Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

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jewelledhunter
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Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jewelledhunter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:37 am

COA

Duke: 161,250 (72k scholarship)
UCLA: 129,535 (95k scholarship)
UT Austin: 55,000 (75k plus in-state tuition plus Austin resident so no rent)
Columbia: Sticker. (Ouch. I got in yesterday and need to submit more financial info)

My plans are corporate law. I have family in Austin. I'm K-JD; my undergrad was in SoCal and I do like it here. I'm not sure where I want to live yet though. Texas is an option. CA is an option. But anywhere up and down the East and West Coasts are also options.

LSAT: 171 (took it two times)
GPA: 3.6x

My parents have offered to pay for everything. This won't be an interest-free loan or something. Literally paying for everything. Now I know that most people would kill for this opportunity but I feel sick at the idea of my parents paying for sticker price at Columbia. They claim (and I'm going to assume that they aren't lying) that they have money set aside for retirement and the money set aside for my education, so they could pay for this while not changing their lifestyle at all. I understand that paying for this would reduce the money that they would give to me in the future, but I don't think I should be counting on that anyways. Columbia's employment numbers for big law are appealing--but I'm wondering if that difference is really worth that huge cost differential. I'm definitely not going to assume that I'll be in the top third at any law school I go to.

Knowing my numbers, I'm guessing that I'm going to get zilch from Columbia. I'm surprised I'm even in. Should I even be considering Columbia?

Edit: Revised because I misstated UCLA's COA
Last edited by jewelledhunter on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:43 am

Duke/whatever other lower T14 you have $$ at. UCLA/UT aren't going to get you biglaw at median

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pancakes3
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:33 am

Duke is probably TCR but between your parents paying and the preftige, CLS makes for a compelling choice.

wons
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby wons » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:19 am

This is an easy one - Columbia, and be extra nice to your parents at Easter/Passover this year. Don't forget that Columbia significantly increases your odds of a 'good' Biglaw job, which you have a greater chance of surviving for longer in.

hawnee86
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby hawnee86 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:42 am

I think these situations (parents offering significant financial contributions) are great opportunities for students and parents to sit down and have a frank discussion about family finances. It's important to make sure you both fully understand the realities of COA, including a reasonable approach to CoL, likely tuition increases, and inflation (seems like OP has a n appreciation of these factors). It's important to realize exactly what financial plans and options your parents have for their future, AND it's a chance to have a pretty crucial conversation about where your family wants its finances to be in the event of death, disease, unforseen outcomes, etc. Parents often seem to want to avoid disclosing specifics of their income and savings/investments, but it seems to me like you really need to know these details before you can make a reasonable decision about schooling. You're an adult making a very important decision, and you need all the info before you make it.

I don't have any specific recommendations, because I think your answer will become more clear once you have this conversation. You'll be in a better position to judge for yourself your comfort level in accepting such a massive contribution (maybe your family is much wealthier than you thought, or maybe they're not as secure as they're implying). You might also find yourself willing to work out a repayment strategy or other compromise. In any event, approaching the decision with care and caution seems a good indication you'll do well managing your schooling and outcomes wherever you choose.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:51 am

hawnee86 wrote:I think these situations (parents offering significant financial contributions) are great opportunities for students and parents to sit down and have a frank discussion about family finances.

I agree with this. Maybe OP's parents are secretly really rich and (s)he just never knew about it, but it sounds like that's not really the case. You could also offer to take some loans out to ease their burden. If they insist on paying and will have millions in the bank even after you graduate then Columbia is the easy choice.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:If they insist on paying and will have millions in the bank even after you graduate then Columbia is the easy choice.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:02 pm

jewelledhunter wrote:They claim (and I'm going to assume that they aren't lying) that they have money set aside for retirement and the money set aside for my education, so they could pay for this while not changing their lifestyle at all.
Make them sit down and show you the proof of this. If it really won't hurt them in any way, take the money and go to Columbia. If it would make them tighten their belts to pay full sticker, offer to take out half the COA in loans. If even that would affect their lifestyle, consider Duke.

jewelledhunter wrote:I understand that paying for this would reduce the money that they would give to me in the future, but I don't think I should be counting on that anyways.
You aren't entitled to their money when they die, and in any case, you might not get it for 40+ years. This should not be a factor in your decision.

jewelledhunter
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jewelledhunter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:46 pm

Make them sit down and show you the proof of this. If it really won't hurt them in any way, take the money and go to Columbia. If it would make them tighten their belts to pay full sticker, offer to take out half the COA in loans. If even that would affect their lifestyle, consider Duke.


Thanks for telling me this--I've already tried to get them to be honest about their financial situation but for some reason they won't tell me. But I needed to hear that I should really get them to be honest with me.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:26 pm

Seems way too personal for TLS to offer much help here

I do have a serious question for Columbia voters:

Is Columbia 100K+ better than Duke for generic "I wanna do the big law corp drone thing"? Especially when it seems (although it's hard to tell from the OP) that CA/TX would be the top two choices?

I get the super rich parents thing, etc. but just speaking as a rational person, is Columbia really 100K better? Like, that's something you should pay for because you'll get that much extra value out of it?

Honest question. My knee jerk reaction is "No" but as we all know I don't really know anything about anything so I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts

jewelledhunter
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jewelledhunter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:52 pm

I get the super rich parents thing, etc. but just speaking as a rational person, is Columbia really 100K better? Like, that's something you should pay for because you'll get that much extra value out of it?


Thanks for putting in words what I've been trying to ask (just couldn't figure out how to say it)

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:11 pm

jewelledhunter wrote:
I get the super rich parents thing, etc. but just speaking as a rational person, is Columbia really 100K better? Like, that's something you should pay for because you'll get that much extra value out of it?


Thanks for putting in words what I've been trying to ask (just couldn't figure out how to say it)

Something else I probably should have said was that I go to UT and a few things you said (wanting corporate big law, top 3rd) really hit close to home. While I think that's a good price to pay, I don't know that I would recommend UT here unless the money really starts to matter to you. There can be a pretty fine line between striking out and snagging big law at UT that seems to cluster around that top 3rdish mark you mentioned. You're going to have much, much more of a cushion at Duke/Columbia.

If the money mattered though (like, all loan financed that you're on the hook for), I'd probably say UT all the way here (with the usual caveats of be open to more modest career outcomes, etc.)

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:26 pm

Depends on how much you'd pay for better biglaw/fed clerk numbers, but I think 100k is pretty reasonable for 15-20% improvement. That's especially true with the OP focused on corporate work, which is the one area where the Vault rankings seem to mean something.

Normally I'd say no it's not worth it but when the OP won't actually be the one with debt hanging over his or her head after graduation it gets more complicated.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:55 pm

to Zuck: $100k debt =/= $100k additional expenditure from a reasonably liquid source. For corporate large firm work, yea, I think it can be worth that much to be at CLS, especially considering a sizable amount of that cost delta is for the QoL differences between Manhattan and North Carolina. If it's $100,000 more in federal loans.. then probably no.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:42 pm

jbagelboy wrote:to Zuck: $100k debt =/= $100k additional expenditure from a reasonably liquid source. For corporate large firm work, yea, I think it can be worth that much to be at CLS, especially considering a sizable amount of that cost delta is for the QoL differences between Manhattan and North Carolina. If it's $100,000 more in federal loans.. then probably no.

Well, yeah, I get that 100K in the hole for someone with $0 in the bank is different than someone with 3 million liquid dropping 100K

Like, no doy

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "cost delta" for "QoL differences" though. Are you saying it's worth spending more to live in NYC than Durham? Seems subjective to me and it wouldn't suprise me if someone from Austin would prefer Durham. But maybe I'm just confused as to what you're saying there.

I guess I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what the 100K is paying for. Insurance in case your grades aren't good? I can dig that Columbia is a better school than Duke and more people who want big law get it. I guess I'm trying to understand a scenario though where the OP strikes out in TX had they gone to Duke but they achieve big law had they gone to Columbia. I've got nothing. Maybe it makes a difference in CA? I could buy that it makes a difference in NYC but that seems farther down on the OP's list.

Or, are you buying a higher V number? That kinda makes my eyes roll a bit, but maybe it's because my school isn't prestigious so I just don't understand the importance of that. Also top 30% at UT can get V10 outposts in Houston so I'd imagine median at either Duke/Columbia can rock a solid V number. But maybe that's wrong too. If it's right, is it worth spending 100K to snag a V9 as opposed to a V17? That's the type of stuff I wonder about.

