Santa Clara University

The-Big-Q_Header_4
 

The Big Q

Back to Blog

The Slowdown Hits Home

Monday, Jun. 20, 2011

$50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, June 5.

Kayla is going to be a freshman at a prestigious university, which was her first choice for college.  Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more expensive institutions of higher learning in the country.


When Kayla was making her applications, her family was in good shape financially, but just before she was accepted, she learned her father had been laid off from his job as a software engineer.  In order to send Kayla to her first-choice school, her parents intend to dip into their retirement accounts. 

Should Kayla allow them to do this, or should she go to the less expensive state university, where she was also accepted?

 

Here are some resources that might be useful:

 

Balancing kids' college and retirement saving

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

Pay for College (CollegeBoard) 

 

Photo by Daniel Moyle available under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

 

Posted by Rebecca Bivona-Guttadauro

Comments Comments

Cesar Fletes said on Jun 20, 2011
I believe Kayla has two options on this. 1. Kayla can go to her University before the start of her first semester and speak to financial aid office. She could tell them about her financial issues, and see what they could offer her. Financial Aid could offer her work-study, grants, loans and they could also tell her about the many different scholarships out there depending on her volunteer work and also depending on her grades. If it is a prestiges university they are always willing to help out those with financial issues, but it all depends on your "Resume" (Grades & What she had done in high school). 2. Her second option is withdrawing from attending the university and going with a community college. Community colleges are a great options with those people that have financial issues, or just want to save a lot of money. Many community colleges, such as those in the Bay Area, have programs were they guarantee admissions to UC/CSUs and some private college with the student maintaing a certain GPA. If she was able to get into this prestige university now, it will only be easier to get in after two years at a community college, especially if if the university was a UCLA, UCSD because they are apart of the program i spoke about. Either two options are available for Kayla and at the end of her four or five years in college her degree will be the same, and hopefully at the same college. It is always what you put into your college experience and it does not matter where you go. As my parents always tell me "It is what you make of it". - Like - 10 people like this.
Deepti said on Jun 21, 2011
I would suggest that Kayla begin by talking to the financial aid office at her first-choice school to see if there are any scholarships available. Some of the most prestigious schools, like Stanford, waive tuition for students whose families earn less than $100,000 per year. If scholarships aren't available, Kayla can probably qualify for loans. Under these circumstances, I think she should take over the responsibility of paying for her education, even if it means taking out loans that she will have to repay later on. Going to a top school, especially if it was her first choice, is an investment in Kayla's future. Students who go to prestigious schools tend to have more opportunities available to them. Beyond that, there's a psychological boost from being at a school you love. I was a transfer student, who moved in my sophomore year to a school I really wanted to attend. I discovered that just being in an environment that suited me made a huge difference in my motivation. If at all possible, Kayla should remain at her first-choice school if that's where she has the best chance of doing well. Coming from an Indian culture that places great value on duty to one's parents, I've always felt that children have a responsibility to provide for their parents once they grow older. If Kayla allows her parents to continue to dip into their retirement accounts to pay for her education, I think she has even more of a duty to provide for them financially once they retire. - Like - 2 people like this.
Cesar Fletes said on Jun 21, 2011
I believe that community college is still a good option. She saves her parents money, and still has a chance to join the same school she was at before. You stated you were a transfer after two years. Do you think that it was a good idea or a good way of going through college through your experience? It doesn't hurt to go to community although you do not receive any motivation from your peers and it doesnt feel like high school all over again. For some it motivates and others it demoralizes them from continuing their education. I still being Kayla should go to a community first. Saves money, and she could possibly change her mind about what school she truly wanted to attend. Many freshmen do not know what their major should be and Kayla could use those 2 years at a community to develop as a person and chose the right college for her major. - Like - 5 people like this.
Cameron said on Jun 22, 2011
