When I say 'worth it' I mean financially. I know that going to any ivy or equivalent (MIT/Stanford) and getting a name-brand degree can significantly increase your salary, which is why they're 'worth it'/an investment to spend so much money going there.
However, does that same principle apply to 'prestigious' universities (with prestigious price tags) that aren't really name-brand degrees? It might seem like an extreme question, but if you're not going somewhere incredibly prestigious that people recognize as a great college, is there, financially, a point in not just going to a cheap local college to save money?
I realize I sound stingy, but I just want to make the smartest financial decisions I can for myself. Also, if it matters, I'm planning to get a bachelor's in computer science.
I would say that going to a university that is unaffordable and would put you in a lot of debt is generally not worth it. What's worth noting though is that the most affordable colleges are actually the prestigious ones - since Top 50 schools have the largest endowments, they have the most money to give to students in the form of private merit scholarships.
Your local private college could very well be more expensive than a more well-known school like Oberlin College. To see what I mean, you can take a look at this list of America's most affordable schools. Most of them are on the prestigious side of things. Your state schools will be just as affordable too, and may be more name-brand in your local area than the schools on this list.
In any case, the best way to save money on an undergrad degree is to go to community college for 2 years and then transfer to a university that gives generous aid packages. Hope this helps!
To echo Alex’s response, when considering whether a college is financially ‘worth it,’ I’d definitely do some research into each school’s options for alleviating the financial burden of attendance for students. Any college or university’s admissions/financial aid website will aim to make this information very accessible, in order to encourage more students to apply. And when in doubt, always feel free to reach out to a school office of financial aid and explain your situation—you might be surprised by the options that will be available to you. Like Alex said, it is the most prestigious schools that will likely have the most financial aid available for students.
Another important option to explore is whether, as a prospective Computer Science major, there are other forms of financial aid (federal or other private merit scholarships) that might be able to alleviate the cost of attendance at one of these prestigious schools.
Overall, I’d look into as many financial aid options as possible, because the more options you have available to reduce cost of attendance, the more financially ‘worth it’ these schools will become.
I hope this helps!
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