I dunno, I get that Columbia is greater than. 100K just sounds like a lot of money to me.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:48 pm

BigZuck wrote:I guess I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what the 100K is paying for. Insurance in case your grades aren't good? I can dig that Columbia is a better school than Duke and more people who want big law get it. I guess I'm trying to understand a scenario though where the OP strikes out in TX had they gone to Duke but they achieve big law had they gone to Columbia. I've got nothing. Maybe it makes a difference in CA? I could buy that it makes a difference in NYC but that seems farther down on the OP's list.

For me it would be the insurance. Even if Columbia isn't better than Duke in TX or CA, you aren't losing anything in those states, and you get a meaningful bump in NYC if things don't go well anywhere else.

The thing about the goal of transactional biglaw is that the usual backup options, like small firms and local government work, are pretty pointless. So maximizing biglaw chances makes the most sense for someone who wants corporate work.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:21 pm

If you want biglaw, then Columbia without any debt is the easy answer. If you're searching for the best lifestyle, then it depends upon personal preference.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:09 pm

BigZuck wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:to Zuck: $100k debt =/= $100k additional expenditure from a reasonably liquid source. For corporate large firm work, yea, I think it can be worth that much to be at CLS, especially considering a sizable amount of that cost delta is for the QoL differences between Manhattan and North Carolina. If it's $100,000 more in federal loans.. then probably no.

Well, yeah, I get that 100K in the hole for someone with $0 in the bank is different than someone with 3 million liquid dropping 100K

Like, no doy

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "cost delta" for "QoL differences" though. Are you saying it's worth spending more to live in NYC than Durham? Seems subjective to me and it wouldn't suprise me if someone from Austin would prefer Durham. But maybe I'm just confused as to what you're saying there.

I guess I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what the 100K is paying for. Insurance in case your grades aren't good? I can dig that Columbia is a better school than Duke and more people who want big law get it. I guess I'm trying to understand a scenario though where the OP strikes out in TX had they gone to Duke but they achieve big law had they gone to Columbia. I've got nothing. Maybe it makes a difference in CA? I could buy that it makes a difference in NYC but that seems farther down on the OP's list.

Or, are you buying a higher V number? That kinda makes my eyes roll a bit, but maybe it's because my school isn't prestigious so I just don't understand the importance of that. Also top 30% at UT can get V10 outposts in Houston so I'd imagine median at either Duke/Columbia can rock a solid V number. But maybe that's wrong too. If it's right, is it worth spending 100K to snag a V9 as opposed to a V17? That's the type of stuff I wonder about.

I dunno, I get that Columbia is greater than. 100K just sounds like a lot of money to me.


Alright. First, what I meant by QoL differences is that it costs a certain amount more to live in New York, and as you state, that's a subjective evaluation. So let's generously assume that's a personal factor, so the objective cost difference of the degree/school itself is more like $85-90k, rather than $100.

Second -- and you know how much I love/respect you as a poster -- yes for top tier corporate firms its a substantial distinction. I wouldn't borrow w/interest $100k for it but I'd sure as shit take $100k from my parents for it. Vault sucks, and as a budding litigator I'll mock it as much as you, but its relatively predictive for this type of crap. There are 4-5 firms -- Cravath, Davis Polk, S&C, Simpson, Wachtell -- where the corporate work is a notch above. The dominance of YHCN at those firms over a school like Duke, not easily dismissed. If you want personal details I'm always available for a PM but otherwise I'll leave it at that.

I can't tell you what the *value* of one of those firms over any other V100 would be. Could be nothing, could be tens of millions. But on someone wealthier's dime, speaking stochastically, it's substantial either way.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:31 am

I'd go to UT probably

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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby stoopkid13 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:24 am

jewelledhunter wrote:
Make them sit down and show you the proof of this. If it really won't hurt them in any way, take the money and go to Columbia. If it would make them tighten their belts to pay full sticker, offer to take out half the COA in loans. If even that would affect their lifestyle, consider Duke.


Thanks for telling me this--I've already tried to get them to be honest about their financial situation but for some reason they won't tell me. But I needed to hear that I should really get them to be honest with me.


Im in a similar situation with my parents (say they can and will pay for law school without serious financial burden) but they wont tell me the particulars of their financial situation. I trust them to act responsibly and to understand what they are paying for. Theyre adults and they're offering to pay; if they dont want to share inherently private info thats up to them.

I think part of the reason they don't want to share is because they dont want to warp my expectations of them and of money. basically so i dont expect them to pay for everything or for an inheritance. Its about staying grounded I guess.

