Save Money: Don't Go to College in New York City A lot of high school students dream of going to college in New York City, and who can blame them? I'm a college student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and whenever I'm in New York City, I wish I lived there.

The problem is that -- unless you're a New York resident and attend one of the City University (CUNY) schools or receive a large financial aid package from a school like Columbia that has a large endowment and doesn't lard its students with debt -- you'll pay dearly for the privilege. Here, based on data from U.S. News & World Report, is an idea of how much debt you can expect to accumulate pursuing higher education in the Big Apple:
  • 58% of New York University graduates leave with an average of $34,850 in student loans.
  • 69% of New School graduates leave with an average of $20,968 in student loans.
  • 56% of Wagner College graduates leave with an average of $34,326 in student loans.
  • 69% of Pace University graduates leave with an average of $29,622 in student loans.
One recent graduate of New York University told me that -- in addition to the six-figure debt load he and his parents accumulated for the degree itself -- just living in New York City cost him "another $3,000 per year" in miscellaneous expenses: Transportation, food and night life in New York all cost more than in most other cities, and far more than in your average rural college town, where public transportation is often free for students.

May We Recommend a Bribe?

Explain it to your kid this way: Living in New York City would be exciting, and you want him to be able to. But what you don't want him to do is go to New York City, have a wonderful four years, and borrow so much money that he has no choice but to move back home after he graduates. And with a stunning 80% of recent grads moving back in with their parents this summer, that's not a hypothetical fear: It's a lot easier to afford your own place when you don't have student loan payments to worry about.

If it helps, tell him that you will use some of the money you're saving by attending a more affordable local college to help him move to the City after he graduates, if that's what he wants to do. Need a more immediate incentive? "If you go to a cheaper college, I'll take you on a $1,000 shopping spree" might do the trick. This just doesn't apply exclusively to New York City: There are many, many colleges with locales that seem like they would provide the idea college experience, but just don't make sense financially.

This isn't fun and it certainly won't be an easy conversation to have. But as get-out-of-debt guru Dave Ramsey says, "Adults devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good."

If the college selection process is a rite of passage in the march toward adulthood, then there could be no more appropriate decision than "settling" for a second- or third-choice college experience in order to avoid digging yourself into a financial pit. That's the kind of thing that adults do. Don't let the bright lights of the big city blind you or your kid to the perils of debt.

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Parents, quit trying to swindle your way out of giving your child the education they want and deserve. My parents did that to me and it took two college transfers and lots of unnecessary stress, just so I could attend the college I wanted to begin with. I'll be starting NYU this fall.

Oh and by the way, what are the chances that that third-choice school kid whose parents bribed him with moving to nyc after graduation will find a full time job in New York? My NYU degree with NYC internship experience will probably look a lot better to nyc employers than his midwest third choice school degree. The proof- my sister graduated from the best journalism school in the country (mizzou) and spent more than a year as an nyc intern with no full time job prospects. She moved back home after months of searching.

August 03 2010 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

New York City is the greatest city on earth. Like many cities it has its problems with chrime and you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.If your kid is not street smart this is not the place for them to go to school or any big city for that matter. If NYC is not an option financialy their are other choices. Philadelphia for one is a great college town with Penn,Drexel,Temple various art schools within the city limits,St Joe's and Vilanova on the out skirts. The rent is half of what NYC would be it's a cool city with lots to do and just a quick train ride from NYC if you want to visit.

August 02 2010 at 11:16 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

im sure it will be one of the happiest days of my life when i roll through the lincoln tunnel for the last time.

August 02 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

sorry bout the typo inquiry i meant, also i moved my kids out of here, like i said i would'nt want my dog here

August 02 2010 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i wont be here much longer there mid, 130 more hours worked and i'll be leaving this cesspool, with a pension that should be doubled for the inconvience of living here, thanks for your iquiry tho

August 02 2010 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My daughter graduated from NYU 17 years ago and the degree earned from a top notch school allowed her to get into a better position and pay all her loans off by the time she was 30. I truly believe that the education and degrees that she holds has helped her to have a wonderful career.

August 02 2010 at 8:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

ive been in nyc since 1986 less two years, my kids were born in nyc, i wouldn't let my dog go to school here, the place sucks, and everyone is after what money you have

August 02 2010 at 7:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dealerswild's comment

If it sucks so bad, why are you still there??

August 02 2010 at 8:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I lived in New York for the first 55 years of my life. New York The Cesspool of the nation is perhaps the most awful place to live on earth not to mention the most expensive. Our Dollar in New York City goes 1/2 as far as most other small cities in America. The scariest part of living in New York is that it is one of the most dangerous places to live on Earth. Many College kids live in drug infested neighborhoods in Brooklyn in order to find affordable housing. Riding the subway is like a game of Russian Roulette, never knowing which gang member will choose to make you their victim in order to satisfy the gang's order to find a victim as part of the initiation process. I would not send my kid to College in New York unless I had an armed escort to take him or her there every day.
If you really love your kid you will avoid New York City at all costs unless of course you keep them on campus their entire 4 years in College.
Just the thought about sending my kid to College in NYC loosens my bowels and sends a shiver up and down my spine. HONESTLY THIS IS NO JOKE.

August 02 2010 at 3:40 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Ron's comment

New York is the greatest city in the world. Some people just can't take the pace and the competition.

August 02 2010 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hey if your a boarder jumper you dont have to pay? if your of a culture who feels your owded from that trickle down crap do you have to pay? i know one thing for sure, if your a american born english speaking, family history goes back 200 plus years in america and your off color you got to pay fool.

August 02 2010 at 12:02 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cvdunbar's comment

It's "YOU'RE" , if you want to spell it correctly .And , it's "AN" American . I went to NYU , you boob . BTW , what did this post say ?

August 02 2010 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Frankly, there's so much increasing evidence that a degree from any, but the very top schools is really barely worth it. If you can get into Stanford or Columbia, you'll do well after graduation but for most, anything less just doesn't pay-off well. The country's awash with arts majors. As our high schools turn out barely educated people, a BA is now kind of what a high school degree used to be.

August 01 2010 at 11:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply