $200k for a UG education, or having an income where you don't qualify for financial aid, does not necessarily make a family absurdly wealthy. Not even close to the point where money is no object. Does it make them upper-middle class? Eh, usually. That's definitely the average T14 student. But you can tell paying $200k for UG did not mean an endless pool of financial resources because a lot of them come out of law school with six-figure debt. The group of people whose folks paid $200k-ish for UG but need to take out significant law school loans are actually probably the plurality financial situation--I'm guessing it exactly describes maybe a third of the T14.

If money is literally no object, then yes, go to the best school. Particularly if it is a grade-inflated school. Brown might have a higher average student quality than UVA, but it is definitely harder to get a 3.8 at UVA than at Brown because of the vastly different grade curves. So absent financial considerations, if you were looking at GPA maximization, you can consider stuff like that. However, a public school can have a lower average GPA but have a student body so clownshit that the curve is somewhat irrelevant.

3) In your getting-into-law-school formula, you are forgetting that prestigious colleges do send more grads into T6 law schools than relatively anonymous state institutions than an average LSAT-adjusted metric would suggest. You know this, because most of our class (and nearly EVERYONE in my small section) attended a top school. Moreover, the "softs" you gain for the purposes of an application are in general more impressive from top schools, just because of the opportunities afforded. My college, to take an example, had the highest number of fulbright recipients per capita in past years (I'm not sure if this is still the case, but it is to prove a more general point). This is not a negligible soft, whether in life, hiring, or applications to law school. For prestigious internships in finance, law, and government, its undeniably easier out of Duke, Dartmouth, or Washington University than Idaho State. These do have an impact.


Most available evidence suggests that overrepresentation of prestigious colleges, when compared to an LSAT-adjusted metric, is only scant, if it even exists at all. E.g. CLS is composed of roughly one-third Ivy students. What percentage of the 170+ scorers actually come from the Ivy league? Perhaps not a third, but within the CLS applicant pool, I'm guessing somewhere close. Remember that at all but a few schools, a 170 is performing more than one standard deviation above average (top 16%). And when we have seen evidence that a top school is being favored or a no-name school is being disfavored, it is only usually by a point or so relative to the average. Law schools really place a staggeringly low weight on UG quality.

4) In states like CA, a "public" school education is well over $100K now with tuition increases. The cost delta between going to UCLA, for example, and somewhere like Penn, lowers every year. Also, you are less likely to graduate in 4 years due to budget cuts and the strangulation of required classes for juniors and seniors, so you are spending more tuition money (albeit at the $20K-$30K level) and time (from a loss of opportunity standpoint) than you would otherwise. Again, your "5 semester" circumstance is extraordinarily unique. (I didn't even know your college had in-state tuition until I met you, FYI).


This all goes into opportunity cost. State school isn't going to be TCR for a non-grad-school person if it isn't actually cheaper appreciably cheaper. Going to a state school in five semesters was a HUGE factor in why I'm not going to have debt. My family will spend about $300k on my education. That's certainly not nothing but it's well within the financial bounds of most upper-middle class families. A lot of students' families are spending about that level on them, but it's been misallocated. $200k on UG and another $100k on law school leaves the sticker payers with $150k of debt (or otherwise leaves them with significantly more than they needed to have). Side note: the idea that UG needs to be four years is very outdated as well. Anyone can graduate in seven semesters, anyone with a little diligence can graduate in six, and with some AP/IB credits graduating in five is not that difficult.

5) Significantly, as others have suggested, you can't know you want to go to law school at 17. You shouldn't. College should be about self-exploration. It's how people become socialized in the 21st century. We need that process, and we sure as shit don't need more attorneys, especially the gunnerish teenager wanna be attorneys. We need more social workers, engineers, math teachers. It might sound in a bourgeois conception of higher education, but we do not operate on a structure of technical training. From a policy point of view, what you are suggesting is more like the European system of legal education (and not just legal): students acquire their legal degrees out of high school. Unless you are suggesting that we should adopt this system, the argument that the straightforward path to law school and ex ante knowledge of that path is TCR fails on all counts. It sends disoriented and socially maladjusted people into a shattered and unstable work force.


Being absolutely dead sure about going to law school at 17? Eh, maybe not (I won't rule it out completely--I'm sure there are some total law geeks who have been dead-set forever). Having thought about it for a while, considering that it might be a significant portion of your life, making plans in case it is, while leaving yourself open to changing your mind if something REALLY gets your blood flowing in UG? That's what I did. I see no problem. I'm not against finding your passion or whatever if you really don't know what you want to do. No one demanded it of you. Just saying law school, like anything else, provides more advantages if it's thought out well in advance. And yes, the European system is preferable.

6) Lastly, you are ignoring that students should be choosing college based largely on fit. It isn't like law school, where an ROI computation is very useful due to the structural demands of the specific job market and the similarity between institutions and curricula. People who thrive in smaller environments should go to a small liberal arts college if they can - they will more likely cop dat 3.8+ there then in a huge, alienating environment. 18 year olds are very impressionable and fragile. Similarly, someone who loves mass-action school spirit and having a billion friends should be at a large school, and that is their choice. Fit cannot be ignored here.


As someone who spurned the higher-ranked state flagship, and a couple of the lower Ivies, to go to the smaller school whose curriculum he liked better, I promise I have the appropriate level of appreciation for fit. If it helps you be more productive, then great. If it's just about what you like, then you're sort of buying that pleasure. Determine for yourself how exactly to value that pleasure.

Rather than pick apart these points in your favored quote-by-quote fashion


Oops. Maybe I should have read that earlier.

consider that they may suggest an alternative but no more flawed or less reasonable understanding of the process and purpose of higher education, and that they may be more compatible with your analysis than first blush would admit.


Of course they're compatible. You're just postulating an entirely different student and changing the values of some of the variables. It was never inconsistent with the rationally beneficial move.

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redsox
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby redsox » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:40 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:My family will spend about $300k on my education. That's certainly not nothing but it's well within the financial bounds of most upper-middle class families.


Somehow I don't think "Mommy and Daddy are paying for it" was the answer OP was looking for...

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Pishee77 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:27 am

midwest17 wrote:A few points:

1. Some people actually enjoy school.

2. "Material" benefits are only one kind of benefit that goes into a rational cost-benefit analysis.

3. Some people perform less well in less challenging environments than they do in more challenging environments.

4. UG quality, while having no impact on law school admissions, probably does have some impact on law school performance, which in turn affects the value of your law degree.


I concur. Esp with #3. If a class actively challenges me, I direct my focus on the class and do well….whereas a class I find easy/boring I become lazy.

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Pishee77
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Pishee77 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:34 am

redsox wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:My family will spend about $300k on my education. That's certainly not nothing but it's well within the financial bounds of most upper-middle class families.


Somehow I don't think "Mommy and Daddy are paying for it" was the answer OP was looking for...
I say the most blatant answer no one has touch on is finding a sugar daddy/mama. Duh. :wink:

I'm jk.

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redsox
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby redsox » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:30 am

Pishee77 wrote:
redsox wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:My family will spend about $300k on my education. That's certainly not nothing but it's well within the financial bounds of most upper-middle class families.


Somehow I don't think "Mommy and Daddy are paying for it" was the answer OP was looking for...
I say the most blatant answer no one has touch on is finding a sugar daddy/mama. Duh. :wink:

I'm jk.


At least that's an actionable suggestion. I can go out and find a sugar mama.

My only issue with parents paying for law school is that it distorts the price for everyone else. Instead of a market consisting entirely of poor 20-something consumers, now there are a bunch of "upper-middle class" olds fucking things up for us. And there's no real way to price discriminate between students whose parents will pay and students whose parents won't.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:21 am

LOL at "go to shitbox college to get easy A's" and "my middle class parents paid for my $300k education."

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jbagelboy
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:59 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:I didn't mean to unsettle this entire debate again - I feel like it has been raged across this forum repeatedly in the interest of god knows what - but you paint these proclamations in such stark terms that it is difficult to take seriously. I think the gist of your idea from a law school pareto-optimality point is well taken, but as cotiger suggested, the circumstances in which that calculus is applicable are so infrequent, and the the range of direct comparisons so narrow, that what you are saying only really holds in a theoretical universe of bizarrely mechanic and uninspired values.


I don't think the circumstances are so narrow that they are law-school specific. The beneficial actions tend to remain the same across any grad school. So the circumstances then become "17-year-old who knows he/she will, in all likelihood, be going to grad school." This is still a relatively narrow group but it is not so insignificant that a determination of optimality is ordinarily not applicable.

1) You are discounting the number of people for whom it is cheaper to go to a well-funded private school than the local state school. For many of my friends, USC was cheaper than UCLA due to financial aid. Northwestern was cheaper than Cal. And top LAC's routinely provide aid packages to a plurality of the class that rival your $80K tuition figure.


I'm not discounting the financial aid aspect. You understand that the point of my suggestion is that people should be doing a cost/benefit analysis. The group of school that provide a top-line benefit to go with a top-line price (~200k) is VERY narrow. As I've said, there are only six that make me comfortable doing in most circumstances. If you have no GPA concerns and the better school is cheaper? Well, duh. The overwhelming majority of schools aren't worth $200k but schools may provide the right value at lower COAs. It all depends on the opportunity cost.

2) Of the roughly %45-50 of students at "top private colleges/universities" who aren't on financial aid, the majority of them hail from absurdly wealthy families where it makes no difference from an economic or strategic standpoint to go to a state school just for the money. The grade inflation at many Ivy's and Ivy-level institutions actually makes it a better call for these wealthy students to attend top schools than compete with their working and lower middle class peers at CUNY, UIUC or UC Irvine.


Being able to pay $200k for a UG education, or having an income where you don't qualify for financial aid, does not necessarily make a family absurdly wealthy. Not even close to the point where money is no object. Does it make them upper-middle class? Eh, usually. That's definitely the average T14 student. But you can tell paying $200k for UG did not mean an endless pool of financial resources because a lot of them come out of law school with six-figure debt. The group of people whose folks paid $200k-ish for UG but need to take out significant law school loans are actually probably the plurality financial situation--I'm guessing it exactly describes maybe a third of the T14.

If money is literally no object, then yes, go to the best school. Particularly if it is a grade-inflated school. Brown might have a higher average student quality than UVA, but it is definitely harder to get a 3.8 at UVA than at Brown because of the vastly different grade curves. So absent financial considerations, if you were looking at GPA maximization, you can consider stuff like that. However, a public school can have a lower average GPA but have a student body so clownshit that the curve is somewhat irrelevant.

3) In your getting-into-law-school formula, you are forgetting that prestigious colleges do send more grads into T6 law schools than relatively anonymous state institutions than an average LSAT-adjusted metric would suggest. You know this, because most of our class (and nearly EVERYONE in my small section) attended a top school. Moreover, the "softs" you gain for the purposes of an application are in general more impressive from top schools, just because of the opportunities afforded. My college, to take an example, had the highest number of fulbright recipients per capita in past years (I'm not sure if this is still the case, but it is to prove a more general point). This is not a negligible soft, whether in life, hiring, or applications to law school. For prestigious internships in finance, law, and government, its undeniably easier out of Duke, Dartmouth, or Washington University than Idaho State. These do have an impact.


Most available evidence suggests that overrepresentation of prestigious colleges, when compared to an LSAT-adjusted metric, is only scant, if it even exists at all. E.g. CLS is composed of roughly one-third Ivy students. What percentage of the 170+ scorers actually come from the Ivy league? Perhaps not a third, but within the CLS applicant pool, I'm guessing somewhere close. Remember that at all but a few schools, a 170 is performing more than one standard deviation above average (top 16%). And when we have seen evidence that a top school is being favored or a no-name school is being disfavored, it is only usually by a point or so relative to the average. Law schools really place a staggeringly low weight on UG quality.

4) In states like CA, a "public" school education is well over $100K now with tuition increases. The cost delta between going to UCLA, for example, and somewhere like Penn, lowers every year. Also, you are less likely to graduate in 4 years due to budget cuts and the strangulation of required classes for juniors and seniors, so you are spending more tuition money (albeit at the $20K-$30K level) and time (from a loss of opportunity standpoint) than you would otherwise. Again, your "5 semester" circumstance is extraordinarily unique. (I didn't even know your college had in-state tuition until I met you, FYI).


This all goes into opportunity cost. State school isn't going to be TCR for a non-grad-school person if it isn't actually cheaper appreciably cheaper. Going to a state school in five semesters was a HUGE factor in why I'm not going to have debt. My family will spend about $300k on my education. That's certainly not nothing but it's well within the financial bounds of most upper-middle class families. A lot of students' families are spending about that level on them, but it's been misallocated. $200k on UG and another $100k on law school leaves the sticker payers with $150k of debt (or otherwise leaves them with significantly more than they needed to have). Side note: the idea that UG needs to be four years is very outdated as well. Anyone can graduate in seven semesters, anyone with a little diligence can graduate in six, and with some AP/IB credits graduating in five is not that difficult.

5) Significantly, as others have suggested, you can't know you want to go to law school at 17. You shouldn't. College should be about self-exploration. It's how people become socialized in the 21st century. We need that process, and we sure as shit don't need more attorneys, especially the gunnerish teenager wanna be attorneys. We need more social workers, engineers, math teachers. It might sound in a bourgeois conception of higher education, but we do not operate on a structure of technical training. From a policy point of view, what you are suggesting is more like the European system of legal education (and not just legal): students acquire their legal degrees out of high school. Unless you are suggesting that we should adopt this system, the argument that the straightforward path to law school and ex ante knowledge of that path is TCR fails on all counts. It sends disoriented and socially maladjusted people into a shattered and unstable work force.


Being absolutely dead sure about going to law school at 17? Eh, maybe not (I won't rule it out completely--I'm sure there are some total law geeks who have been dead-set forever). Having thought about it for a while, considering that it might be a significant portion of your life, making plans in case it is, while leaving yourself open to changing your mind if something REALLY gets your blood flowing in UG? That's what I did. I see no problem. I'm not against finding your passion or whatever if you really don't know what you want to do. No one demanded it of you. Just saying law school, like anything else, provides more advantages if it's thought out well in advance. And yes, the European system is preferable.