Kayla needs to talk to her parents about this. This is a family decision, and an extremely tough one at that. It's certainly not fair for Kayla to expect her parents to dip into their savings to support her expensive college choice, but that doesn't seem like what is happening here. If Kayla's parents really want to use their retirement funds for her future, she owes it to them to work her butt off at school and make their sacrifice worthwhile. Most kids do not have the luxury of having parents that have the resources or concern to pay for their education, so Kayla really owes her parents if she allows them to use their savings for her. Personally I would feel uncomfortable with this, and that's why I would say it's really important that Kayla sit her parents down and make sure they know that she is willing to go to a state university. Depending on the state, Kayla could probably find a comparable school to go to for much cheaper, even if it's not her first choice. If her parents understand that and are still adamant about paying, I would just be very thankful and not take their gift for granted. - Like
Cesar Fletes said on Jun 22, 2011
I personally have that luxury of my parents paying for my education and I do agree with you stating that it is always good to speak to our parents about our financial issues, but I am sure that Kayla's parents are like mine. Most likely they told her "Do not worry about anything with financial issues and we will take care of it". I am not stating this is okay, but stating that a State school could compare to a Stanford is beyond true. I currently attend San Jose State and I know for a fact it would not compare to Santa Clara University. I know that i will not have the issues of filing any papers with student services at Santa Clara while at San Jose State, it is a miracle if those papers don't get lost in the shuffle. At SJSU we have some horrible counseling services. One counselor tells me one thing, and the other counselor tells me another. At the end of each appointment i have had the counselor does not want to sign anything stating what he said is true, until he researches what he said on the internet. I honestly, as I stated before would either attend a community college and transfer to that school or ride it through with financial aid, work study, or scholarships. I would not attend a state school, for the simple reason that it will be very hard to transfer out, and also worrying about what units/classes will be transferring at your new school. While, community college will set you up for the school you want and your path is much clearer. University prefer accepting students from community college and high schools, then students transferring from 4 year universities. - Like - 6 people like this.
Miriam said on Jun 23, 2011
In the frenzy of the college admissions process, many kids become convinced that if they don't go to a "prestigious school," they will never be successful. Of course, there are advantages to attending top-tier institutions, but they are not the magic key to a happy life. Any person with intelligence and a willingness to work can get a good education at a wide range of colleges and universities. That certainly includes state universitiesjust look at the rankings of the UCs, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and other great public institutions. So, Kayla is not looking at a choice between her preferred college and a fate worse than death. She should start, as Deepti suggests, talking with the financial aid office at her first-choice school. Some universities have funds set aside for students whose family financial situations have changed since they applied. Kayla might be able to figure out a combination of scholarships, loans, and work that would cover her needs. If not, the state school sounds like a good alternative. It's certainly better than allowing her parents to deplete their retirement savings. This is not only unfair, but it's also a bad strategic move. If her parents cannot afford to retire, or if they stop working and become dependent on Kayla, her first-tier degree may not seem like it was worth the price. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Alicia said on Jun 23, 2011
Hi Cesar, I find your comments very interesting. I attend Santa Clara, but have two sister that have graduated from SJSU and one who is a sophmore there. In myconversations with them, I have noticed striking differences in terms of certain processes (getting lost in the shuffle) that come up just from the larger size of sjsu (# of students.) I have also seen similarities: one that you mentioned is getting different information from different admins/officials at times. I think the best thing to do is be as prepared and iunformed as possible. It comes down to making informed decisions through out college. Also, at the beginning of college: Kayla should strategically consider her parents postion as Miriam suggests and consider the factors mentioined by Cesar and the appeal of different options. - Like - 3 people like this.
Cesar Fletes said on Jun 23, 2011
