This whole college subject has been a major topic in our household these last couple of months. Sarah, our daughter, was on her way to Michigan State in the Fall, but, after much thought and many discussions, she is now heading to Mid Michigan Community College. She wanted to re-route herself and attend Central Michigan in the Fall, where she had been offered a pretty nice scholarship package, but by the time she made up her mind to do so, they were full. So, we began discussing other alternatives and looked into Mid Michigan. After meeting with an admissions counselor there, Sarah was convinced that this was the way to go. Her desire is to be a high school teacher (and basketball coach) and she can definitely get there this way, as Mid and CMU have a two-year program already in place, the completion of which will land her at CMU as a Junior with an Associate's Degree in hand and on pace to graduate with the very same B.A. that everyone else will receive two years later. The bonus is that by going to Mid, she already has 8 credits earned from AP classes (something she wouldn't have going to MSU or CMU - I think CMU would have given her 3 credits, but none at MSU) and she can get through these two years with minimal debt, as she is going to live at home (at least for the first year) and will be able to keep working at her current place of employment to cover much of the cost.
I think she's made a very wise decision here. As I've told her countless times, it doesn't matter how she gets that B.A. in her hands, only that she does. I do wish she could have gone to MSU as she wanted to (mainly so that I could have lived vicariously through her :), but the economics to do so just aren't there, and she would have ended up with a mountain-load of debt just like her poor parish pastor dad has.
So, Mid Michigan it is. She already has her first semester paid, her schedule in hand, and all her books ordered. She's ready to go! Had she stuck with MSU, she would have been ready to go by this point, too, the difference being that she would have $9,500 in student loan debt and probably an additional $5,000 in personal loan debt, which still would have left us with the task of coming up with another $5,000 - and all of that just for her first year. She will get through her first full year of Mid completely debt-free, and maybe the second - we'll see. Then, she'll only have to contend with two years of student loan debt at CMU, which will be manageable even on a teacher's salary when she graduates. Yeah, I definitely think this was a very wise decision! Plus, I get to keep my eye on her for a bit longer (but, don't tell her I said that! :)