6) Lastly, you are ignoring that students should be choosing college based largely on fit. It isn't like law school, where an ROI computation is very useful due to the structural demands of the specific job market and the similarity between institutions and curricula. People who thrive in smaller environments should go to a small liberal arts college if they can - they will more likely cop dat 3.8+ there then in a huge, alienating environment. 18 year olds are very impressionable and fragile. Similarly, someone who loves mass-action school spirit and having a billion friends should be at a large school, and that is their choice. Fit cannot be ignored here.


As someone who spurned the higher-ranked state flagship, and a couple of the lower Ivies, to go to the smaller school whose curriculum he liked better, I promise I have the appropriate level of appreciation for fit. If it helps you be more productive, then great. If it's just about what you like, then you're sort of buying that pleasure. Determine for yourself how exactly to value that pleasure.

Rather than pick apart these points in your favored quote-by-quote fashion


Oops. Maybe I should have read that earlier.

consider that they may suggest an alternative but no more flawed or less reasonable understanding of the process and purpose of higher education, and that they may be more compatible with your analysis than first blush would admit.


Of course they're compatible. You're just postulating an entirely different student and changing the values of some of the variables. It was never inconsistent with the rationally beneficial move.


Then I think within a standard deviation of reasonableness we agree :)

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:40 pm

midwest17 wrote:A few points:

1. Some people actually enjoy school.

2. "Material" benefits are only one kind of benefit that goes into a rational cost-benefit analysis.

3. Some people perform less well in less challenging environments than they do in more challenging environments.

4. UG quality, while having no impact on law school admissions, probably does have some impact on law school performance, which in turn affects the value of your law degree.


1. Okay, yeah, sure, pay for whatever your enjoyment comes from. Heck, I said it was one of my main goals in college. My enjoyment mostly consisted of knocking back whiskey at a fraternity house rather than debating the finer merits of Hannah Arendt (like I said, it would've been nice to go to a school where I could party, graduate early AND cop a good GPA), but if your enjoyment is actually conducive to a good GPA then all the better. It's fine as you long as you acknowledge you might be paying a premium for that.

2. True. If the intangibles of "being in an enriching environment" are worth like $50k to you, then fine, that's your subjective preference. Just so long as you acknowledge that you're bargaining for it.

3. Yeah. Probably depends on the person. I wouldn't take it to the "rising tide" level where the COMPETITIVE VIGOR leads you to perform well at Harvard if you weren't already going to pwn, say, BU. But whatever works.

4. Maybe. I don't know if top-school students are getting any significant value-added on top of being already some of the brightest by virtue of being accepted, as it pertains to helping you out in law school. Maybe there is some value in it, or maybe it's entirely useless.

My only issue with parents paying for law school is that it distorts the price for everyone else. Instead of a market consisting entirely of poor 20-something consumers, now there are a bunch of "upper-middle class" olds fucking things up for us. And there's no real way to price discriminate between students whose parents will pay and students whose parents won't.


The market wouldn't be corrective even if it only consisted of poor 20-somethings. Recall that the government gives free money away by loaning amounts that some students have no hope of ever paying back, and then forgiving the balance. As long as the worst-case scenario is going on IBR, there's no market pressure to force prices down. And even if there were significant consequences, the average 22-year-old tends to be bad at considering the long-term consequences of FREE MONEY NOW.

dixiecupdrinking wrote:LOL at "go to shitbox college to get easy A's" and "my middle class parents paid for my $300k education."


1. I mean, you couldn't fault students for just responding to incentives. The real LOL is the Boomer mentality of "go to the best school and entirely disregard cost." It's been an outdated way of thinking for 20 years, and the difference in cost between state schools and private schools will only continue to grow. The secondary LOL is that USNWR encourages schools to just take high GPAs regardless of UG quality, leading schools to treat a 3.8 at Princeton the same (or very similarly) to a 3.8 at LSU, despite the strong differences in aptitude that suggests.

2. When I say that the students whose parents pay $300k for education are upper-middle class, I use that term to signify that while it's not something the average American family can do, you don't need to be "absurdly wealthy" to accomplish that. Probably at least a third of T14 students are having their parents spend at least that on their education.

N.b. that ability to pay is better connected to net worth than it is to income. My family income is not outrageously high. My family lives in a 3BR in the suburbs, drives Toyotas, and takes one decent vacation a year. They can afford to live in an area with good public schools but they would not have dreamed of sending me to a $30k/year private school. There's nothing particularly fancy in our lives; we're pretty much quintessentially upper-middle class.

