Great information being provided here. Understanding what career interests the kid has can be helpful. My son has interest in the finance/hedge fund world or strategic advisory - consulting. The top firms in these "career fields" have very specific lists of colleges they actively recruit from which greatly improves chances for internships and graduation opportunities. These firms pay top dollar which can allow a kid to pay off loan balances quickly. It was easy for me to justify paying extra 30k per year because of my sons earning potential. If he had interests in other career fields which wouldn't offer the earnings potential I would have encouraged less expensive schools where he could still play baseball.