From my perspective. I just think that the option of attending a state school should not be there for Kayla. There is a reason why prestiges your unversities cost money.... Meaning, students are paying these professors/counselors through their tuition to get to where they want, and have the chance of getting their classes. I honestly do not think that Santa Clara students have the difficulty of getting classes compares to SJSU students. Hell, I tried walking into three different classes this past spring and there were 20 other students with me trying to add. What sucked was that he could only 3. These was the issue with the other two classes as well. Professors all told us "I spoke to the Dean about adding another class, but he will not listen". We get screwed with this budget cuts, spiked tuition, and our funding going towards the dumbest thing. There was recently an article about a $151 million dollar high school in Southern California being gated and not in use because of budget cuts. I also do not understand why a school like College of San Mateo needs a $50,000 fountain on its campus, and why SJSU needs a new Student Union. I would rather see that money go towards have more classes opened up to public universities/community colleges. That is one of the luxuries of being at a prestiges university. Please enjoy Santa Clara and the great times you have there. I wish I was accepted back when I applied. - Like - 4 people like this.
David DeCosse said on Jun 24, 2011
We are moving into an uncomfortable world. Of course, most often parents love their children and children love their parents. But now hard forces are pressing on these bonds of love. Like it or not, the elderly and the young are increasingly pitted against each other in the search for scarce resources. In this world, the cost of higher education goes up for the young, while resistance rises among the elderly to pay the taxes to support such higher education. In this world, too, the financial benefit of a college education also goes up, while a steady retirement income  who has pensions anymore?  becomes less and less certain. We can read about these broad social pressures in the newspaper. But real people  like Kayla and her parents  face these forces and have to make hard trade-offs. It's difficult for anyone outside these situations to say what people like Kayla and her family should do: There are circumstances and affections and reservoirs of hope that only they can know and prudently assess. But it's safe to say two things. First, personal outcomes can defy broad trends: Kayla and her parents shouldn't shrink from a decision that works for them even if it defies what-everyone-else-is-saying-the-trends-in-finances-require. And, second, often there's a way where there appears to be no way. Sure: Kayla might have some advantage in terms of professional ambitions by going to the prestigious  and expensive  college. But a fabulous education  and a future that comes with it  can be had at all sorts of colleges in the United States. - Like
Alicia said on Jun 26, 2011
I hear what you're saying Cesar. The budget cuts are drastically changing the experience at schools across the state that depend on state funding. SCU as a private university has seen some challenges due to the downturn in the economy (donors who support SCU have to cut donations, parts of the endowment that are invested can be affected by fluctuations within different markets), but not to the extent as SJSU (due to diff. sources of funding, and number of students.) What we're really talking about is not only should Kayla's school choice be affected by the loss of a parent's job, but also the expected quality of the educational experiences at different university - including private vs. state - Like - 1 person likes this.
Cesar Fletes said on Jun 26, 2011
I still expect the quality will not match SJSU if Kayla were attending Santa Clara University. I attended private schools from K-12, 2 different schools, and then i attended SJSU. I can tell you for a fact that Private schools/universities are always better off then those in public. I still believe that Kayla should attend the prestiges university that accept her and refer to my 1st comment on ways to go around the financial issues. If you had a choice Alicia, would you prefer to stay at Santa Clara or attend SJSU if you and/or family had financial issues? - Like - 3 people like this.
Marianne said on Jun 26, 2011
I must agree with first taking a thorough look into any potential financial assistance available. Maybe that can do some to ease Kayla's difficulty. Overall, though I'd certainly feel guilty about it, in Kayla's shoes I would go for the opportunity to attend the more prestigious university. I could hope for my family's financial situation to recover in the future but an admission spot I worked hard for won't be re-offered. I'd better have every motivation not to let that precious opportunity go to waste, though. I agree with previous comments' notes on the harsh effects of budget cuts on publicly funded schools; my younger sister attends UCSC and many of my best friends from high school went on to SJSU. Compared with my experience as a Santa Clara student, it's just hard to imagine having to show up for an overly crowded class just hoping to be offered a spot, or to expect to need more than four years to finish your degree just because of the difficulty of getting the classes you need. I feel pretty grateful for SCU. - Like - 2 people like this.
Erick Chong said on Jun 27, 2011
