I started working in financial aid for 25+ Years. Over the years the # 1 problem I have seen is more and more students leaving college with unsustainable debt from taking on too much student loan debt. They graduate and the debt they are in does not match the salary they can make with their degree.
Price matters more then you realize when making an educated decision on the choice of college to attend. There is financial aid & scholarships but it is important to evaluate carefully each school and their offers.
When a school makes an offer of financial, aid evaluate how much your child needs to borrow for 4+ years and look to see what you the parents need to borrow for 4+ years. Think about realistic costs besides tuition and fees. Schools often provide unrealistically low figures for costs of attendance for categories beyond tuition and fees. If a school says you could be expected to spend $XX,XXX for room & board is that a realistic figure? The same for all the other categories. Compare how many/much loans you need to borrow to attend that school as a comparison point.
Then consider what that loan(s) would be per month to be repaid. Does the major and possible starting salary make sense? Too often many students go off with pie in the sky thoughts about where their education will lead them, then borrowed to the max for 4+ years and graduated “educated-poor.” That is when you have too much loan obligations for the salary you make with your degree. Many then rush off to graduate school and run up more debt to get that Masters degree to put them over the top. Then often they are over the top. So far in debt they need to live at home for years to make student loan payments.
Once you start working, it is not the reputation of your school that gets you promoted or your raises. It is the quality of your work. Reputation is good but should not be the final thought in choice of college. Often a good place to start is in public universities to keep your debt levels low, then make a transfer to a private as a junior or continue on at a public university. You need to be fiscally responsible in making choices. If you need to borrow more then you can expect to get paid in a position after you get that degree, you have not made a good choice. In the end run the numbers and make a good choice.