Your Dream College: Is it Worth the Cost?

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In high school, I had major dreams for my future.  I wanted to travel the world; I wanted to see everything and live everywhere. New York City held a particular fascination for me. It always portrayed as the center of everything, and I wanted to be right in the thick of things.  Naturally I saw myself attending a college in the heart of the city.  Naturally my first choice was New York University (NYU). 

It was my dream school; I would have done anything to go there, but I didn’t get in.

After that, my decision was much simpler.  I focused much more on scholarship opportunities and financial aid. If I couldn’t go where I wanted than I would settle for the best financial option.

But, now I have to wonder.  If I had gotten into NYU, would I have gone? The overall cost would have certainly been higher than many of the other schools that accepted me.  Would I have turned down the scholarship opportunities to attend my dream school?

A recent article in the Village Voice takes an in-depth look at this very dilemma, detailing the experiences of several current NYU students and alumni.

NYU is responsible for more student debt than any other nonprofit college in the U.S.  It’s location in Greenwich Village and its quickly expanding programs make it difficult for NYU to provide students with scholarships and financial aid. Although the school only has half the endowment of schools like Harvard and Yale it’s still competing with them for professors and students.  However, last year, the school received the largest number of applications ever, with 42, 242 students applying.

Apparently high school students are willing to consider taking out huge loans in order to attend the school they’ve been daydreaming about their whole lives.  However, doing so now, at a time when student debt has actually exceeded credit debt that decision isn’t one that’s easily made.

Lyndsey, a graduate of NYU who will be 54 when she’s finished paying of her loans ( a total of $350,000 including interest) didn’t have a simple answer when Village Voice asked if she wished she hadn’t gone to NYU in the first place.

“Would I want a different education? I have to say, the education I got was pretty great,” Lyndsey says. “I got to know this city that I love. And going to NYU has made people look at my résumé that wouldn’t have if I went to UMass Amherst. Do I wish I hadn’t gone to NYU at all? It’s not that easy.

What would you do? I’d like to think that I’d choose wisely, but I really wanted to go there…