Patch's Poll: Is A Private College Worth The Cost?

Three Connecticut private colleges make the 10 Most Expensive List. Is that money well spent? Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

Three of the 10 most expensive private colleges in the nation are in Connecticut, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of expensive colleges. This year's list includes , Trinity College and Wesleyan University.

Trinity College, in Hartford, ranked third at $44,070 for tuition and fees, according to the list.

Conn comes in fifth, at $43,990.

Wesleyan University, in Middletown, ranked eighth at $43,674.

What do you think? It that education worth the cost?

Justin January 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The only things my friends learned in a university was how to drive drunk, pick the classes that let you sleep in and how to acquire massive amounts of debt. Now they work dead end jobs, for the most part (This excludes engineers). Now lets take a look at the people that graduated three rivers nursing program or dominion/nuclear program. They are doing well.
Lisa Coe January 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM
It boils down to where you go, what you are paying for, and what your major is. I went to St. Joseph College back in the 1980's and graduated in the class of 1988 with my bachelor's degree in nursing. At the time my school was considered expensive with tuition, room, board, and fees totalling 13500 dollars a year. This was a luxury back then for a nursing student who could expect to make close to 30K a year to start! I went on the SJC website today and saw that the tuition is now close to 28K and if you combine room (a double) board (19 meals a week) fees, and an ammenity charge, the total is close to 44K a year. I consider this a great value to this day. With the average RN making over 73K a year to start, and with the scholarships and grants made available by St. Joseph College, this school provides an outstanding education for new RN's. SJC, located in West Hartford, CT remains primarily a Catholic Women's college, and St. Joseph College RN grads are still considered the best trained of all RN's in BSN programs in the state... In an industry where a hard-working BSN RN can make over 100K a year and with more and more hospitals only choosing BSN level RN's I would say that in this case, a good private school pays off in the end. This is where my love of my alma mater ends however. SJC is also very well regarded as a school for future teachers focusing on teaching in special education, and it today's market we are seeing too many unemployed teachers.
Lisa Coe January 28, 2012 at 01:04 AM
I guess what I am trying to say is that in my particular case, a private education at St. Joseph College was a great choice, and perhaps the only sound choice I made at the ripe old age of 17 when I enrolled. To this day when I tell people that my degree in nursing was from SJC there is the knowledge amongst those in my industry that SJC cranked out some outstanding nurses. In my personal life that degree from a private Catholic Women's college opened up a world of financial independence and constant lucrative employement. At the time I chose SJC, the only other option available to me was UConn for about half the cost... Upon my graduation (and back when a BS in nursing was the exception and not the norm...) I beat every other candidate because of my affiliation with St. Joseph College. I am not saying that SJC would have been a great choice regardless of my major, but I will say that back then SJC was the place to go to become a BS level RN...In the end I guess it is all a matter of figuring out what you want to do and knowing where you want to go to be educated. In my particular case I owe my comfortable lifestyle and my rewarding career to the fact that SJC was the place to go to become an RN with a bachelor's degree. Twenty-four years later I owe a great debt to my private school education and if I could do it all again today I would bite the bullet and hope to survive the rigorous training set forth by the Sisters of Mercy.
Amy stef January 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM
How do we value an education? Knowledge gained or job obtained? IS ia college agree deemed "worth it" if we get a job that pays over $30,000/year? Then perhaps it depends not on your College rather your degree? Perhaps a vocational degree (accounting, nursing) might guarantee you a job, but what about a proper, well rounded liberal arts education in science, art, history, geography - which is better to the student? In the long and short run? In England, they educate you in ONE subject - but then when you apply for a job, it doesn't seem to matter at a bank that you studied philosophy. In the US, we are lucky to study several subjects, but then our careers then do link to our education more closely. So, I don't know...but then again, I have an accounting degree, know little to nothing about art, music, science but can do our taxes and have no school debt. At 46, perhaps I would prefer the opposite and I am encouraging my girls to study what they love..so its history, world religions and biology - not sure what she will do with that, but...
Julian Lupienski January 28, 2012 at 12:47 PM
like anything else you get what you pay for and how you uses it. if you decide to major in basket weaving, gymn or parties I and II, then no, regardless what is paid.
Dorrie January 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I'd say college, like most anything else, is what you make of it. Of course, a name college will be impressive and open certain doors, but there's also a lot to be said for simply working hard wherever you are and getting everything you can out of what you've got in front of you. I'd say it's hardly worth putting yourself into massive debt, especially when they're are perfectly good schools that DON'T cost 40k! I went to BU for one year in 1986 and tuition was--huge at the time--10k a year. I transferred to SCSU for the rest of my schooling and paid an astounding $700 a year! Room & board was half the cost at Southern and the dorm accomodations were BETTER there! Yes, generally, the schooling was not as good as BU, but there are options; SCSU has an Honors College and those courses were quite rigorous (actually challenging, unlike most of the general classes). My main point is that there are options....it's not necessary to obliterate the bank account to get a decent education. I think it's unfair to dangle all these impressive and frighteningly costly schools in front of high schoolers and pretend it's reasonable for anyone (students OR parents) to have to take that on.