The dilemma lies not on what Kayla should do as an individual, but what Kayla and her parents should do as group. As best described by the early days of Democracy in Ancient Greek-"the good of the many outlaws the good of the few." Kayla and her family should only fund the Four year investment for if kayla earns a b.a. and continues to peruse a higher education, that money invested would be refunded. But what if they opt to send kayla to a cheaper school? If in any case Kayla and her family decide to do so, her family will endure yet the opportunities presented in a prestigious school are higher than that of a not so much. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Kandace Arens said on Jun 27, 2011
Transfer. She can talk to the financial aid office, but there's no way they are going to be able to cover the amount of money that she'll need -- nor will she have the means to compete with the other students. It sucks, but it's just one more example of how education is quickly becoming a privilege of the elite. Don't ever take out thousands of dollars in loans for an undergraduate degree; you'll be trapped to those loans until you're 50. Many people don't graduate from the "perfect" school, and still have successful lives and careers. Many teachers at Santa Clara also teach at the community colleges and San Jose State -- so don't act as if these professors are the only gatekeepers to knowledge. Sometimes, there just isn't enough money. You can learn anywhere if you work hard enough. - Like - 2 people like this.
AG said on Jan 28, 2014
First of all, Kayla has to make sure that her parents didn?t just make their decision being only driven by emotions and that they considered possible consequences. She is her parents? child and they have the right seek best education for her, and she has the right to accept their financial support. There are basically three solutions to this dilemma. 1) Kayla can decide to go to her first-choice college and let her parents pay for her education using their retirement accounts. 2) She can go to the more expensive college and use her parents? support promising that she would pay part of tuition fees out of her own pocket. In this case, she gets a chance to contribute as much as she?s able to. In addition, it gives her a bit of a feeling of financial independence. It?s important also to consider the benefits of going to a more prestigious college. There?s a higher probability that once she graduates from such a college it will be easier for her to find a well-paid job and pay back the amount her parents contributed. 3) Kayla can give up her dreams of her first-choice university and decide to continue her studies at a state college. In this case, she wouldn?t have to depend on her parents? finances. In this situation a lot depends on what Kayla?s and her parents? priorities are. It may be that Kayla?s parents? expectations of her success are more important to them than a temporary financial instability. The best thing Kayla can do is to openly talk to her parents about how she feels and what her concerns are. She should also present to them the possible solutions to the situation and maybe suggest finding a compromise. However, this is her parents? money and if, after considering all circumstances, they decide they are able to pay full tuition at the more expensive college; she should accept it and shouldn?t feel guilty. - Like
AG said on Jan 28, 2014
First of all, Kayla has to make sure that her parents didn't just make their decision being only driven by emotions and that they considered possible consequences. She is her parents' child and they have the right seek best education for her, and she has the right to accept their financial support. There are basically three solutions to this dilemma. 1) Kayla can decide to go to her first-choice college and let her parents pay for her education using their retirement accounts. 2) She can go to the more expensive college and use her parents' support promising that she would pay part of tuition fees out of her own pocket. In this case, she gets a chance to contribute as much as she's able to. In addition, it gives her a bit of a feeling of financial independence. It's important also to consider the benefits of going to a more prestigious college. There's a higher probability that once she graduates from such a college it will be easier for her to find a well-paid job and pay back the amount her parents contributed. 3) Kayla can give up her dreams of her first-choice university and decide to continue her studies at a state college. In this case, she wouldn't have to depend on her parents' finances. In this situation a lot depends on what Kayla's and her parents' priorities are. It may be that Kayla's parents' expectations of her success are more important to them than a temporary financial instability. The best thing Kayla can do is to openly talk to her parents about how she feels and what her concerns are. She should also present to them the possible solutions to the situation and maybe suggest finding a compromise. However, this is her parents' money and if, after considering all circumstances, they decide they are able to pay full tuition at the more expensive college; she should accept it and shouldn't feel guilty. - Like
Post a Comment

Tags: Cameron Tow, campus free speech, college students, contest, David DeCosse, Deepti Shenoy, diversity, economy, Financial aid, grants, loans, parents, tuition