But my family has circumstances which make it easier for them to pay. I'm an only child, so they've never had to do this before and they won't have to again. My parents are relatively frugal people who are obsessed with saving 20%. They're old, so they've had the opportunity to save longer. Because they're old, their investments were relatively conservative so '08 was a little less disastrous (although I guess on the flipside, it means they aren't cleaning up now like lots of people are). They bought a home in the '90s and watched its value appreciate above the rate of inflation for 15 years, and their home value didn't take it on the chin because we live in a "recession-proof" market. In the past five years alone, there have been several fortuitous circumstances: my father has become old enough to collect Social Security (which goes straight to tuition) but nonetheless continues to work, his company was bought out for a significantly above-market price and therefore his stock options (which he had because he was one of the first five or six employees of the company) are worth significantly more, my grandmother's passing meant that my father inherited (and subsequently sold) a share of property worth a couple hundred thousand dollars, and of course the biggie: I went to school for $50k instead of $200k. I call the last one a "fortuitous" circumstance because although it was an active decision (and cost was a factor I considered), I had no idea how beneficial that savings would become down the line. Even though I want to advocate for students to do something similar to what I did, I don't want to imply I had foresight that it would be a credited decision. I could have easily gone to that STRIVY and been no better off for it, marketability-wise. If I had gone to a $200k UG, and if I had been going to CLS at sticker five years earlier (before some of these fortuitous circumstances occurred), I would very likely have six-figure loans.

I have been the beneficiary of a number of lucky circumstances that give my family an easier time paying for school than even most upper-middle class families. And of course, I'm absolutely not taking their generosity for granted ($300k is nothing to sneeze at in any income bracket and it is, after all, their money). I was actually advocating to go to UVA with $75k and my father was the CLS backer. He asked me if I thought Columbia was a better school than UVA. When I said yes, he said "Then you're going to Columbia." I tried to make the money argument, but he wouldn't listen. I pressed it a little further until he started to get pissed off, and well, you don't piss off the guy about to pay for your school. And that was that.

NOTE CAREFULLY the purpose of the preceding discussion. Personal circumstances outside of income are very relevant to ability to pay. I am in a much better position than someone who comes from a family with twice the income of mine, but who has three siblings, younger parents who have had less time to save, and folks who buy fancy homes and flashy cars. These circumstances won't be in a student's control, but they can alleviate the burden by choosing a cheaper school with almost no marginal consequence if they go to grad school. THAT is what I'm advocating, for those who are in the context in which they stand to reap serious rewards if they do.

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skers
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby skers » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:52 pm

lol, bro, you realize that there isn't just one goal of an UG education and that's going to law school, right?

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cotiger
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby cotiger » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:35 pm

@Mono

I'm not going to respond to each point, but I think the main source of disagreement that you're having w/ me, midwest, bagel, and others is your insistence that what you value (basically exclusively focusing on maximizing income) is the overarching "rational" viewpoint. Everyone values things other than money and makes decisions that can't be justified by pure financial cost/benefit, and just because you do not share others' values, that doesn't make them irrational.

If maximizing finances is the only rational way to make decisions, then it only makes sense for a very small number of people to live/work in New York: Biglaw partners, I-bankers, etc. 99% of the people you see on the street would maximize their finances by choosing to live elsewhere (the generally higher pay in NYC is more than outweighed by COL). And yet.. there's 8 million people here, and it isn't because they're irrational fools. Living in NYC is exciting and worth doing for a lot of people, despite it being the financially silly move.

In addition to DAT INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION that you are skeptical that people can rationally place value in, there's also the fact that college is where most people develop a core friend network. I get a perpetual benefit that my friends are all smart, engaged, and interesting to me. Going to ClownshitU, with its 14% 6yr grad rate, is highly unlikely to offer that same kind of network. If those things are valueless to you (or at least have less value than a guaranteed 3.9), then fine. It sounds super aspie to me, though. Just understand that many people DO place real value in that kind of stuff, and their choices reflect a rational consideration of that, not just that they haven't discovered your super brilliant plan.

You're projecting what is TCR in your highly unique personal situation, and saying that not only is that TCR in general, but that it's also the only rational way to look at things. In your world, where most people's credited move is to act on a highly mercenary devotion to financial maximization, how do you explain actors and artists, or social workers and people going into PI? How do you explain 99% of people who live in NYC? How do you explain the broad preference of most students to go to Illinois over ChiState? Are they simply irrational and ignorant of what would be best for them? At a certain point, if you think the whole world is crazy, it might just be you.

TCR is to maximize overall life satisfaction, not financial situation. For sure, those two metrics are positively correlated, and they might even map pretty closely to 1:1 for you. But the fact that other people's preference functions include other variables doesn't make them irrational, just different.

ETA:
Mono wrote:choosing a cheaper school with almost no marginal consequence if they go to grad school. THAT is what I'm advocating

Is that all you're advocating now? Because before, you were advocating going to ClownshitU over GoodStateSchoolU at equal cost solely in order to cop a 3.9+ and hopefully profit on the off chance you went to law school..

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:05 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
midwest17 wrote:A few points:

1. Some people actually enjoy school.

2. "Material" benefits are only one kind of benefit that goes into a rational cost-benefit analysis.

