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Just found out the high cost of technical school and need advice

November 10th, 2011 at 01:46 pm

A representative from a very reputable automotive school in PA came to talk to us about their school. We requested the visit because after an extensive research. We thought that this school will be the best fit for our DS#2. He will graduate from high school in June of 2012. It is clear that he has no intention of persuing a traditional post high school education and I feel that my job as a parent is to guide him and let him decide what he wants to do. After the presentation, of course, the representative gave us the rundown of how much the program will cost. Worst case scenario, tuition will cost close to $30K, not including room and board. Most of these programs cost that much money. We decided that we would go forward with the application process. As some of you know, we paid for DS#1 college tuition, which we estimated to cost close to $45K because my son never inccured room and board expenses. We intend to pay for DS#2 tuition also. Here is my question, Do we get student loans to cover the cost of this program or should we pay for it in full with the money we have in savings (tuition only)? We would pay for his living expenses on a month to month basis. With DS#1, tuition was paid every five months for 4 years. We do not have the same option with DS#2 since this program is only for 12 months. DS#2 is planning on getting a part-time job with the help of the job placement department at school. Assuming that by September of 2012 we have $90K in savings, that would leave us with $60K. Enough to cover about 10 months of a bare bones budget. Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

16 Responses to “Just found out the high cost of technical school and need advice”

  1. laura Says:


    Not being the parent of college-aged children, I can't offer much input. I do know that our community colleges do offer technical programs (HVAC, medical technology certificates, etc) - might that be an option? With all of our kids, we've pre-purchased community-college education for two years, because we figure some will move on to four-year colleges and those that don't can at least have training to pursue solid employment. Good luck on your decisions. Smile

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    If you are sure this school is the best option, I'd just pay cash. It seems you have the means to cover it. & frankly, the second the cash goes out, you can rebuild savings. It's not like it will be any length of time before you can build that back up again. I might put mortgage pre-payment goals on the backburner, in the interim. I don't see any reason why you would borrow the money.

    That said, I am wary of these tech schools and expensive educations. I am less wary because you are not going to go broke over it. I also think that people think their decisions through more carefully when they pay cash.

    So, why exactly are you thinking of borrowing the money? If you have the cash? I am just curious.

  3. NJDebbie Says:

    MonkeyMama, at first I did not want to deplete so much money from our savings account at once, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convince that we should just pay for it in cash. Paying interest does not make much sense. We still have to visit the facilities, but my research has revealed that this is more less the cost of these technical school.
    Laura, we went that route with DS#2 and we don't regreted, unfortunately our community college does not offer anything on this field. Frown

  4. baselle Says:

    How much is the son paying for this? I don't expect that he pays for everything, but if he paid for something, it gets some of his skin in the game. Does he want to go? Is this a way to get him out of the house? My fear is that its something that he doesn't care all that much about, and you are paying him "to find himself" (to use a dated phrase), well, you're paying him to stay lost.

  5. NJDebbie Says:

    Hi Baselle. My son has been a hands on person ever since he was a little boy. We are lucky that the high school he attends offers 3 years of auto shop classes and he is has taken all three years and has been the star student from the beginning. I took the time to reach out to his auto shop teacher and he believes that he has demonstrated natural skills and dedication. I don't expect him to pay for any of this tuition. I (we) paid for his brother's college tuition and it would not be fair. Luckily, both of my sons have shown me that they are willing to earn money whenever possible and save a lot of it. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and help him pursue this program. It's up to him to take the advantage of the opportunity we are giving him. If for any reason, he proves us that we've paid for him to "stay lost" sort of speak, then that's on him. I will only pay once. The second time around, he will be totally on his own. Meanwhile, this is a risk I'm willing to take. Your point is well taken, though. Thank you for your input.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    "this is more less the cost of these technical school."

    True - my point is just there could be other options outside technical school. Maybe not, but maybe so. The cost is usually pretty ridiculous, so if it were me I would rule out all other options, is all.

  7. gattaca Says:

    My nephew is in a program through a community college in Baltimore that is run by Toyota. He only pays for his books. He works for 3 weeks at a Toyota automotive shop and then three weeks in school. You may want to look to see if there is a Toyota program like that or if other automotive companies are doing the same thing.

  8. PNW Mom Says:

    I think you are doing the right thing. It sounds as though your son knows what he wants to do and if you paid for your other son, I think it is only fair you pay for ds2 if you have the means, which it certainly sounds like you do. From your previous posts, your sons sound like stellar young men and I think it is wonderful you are able to help them!

  9. littlegopher Says:

    Our second daughter is doing a vocational school, and we found the cost to be double of what it's costing our oldest for a year at her four-year state college. The program is 9 months long and only eligible for a year's worth financial aid. Both girls are taking all scholarships and grants offered. The girls each have small amounts (didn't take the full amounts offered) on student loans, and then we pay the balance. The college charges tuition per term, and the vocational school charges tuition monthly. Things may be tight at times, but the whole family is on board with the same goal in mind (there's two younger sisters with their own plans for after high school!)

    Exciting times for your son! Whatever way you decide, best wishes!!

  10. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm sorry your local community college doesn't have a program for him. It might be a good idea to look at community colleges elsewhere if he'll be living away from your home anyway. I know the price on our CC goes way up for out of state students, but it's got to be way better than $30K. And as gattaca said, auto-manufacturers support the program, giving them tools, up-to-date diagnostic equipment and even cars to practice on. The campus must have 60 donated cars at any given time, judgeing from what I see on the parking lot. Plus, at the CC, he could also take some business classes, in case he wants to be a manager, or open his own shop...If you save a lot on school, you might have enough left over to help him open his own shop. That would really send him off well.

  11. NJDebbie Says:

    tank cleaning NH, my son wants to go and no, we are not in hurry to get our children out of the house. My DS#1 is 21 years old and still lives with us. They can stay as long as they are doing something productive with their life.

  12. Jerry Says:

    As long as the program is reputable, then it's a good option. I have several good friends who learned similar trades (automotive/technical/etc.) in the military, and it can offer some insurance of great options afterward, but of course that route is not for everyone. I attended CC and served in the military, and now I'm finishing medical school... so you never know where the experience will lead!
    Jerry

  13. crazyliblady Says:

    I personally think the student attending school should be responsible for some part of the costs of attending school. Depending on how much he earns from his part time job, he may be able to at least comp his text books, school supplies, and have a little spending money for himself from him job. I personally would want to pay cash and avoid student loans or other kinds of loans. As long as you can immediately begin to replenish the fund and he is serious about finishing the program, there should be no problem.

  14. patientsaver Says:

    This sounds like it could be a great opportunity for your son, though I agree with basell and crazyliblady.
    It is a lot of money.

    Could you talk to any alumnae of the school and see how they liked it? Word of mouth always counts for a lot. Just a thought.

  15. crazyliblady Says:

    Even if you can afford it, apply for all the scholarships your son can qualify for. This may significantly cut the costs. Ask his guidance counselor and a librarian for hints on finding scholarships.

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