Is Private University Worth It? 85% of College Grads Move Home This Year

Private University, College Tuition, High Tuition Costs, College Grads, Unemployment RatesHave you heard? 85% of College Grads will be moving back home this year. In fact, they have found that recent grads are at 54% unemployment. This adds more fuel to the raging debate: Is private university tuition worth the cost? Many families are thinking seriously about this exact question as students begin looking at schools and studying for standardized tests.

Every teen intern goes through a phone interview with me before being accepted to the program. One question I ask them is: “What is the hardest thing about your life? What do you worry about most?” I always get great insight into our teenagers with their heartfelt and sometimes heart breaking answers. On one of my recent interviews, an potential intern answered simply, “Money. I am worried about money. My Dad is out of work and I want to go to school. I do not know how I will pay for the small fees at public school, let alone at a private top tier university.” She is a 9th grader and already worried about having to choose between taking huge student loans for a private school or going to a local, lesser known public school.

Unfortunately, it looks like even private school graduates are having trouble finding work. Recently, I have started to question whether or not private school tuition is worth it. When I read about the battle on Harvard’s campus about lower income students working as maids for wealthy students I also wondered if private schools might have more issues than public ones. I did go to an amazing private school- Emory University in Atlanta, GA and loved my time there. But now, in the real world, I do not find that having a private school name in the top 20 schools behind you makes that much of a difference.

What do you think? Is private school worth the cost?

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2 Responses to “Is Private University Worth It? 85% of College Grads Move Home This Year”

  1. Kate
    May 18, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    No, I have never been a big advocate of private universities. I attended a public university, my husband a private one. While I will agree that his private school did more for him at the placement office as far as landing his first job, we both ended up with fantastic positions post college, with similar salaries (less than $5k salary difference).

    His student loans were double mine in the end, so the advantage he had in the form of extra support at the placement office is clearly dubious as far as I am concerned.

  2. Rebecca
    May 20, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    My husband and I were just discussing this very question, as our daughter will be starting her junior year next fall, and we are continuing to educate all of us about the college search process, financing, etc. I have a slew of older relatives who went to ivy league schools, so my daughter was interested in them from a legacy standpoint alone. However, the cost is concerning to say the least. I went to a state university, which was one of the top journalism schools (my major) at the time, and feel I got an excellent education at a great value. My husband went to a state school as well, and now works in an office with others who went to a variety of schools, including a prestigious private institution. They all make comparable salaries. I think finding a college, whether private or public, which “fits” your child best is the key. If the fit is good, they have a better chance of being motivated to get the most out of their time there — hopefully because they’ll see the opportunities around campus or the surrounding community that naturally appeal to them — I still believe that being personally motivated to achieve is going to get you farther in life than banking heavily on the name of the school you attended. And as we’re seeing more and more, the economy is going to continue to dictate the best “fit.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I think people will begin to look more deeply into what schools really have to offer “their” teen.

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