mystmom January 28, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The smaller liberal arts colleges tend to look at the "whole" child. At least that has been our experience in the college search. Yes, they are more expensive, but tailoring the college as much as possible to the child's learning style should be the goal.
Gary Johnson January 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Almost any University will be able to teach you WHAT you need to know. So you really need to look at other factors like: 1) the availability of internships in your area of study, 2) networking opportunities, 3) how comfortable the student is in the general campus environment (city, country, warm, cold, big, small.....), 4) what sports they offer, 5) what clubs they offer and 6) what level of diversity is the student comfortable with. The ability of a University to provide these things in an environment where the student feels safe and is comfortable, is worth the extra money if it turns out to be a private university. However, there are many great public universities that obviously provide the right combination of the above factors for many students. One size doesn't fit all.
Mark D. Wiggins January 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I work for a company full of engineers, scientist and other various professionals. Most of us have bachelor degrees, a third of us have masters and a few have PhDs. I work with some of the smartest people I have ever met. Young people, let me make this clear: NO ONE CARES WHERE YOU WENT TO COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't talk about it and unless you happen to read a bio attached to a proposal or paper being published, you have no idea where someone went. You will not be hired based on where you went (in general, yes MIT will get a raised eyebrow). Here is the clincher: Where you went will NOT stop you from being fired!!! Bosses don't sit around and say "Gee, he is horrible, but he went to Conn, so I guess we have to keep him". A piece of advice from someone who has been around a little: First: Find a field you will enjoy THAT IS NEEDED by businesses Find colleges that offers a degrees in that field Choose the one that will not break the bank and offers financial aid. Attend the college and LEARN (hint: you will be expected to apply your education at your new job) DO NOT go to a liberal arts college, get a degree in French Poetry with a minor in Womans Studies and then wonder why you are unemployed and $90,000 in the hole and living in Mom's basement....
Mark D. Wiggins January 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Final thought: The G.I. Bill paid for all my education, all the way to a MBA. I didn't pay a cent. Consider giving your county 48 months of your life. In return you will mature, learn a work ethic, learn the importance of teamwork, earn veterans status (preferred hiring, GI Bill, VA Home loans etc.) and most of all, you can go to bed every night knowing you did your part in the defense of this great country.
fvajdos January 28, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I agree with Mark. I have a BS (from a low-cost state school) and a PhD (from another low-cost state school) and I work alongside people from the most prestigious universities in the world. I've also seen Ivy-League graduates shown the door during downsizings. So in my humble opinion, there is little or no correlation between the price tag of an education and a person's success or happiness later in life. The advice I give my children is explore your passions, find something you love to do that people will pay you for, and find a way to get the training you need WITHOUT TAKING ON DEBT. Ignore brand names. An education is just a tool--it won't do the work for you, it's what you do with it that matters.
Sheldon Potesak jr. January 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Right now I am paying $33,000 for a public university which is Texas Tech University. I believe that even though public prices are rising private tuition is just crazy. Unless the school is a credible academic school thats worth paying over $40,000 to go to then do it if you don't have any other options. I would not pay $33,000 Texas Tech wasn't a Tier 1 school that ranked in the top 200 colleges in U.S. News rankings. Any college ranked in those rankings will be pricey.
LiveForFreedom January 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Most graduating college seniors today have a degree in an area with no vocational or business ready skills. The three listed private colleges in this story...Connecticut College, Trinity college and Wesleyan University are well known Liberal Arts colleges that specialize in the education of students in liberal studies such as the Hunanities, Arts, Drama, Asian Studies, Womens Studies, Political Science, History, Psychology and the Social Sciences. While these are all important academic areas the student has no real job skills when they enter the labor market. My own opinion on private colleges is to attend them ONLY if they have a renowned Internship Job Program for graduates. Universities such as Northeastern, Drexel, FIT, Piisburgh, American University and Pace University have top rated work study programs. At least the student has graduated with a top notch internship program with job skills and network connections when then enter the job market. As for other private colleges, I would rather have the student get a vocational career in the trades or state technical programs and save the $180,000 spent for four years of tuition and get a nice starter home with the money. They will be better off than most college graduates.
Lelen January 29, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I think it entirely depends on the personality of the student and the student's goals. It's not about private vs public, it's about what school fits you best and will best get you where you're looking to go.
Michael Starling January 29, 2012 at 01:39 AM
The simple answer is no. Your success in life is can be measured much more by knowing who you are, your ability to adapt, your inner drive and intestinal fortitude. If you have these traits then you will be successful with a degree from a community college, tech school or no degree at all.