3. Some people perform less well in less challenging environments than they do in more challenging environments.

4. UG quality, while having no impact on law school admissions, probably does have some impact on law school performance, which in turn affects the value of your law degree.


1. Okay, yeah, sure, pay for whatever your enjoyment comes from. Heck, I said it was one of my main goals in college. My enjoyment mostly consisted of knocking back whiskey at a fraternity house rather than debating the finer merits of Hannah Arendt (like I said, it would've been nice to go to a school where I could party, graduate early AND cop a good GPA), but if your enjoyment is actually conducive to a good GPA then all the better. It's fine as you long as you acknowledge you might be paying a premium for that.

2. True. If the intangibles of "being in an enriching environment" are worth like $50k to you, then fine, that's your subjective preference. Just so long as you acknowledge that you're bargaining for it.

3. Yeah. Probably depends on the person. I wouldn't take it to the "rising tide" level where the COMPETITIVE VIGOR leads you to perform well at Harvard if you weren't already going to pwn, say, BU. But whatever works.

4. Maybe. I don't know if top-school students are getting any significant value-added on top of being already some of the brightest by virtue of being accepted, as it pertains to helping you out in law school. Maybe there is some value in it, or maybe it's entirely useless.

My only issue with parents paying for law school is that it distorts the price for everyone else. Instead of a market consisting entirely of poor 20-something consumers, now there are a bunch of "upper-middle class" olds fucking things up for us. And there's no real way to price discriminate between students whose parents will pay and students whose parents won't.


The market wouldn't be corrective even if it only consisted of poor 20-somethings. Recall that the government gives free money away by loaning amounts that some students have no hope of ever paying back, and then forgiving the balance. As long as the worst-case scenario is going on IBR, there's no market pressure to force prices down. And even if there were significant consequences, the average 22-year-old tends to be bad at considering the long-term consequences of FREE MONEY NOW.

dixiecupdrinking wrote:LOL at "go to shitbox college to get easy A's" and "my middle class parents paid for my $300k education."


1. I mean, you couldn't fault students for just responding to incentives. The real LOL is the Boomer mentality of "go to the best school and entirely disregard cost." It's been an outdated way of thinking for 20 years, and the difference in cost between state schools and private schools will only continue to grow. The secondary LOL is that USNWR encourages schools to just take high GPAs regardless of UG quality, leading schools to treat a 3.8 at Princeton the same (or very similarly) to a 3.8 at LSU, despite the strong differences in aptitude that suggests.

2. When I say that the students whose parents pay $300k for education are upper-middle class, I use that term to signify that while it's not something the average American family can do, you don't need to be "absurdly wealthy" to accomplish that. Probably at least a third of T14 students are having their parents spend at least that on their education.

N.b. that ability to pay is better connected to net worth than it is to income. My family income is not outrageously high. My family lives in a 3BR in the suburbs, drives Toyotas, and takes one decent vacation a year. They can afford to live in an area with good public schools but they would not have dreamed of sending me to a $30k/year private school. There's nothing particularly fancy in our lives; we're pretty much quintessentially upper-middle class.

But my family has circumstances which make it easier for them to pay. I'm an only child, so they've never had to do this before and they won't have to again. My parents are relatively frugal people who are obsessed with saving 20%. They're old, so they've had the opportunity to save longer. Because they're old, their investments were relatively conservative so '08 was a little less disastrous (although I guess on the flipside, it means they aren't cleaning up now like lots of people are). They bought a home in the '90s and watched its value appreciate above the rate of inflation for 15 years, and their home value didn't take it on the chin because we live in a "recession-proof" market. In the past five years alone, there have been several fortuitous circumstances: my father has become old enough to collect Social Security (which goes straight to tuition) but nonetheless continues to work, his company was bought out for a significantly above-market price and therefore his stock options (which he had because he was one of the first five or six employees of the company) are worth significantly more, my grandmother's passing meant that my father inherited (and subsequently sold) a share of property worth a couple hundred thousand dollars, and of course the biggie: I went to school for $50k instead of $200k. I call the last one a "fortuitous" circumstance because although it was an active decision (and cost was a factor I considered), I had no idea how beneficial that savings would become down the line. Even though I want to advocate for students to do something similar to what I did, I don't want to imply I had foresight that it would be a credited decision. I could have easily gone to that STRIVY and been no better off for it, marketability-wise. If I had gone to a $200k UG, and if I had been going to CLS at sticker five years earlier (before some of these fortuitous circumstances occurred), I would very likely have six-figure loans.

I have been the beneficiary of a number of lucky circumstances that give my family an easier time paying for school than even most upper-middle class families. And of course, I'm absolutely not taking their generosity for granted ($300k is nothing to sneeze at in any income bracket and it is, after all, their money). I was actually advocating to go to UVA with $75k and my father was the CLS backer. He asked me if I thought Columbia was a better school than UVA. When I said yes, he said "Then you're going to Columbia." I tried to make the money argument, but he wouldn't listen. I pressed it a little further until he started to get pissed off, and well, you don't piss off the guy about to pay for your school. And that was that.

