tkgrrett wrote:Im pretty sure Ive decided to take Harvard over full rides at UVA, UMich and UC-Berk. Any interest in me posting my line of reasoning?
I'd love to hear why.
Disclaimer: I come from a low income family so I am probably looking at a max grant of around 30k from Harvard so that probably changes the calculus compared to what most people here face. I havent received my official aid offer yet so all this could change if there was some kind of shocking surprise.
First off, I'll be the first to admit that from a purely financial standpoint there will probably be no net gain(and somewhat likely a net loss) from me choosing Harvard over T-10 full rides. Anyone who argues otherwise is being ridiculous. That said, I really don't anticipate being impoverished after graduating from any of the 4 schools. It basically comes down to how much I value the ~60-70k savings. Assuming I get biglaw at 160k, on a 10 yr. payment plan the debt from Harvard would lead to me making about 70-75k/yr after taxes and loan payments while the full rides would likely put me in the 80-88k/yr range. At those income levels, I just dont think think the money means that much to me. Im not the type of person who gets more value from having a $65,000 bmw instead of a $45,000 one or who would enjoy a $3,000/month apt. less than a $4,000/month apartment. Basically, there is simply a threshold income that I find completely acceptable, which all four schools would probably meet, and the value of the money decreases past that point.
On the other hand, b/c of my background I do get some value out of simply going to Harvard. I come from a poorer background and in many ways my attendance kind of validates my family's work raising me, the extra effort teachers put in helping me, and the time that other mentors took out of their day to show me the ropes. As far as career interests go, I do have some interest in possibly going into academia or high-level business work at some point if the opportunity arises after biglaw. Harvard's name would be advantageous in both of those fields. In addition, I think that Harvard's LIPP program provides enough of a reliable safety net that I really dont see much of a possibility for a catastrophic outcome (by 2014 the income scale should rise to a level where below 50k means they cover all your loans).
Flying home from ASW I really thought about it and in 30 years I really dont see myself thinking back and wishing I made more money when I was younger. Honestly, I dont think I would regret going to any of these schools. Still, I enjoyed my visit to Cambridge and I believe that Harvard offers some benefits beyond finances that makes up for the difference in aid offers between the schools.