Kenny January 29, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Rising federal aid (Pell grants, etc.) has, over the past 40 years, simply propelled the cost of higher education far beyond the rate of inflation. And what do students (and their parents) get for shelling out all these hard-earned dollars? expensive sports teams and their overpaid coaches, professors who push their ideological agendas (mostly left-wing) on impressionable students, excessive administrative staff, entire teams of affirmative action officers, climbing walls, plush dormitories, and other amenities that have nothing to do with education, and everything to do with delaying adolescence. The average student comes out of college with about $25,000 in debt. My niece and her husband have amassed $200,000 in college debt to earn a PhD and an M.B.A. Living in So. California, they will probably never be able to afford a house. Their college debt has become the new mortgage. There are far too many young people in college who should have sought vocational training, rather than dabbling in the cafeteria of often useless college course offerings. For those who are truly interested, the liberal arts curriculum can be obtained by self-education and appropriately selected Great Courses on DVD.
Kenny January 29, 2012 at 01:50 AM
There are far too many students selecting majors for which they will never find employment, but their colleges will never tell them that because it is against their financial interests. Those who remain in college through graduate school with the aim of teaching in academia often have great difficulty finding, and keeping, a job. The lack of steady income seriously handicaps their ability to save and invest and, moreover, shrinks the time available to save for retirement. A student who obtains vocational training right out of high school and finds employment by age 20 has a far better chance of investing and reaping the rewards of compounding over his graduate-school educated peer. Too many parents and students are suckers for prestigious colleges and universities and will pay whatever is asked of them to gain bragging rights. With demand for those seats exceeding supply, these colleges, in particular, take advantage and raise tuition and room and board far beyond the rate of inflation.
Kenny January 29, 2012 at 01:53 AM
More importantly, there is no guarantee that those schools will impart the kind of knowledge necessary in the current job environment. Consider the surveys conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Students at most of the elite schools (Harvard, Brown, Yale, etc.) come out having less civic knowledge than when they entered (i.e. negative learning). Of those surveyed, Harvard came out the best with a D+ average score on questions used on the typical citizenship exam. Few students or parents take a measure of the school’s actual contribution to learning during their four years. The ready availability of college aid (by which Obama is attempting to buy students’ votes) simply makes it easier to avoid making the hard choices about whether college education is appropriate, whether a lower-priced state school is the better value, what majors make sense in the current job world, and how much debt to take on. Yet too many young people make faulty decisions that will haunt them for years to come, and cripple their financial future. For an eye-opening video, go to: http://inflation.us/videos.html And select “College Conspiracy.”
Sandy D'Esopo January 29, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Yes, for several reasons: (1) Some private schools are able to offer a higher level of aid to needy students than state schools, making the real cost more equal. (2)Private schools can often offer a more personalized curriculum for students. (3)Some students will flourish in a private school's smaller, more intimate setting the atmosphere typical of huge state universities. (4)Many private schools are very prestigious and highly selective; degrees from them often carry more weight with employers than public institutions do.
tom January 30, 2012 at 04:12 AM
The Curmudgeon This answer seems pretty obvious to me, take a look around, almost every organization that is 5 - 40 people is run by some form of common college graduate or military personnel and a lot of those folks are surviving. My guess is these are the college kids that actually worked their way through school and gained real experiences in life, not the beer pong experts. Now EVERY government Agency that has failed us, every Bank and Business that was bailed out, ALL run by people with the finest educations you apparently can buy or cheat your way through. That's really the only way you can explain the incompetence is through cheating. They certainly haven't learned anything..... but cheating the American public.
tom January 30, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Here's the funniest part of this simple question, Just by the answers, you can tell who paid too much money. It's the the people that over complicate the answer and engage in boring ramblings straying farther and farther away from common sence with every penny they over paid.
mystmom January 30, 2012 at 09:35 PM
My husband got a certificate at a local community college and has worked hard for 25 years to get where he is. Kids getting hired with college degrees are making very close to what he was making just 5 years ago. Someone else he works with, now has a child with a college degree at the same company. His starting pay is just $15,ooo less than what she is making. Unfortunately, college has become a necessity these days; only a rare few can get by with just a high school diploma any more. The same with the trades. You don't just go into them; you need to have on the job training, state tests for certification, and you aren't even able to take these tests until you've worked for a certain number of years.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM
When it comes to looking for a school, the key thing is to look for a good fit. In some cases, particularly if a student gets good grades and gets academic scholarships, private universities can be as affordable if not more so, than public universities. If you can afford it, whether by paying for it or through scholarships, by all means put them in the mix when looking for a school. If you can't, you can get as good an education at a public university or community college. A couple years out, no one cares where you went to school.


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