By JLP | April 30, 2008
Here’s today’s Question of the Day. This one was submitted by reader, AJ Spring. The question portion of the email is in bold but read the entire email for the context.
I was blessed to have parents that wanted me to do whatever I wanted to, and as a result, I am well on my way to an excellent degree and a well-paying job. However, many of the parents at my high school encouraged their kids (some more forcefully than others) to either go to a public school or a school where they could get a lot of scholarship money. While some of these parents had legitimate financial restrictions, there were families living in 4,000 square foot houses insisting that their children go to State U. Other than the obvious money advantages, can you talk about the pros and cons of sending a child to a public vs. private university?
Consider yourself blessed. Not everyone can attend a private college. I see nothing wrong with a kid going to a public university as long as it has a good reputation. Your parents have obviously stressed to you the importance of an education and have made choices accordingly. Hopefully you’ll remember the choices your parents have made and will be able to help them financially if they ever need help.
Your point about people living in 4,000 square foot houses is well taken. Unfortunately, some of these parents are foregoing retirement planning in order to fund today’s lifestyle. I consider this a greater tragedy than not sending their kids to private college.
Now, to answer your questions regarding the pros and cons of public vs. private universities:
Public naturally cheaper unless you can get scholarships or grants. Many private schools are making efforts to help with tuition. However, this can only mean that more people will apply to go those colleges, which will increase the competition making it more difficult to get into those colleges.
A degree from a private college can open the doors to a high-paying job right out of school. It’s debatable the long-term benefits of a degree from a private college as work ethic and dependability also play a significant role in career advancement.
Finally, parents themselves can help pave the way for their kids’ success by teaching them how to become responsible adults—a skill that NO college can teach.
Now it’s time for AFM readers to weigh in. What are your thoughts on parents’ responsibilities in providing their kids with a college education?