NOTE CAREFULLY the purpose of the preceding discussion. Personal circumstances outside of income are very relevant to ability to pay. I am in a much better position than someone who comes from a family with twice the income of mine, but who has three siblings, younger parents who have had less time to save, and folks who buy fancy homes and flashy cars. These circumstances won't be in a student's control, but they can alleviate the burden by choosing a cheaper school with almost no marginal consequence if they go to grad school. THAT is what I'm advocating, for those who are in the context in which they stand to reap serious rewards if they do.

I mean, since I went to law school, in retrospect I can say it would have been "better" to go to a cheap school full of dummies, but you can't (a) claim that's the only purpose of college, (b) know that you're going to go to graduate school beforehand, or (c) separate out the effects of getting a good education at a decent school from your later success in life. I agree the boomer shit about "always go to the best school you can" is laughable but so is treating your education decisions like some cost-benefit decision that you can find a "right" answer to by analyzing it solely according to economic efficiency.

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buddyt
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby buddyt » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:34 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I mean, since I went to law school, in retrospect I can say it would have been "better" to go to a cheap school full of dummies, but you can't (a) claim that's the only purpose of college, (b) know that you're going to go to graduate school beforehand, or (c) separate out the effects of getting a good education at a decent school from your later success in life. I agree the boomer shit about "always go to the best school you can" is laughable but so is treating your education decisions like some cost-benefit decision that you can find a "right" answer to by analyzing it solely according to economic efficiency.

tbf, there are not nearly enough people giving cost-benefit the weight it deserves, hence all the over-educated poors with huge loans and no money-making ability to service the loans. Cost-benefit might not yield a single "right" answer, but it can certainly point you in the right direction, e.g. that paying sticker and getting a LA degree from any non-HYP school is an objectively terrible idea, that paying sticker at nearly any law school is similarly terrible, etc.
Last edited by buddyt on Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KingofSplitters55
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby KingofSplitters55 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:37 pm

cotiger wrote:@Mono

I'm not going to respond to each point, but I think the main source of disagreement that you're having w/ me, midwest, bagel, and others is your insistence that what you value (basically exclusively focusing on maximizing income) is the overarching "rational" viewpoint. Everyone values things other than money and makes decisions that can't be justified by pure financial cost/benefit, and just because you do not share others' values, that doesn't make them irrational.

If maximizing finances is the only rational way to make decisions, then it only makes sense for a very small number of people to live/work in New York: Biglaw partners, I-bankers, etc. 99% of the people you see on the street would maximize their finances by choosing to live elsewhere (the generally higher pay in NYC is more than outweighed by COL). And yet.. there's 8 million people here, and it isn't because they're irrational fools. Living in NYC is exciting and worth doing for a lot of people, despite it being the financially silly move.

In addition to DAT INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION that you are skeptical that people can rationally place value in, there's also the fact that college is where most people develop a core friend network. I get a perpetual benefit that my friends are all smart, engaged, and interesting to me. Going to ClownshitU, with its 14% 6yr grad rate, is highly unlikely to offer that same kind of network. If those things are valueless to you (or at least have less value than a guaranteed 3.9), then fine. It sounds super aspie to me, though. Just understand that many people DO place real value in that kind of stuff, and their choices reflect a rational consideration of that, not just that they haven't discovered your super brilliant plan.

You're projecting what is TCR in your highly unique personal situation, and saying that not only is that TCR in general, but that it's also the only rational way to look at things. In your world, where most people's credited move is to act on a highly mercenary devotion to financial maximization, how do you explain actors and artists, or social workers and people going into PI? How do you explain 99% of people who live in NYC? How do you explain the broad preference of most students to go to Illinois over ChiState? Are they simply irrational and ignorant of what would be best for them? At a certain point, if you think the whole world is crazy, it might just be you.

TCR is to maximize overall life satisfaction, not financial situation. For sure, those two metrics are positively correlated, and they might even map pretty closely to 1:1 for you. But the fact that other people's preference functions include other variables doesn't make them irrational, just different.

ETA:
Mono wrote:choosing a cheaper school with almost no marginal consequence if they go to grad school. THAT is what I'm advocating

Is that all you're advocating now? Because before, you were advocating going to ClownshitU over GoodStateSchoolU at equal cost solely in order to cop a 3.9+ and hopefully profit on the off chance you went to law school..


Bravo to this post. It's all relative to what you particularly value.