Lastly, if youre parents are truly fine with it I would take Columbia. I know for my parents, they dont want me to worry about cost for a few reasons. My grandfather paid for my dads law school so there's a sense of paying it forward. I also think my parents would feel a little guilty if I went to a lower ranked school because of money. For my parents, the best thing to spend money on is their childrens education so paying more for law school is a better use than a vacation or a sports car (or more realistically sitting in Vanguard).

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bruinfan10
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:20 am

BigZuck wrote:
jewelledhunter wrote:
I get the super rich parents thing, etc. but just speaking as a rational person, is Columbia really 100K better? Like, that's something you should pay for because you'll get that much extra value out of it?


Thanks for putting in words what I've been trying to ask (just couldn't figure out how to say it)

Something else I probably should have said was that I go to UT and a few things you said (wanting corporate big law, top 3rd) really hit close to home. While I think that's a good price to pay, I don't know that I would recommend UT here unless the money really starts to matter to you. There can be a pretty fine line between striking out and snagging big law at UT that seems to cluster around that top 3rdish mark you mentioned. You're going to have much, much more of a cushion at Duke/Columbia.

If the money mattered though (like, all loan financed that you're on the hook for), I'd probably say UT all the way here (with the usual caveats of be open to more modest career outcomes, etc.)

As soon as I read OP I would've put money on you recommending UT here all the way. Is the school really that risky for Texas locals who are open to practicing in Texas??
Last edited by bruinfan10 on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

wsag826
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby wsag826 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:54 am

Outside of full-rides, Columbia hasn't released financial information yet. Are you assuming you'll get sticker at Columbia?

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AreJay711
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:03 am

I'd do Columbia if you like the school and could see yourself there. You don't need to baby your parents on this one -- tell them how much the difference in cost is and see if they can afford it / are comfortable with it.

Edit: I guess I should say more.

Your parents might be like mine. They didn't pay for my law school, but I've definitely seen them change their attitude with shit like this -- sister's college apartment/ spring break; willingness to front down payment and cosign home/condo purchase. They saved a lot when they were younger and invested a lot thinking their preferences in late middle age / old age would be different. Now they realize that they (1) don't want to retire early and (2) they don't have expensive tastes. Like your parents (probably) they have money in the bank that they'll probably never enjoy.

It's not that they have so much money it doesn't matter. It's more a reevaluation of what they want going forward and how much it's going to cost. My parents had this idea that they were going to retire to Hawaii at 60 and travel and shit. As it's drawn close, they realize that they want to stay where they've lived their whole lives work less but not retire. They'd rather have their children do well than that shit. On a more cynical note, old people are all in a competition based on how well their children are doing. Don't be selfish and take those things away from your parents.
Last edited by AreJay711 on Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:18 am

In your shoes, I would take Columbia but ask my parents to agree to let me pay them back with low interest or no interest if I land biglaw (or another high-paying gig) after law school. Or at least pay back half of it or tuition but not COL or something like that.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia/Duke/UCLA/UT Parents offering to pay?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:25 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
jewelledhunter wrote:
I get the super rich parents thing, etc. but just speaking as a rational person, is Columbia really 100K better? Like, that's something you should pay for because you'll get that much extra value out of it?


Thanks for putting in words what I've been trying to ask (just couldn't figure out how to say it)

Something else I probably should have said was that I go to UT and a few things you said (wanting corporate big law, top 3rd) really hit close to home. While I think that's a good price to pay, I don't know that I would recommend UT here unless the money really starts to matter to you. There can be a pretty fine line between striking out and snagging big law at UT that seems to cluster around that top 3rdish mark you mentioned. You're going to have much, much more of a cushion at Duke/Columbia.

If the money mattered though (like, all loan financed that you're on the hook for), I'd probably say UT all the way here (with the usual caveats of be open to more modest career outcomes, etc.)

As soon as I read OP I would've put money on you recommending UT here all the way. Is the school really that risky for Texas locals who are open to practicing in Texas??

I don't think you've followed my post history close enough (I don't blame you though, it's not worth following)

While I've been pleasantly surprised with how well UT places out of state, I don't really think people should go there unless they are committed to wanting to get a job in TX. Being "open" isn't enough IMO. It'd be a poor choice if the OP wanted to try and target CA from there.

I also wouldn't advise UT over a T14 with a generic goal of big law unless the money was way out of whack. I don't neccessarily think Duke is worth 100K more than UT but given that it wouldn't be debt financed here I think Duke is easily a better choice.




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