Instinctive
Posts: 436
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:23 pm

Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Instinctive » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:04 pm

buddyt wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I mean, since I went to law school, in retrospect I can say it would have been "better" to go to a cheap school full of dummies, but you can't (a) claim that's the only purpose of college, (b) know that you're going to go to graduate school beforehand, or (c) separate out the effects of getting a good education at a decent school from your later success in life. I agree the boomer shit about "always go to the best school you can" is laughable but so is treating your education decisions like some cost-benefit decision that you can find a "right" answer to by analyzing it solely according to economic efficiency.

tbf, there are not nearly enough people giving cost-benefit the weight it deserves, hence all the over-educated poors with huge loans and no money-making ability to service the loans. Cost-benefit might not yield a single "right" answer, but it can certainly point you in the right direction, e.g. that paying sticker and getting a LA degree from any non-HYP school is an objectively terrible idea, that paying sticker at nearly any law school is similarly terrible, etc.


I really think that in today's world, you can absolutely know you're going to go to grad school. That was the overarching, driving factor for my choice of "state UG w/ full ride" vs. "Private school with half scholly...still costing over 100K + higher COL locale." Given certain career aspirations, you can pretty much bank on knowing you'll want to get an MBA/JD/Ph.D. for a whole lot of careers headed into your UG choice. You may not know EXACTLY which one, but you probably have a decent enough idea of what you want to do to know if grad school in general will become your path.

For example, I didn't know what I'd do after UG. I was initially an accounting major because it would be useful in a variety of fields, but I've added/dropped/changed majors seven times. I did know that I wanted a degree in something portable, and I knew I wanted grad school to be (financially) an option.

At the same time, to be fair, the argument that you should go to any university over another because your GPA will be easier to obtain is, IMO, total bullshit. Maybe I'm a little arrogant, or maybe I'm just wrong, but I'd be close to a 4.0 anywhere. That's part of who I am. I learn well, I work hard, and grades matter to me. I'd have similarly strong grades had I ended up in engineering, had I ended up at GTown, had I ended up exactly where I did... Again, just one person's opinion. FWIW.

the_phoenix612
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:47 pm

Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:26 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
KingofSplitters55 wrote:How do you pay sticker?

How do people pay for private colleges?

Maybe people should have asked their parents to withhold their aid till law school (while going to a cheap state school at full ride and getting near a 4.0 there) instead of having them giving out a $40k/yr subsidy for 4 years for one's BA in Classics...

...and maybe people shouldn't go K to JD but rather work a few years first and save up 30K or something...

...and maybe retake enough to get a scholarship at a T6 or T10...

With all these things, law school really isn't that expensive at all. One could easily graduate from say Columbia Law debt-free (as 25% of their class does).

If you're paying sticker, that's the real problem.


Some of this is pretty misinformed and problematic, except for the retake part. Most people whose parents will pay full tuition at a private college are affluent enough to lend some support in law school too. Similarly, those families who can't afford any support in law school likely couldn't pay $50K/year for undergrad, so your scenarios are erroneous. Broad strokes, that's not how personal family finance works. (There are circumstances, similar to my own, where family will support in undergrad but stop there, but this this support is rarely interchangeable with law school anyway since it imputes a standing on principle).

And there's no reason to disparage an elite/exclusive private college education. I wouldn't trade mine for anything. Moreover, less affluent families receive very generous financial aid at top private schools, making them MORE affordable than state colleges. Is it ludicrously expensive at first blush, yes, but those are unresolved market forces irrelevant to the point at issue here. Also, again, what is it with TLS and the total philistine fetishism against "Classics" and other humanities majors?

There's a more fundamental flaw in the private/public example here: state schools might be less rigorous on average than some private institutions, but they definitely don't hand out as many A's. It's a flawed assumption that you could more easily get a 4.0 at your state flagship than Brown, Pomona, Harvard, Northwestern, ect.

As for working between college and law school, while I support taking time off for personal growth, work experience, and all the other substantial value that time can have, it's ridiculous hard to save $30,000 on a post-BA salary unless you are in the rare circumstance of living at home and entering a prestigious profession or getting a CPA license. I was in consulting, and even there, saving $30K would have taken several years. My friends in IB would still struggle with that savings figure given high CoL where those jobs are, primarily NYC and SF.

And as for your example, none of the Columbia law grads graduating debt free followed the steps you laid out. I have many friends in that 25%; they are privileged students from very wealthy families who undoubtedly paid for their college education regardless of cost; they didn't save that money, and the vast majority of them aren't on a very significant scholarship anyway since only about 50 kids out of the 350 class will have a half tuition scholarship or more. Schools like Columbia and Harvard attract students from these similarly elite backgrounds.

Suggesting that the average middle class student could simply follow this advice and avoid substantial debt at a T6 is dangerous. Law school is still very, very expensive.

As long as we're throwing anecdotal evidence around, I go to CLS and my family did exactly what the poster you quoted suggested - I turned down Northwestern and Rice to go to a public university, then applied my college fund to Columbia. It actually worked out nearly even when you subtract what I made over the summer from their assistance.




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