Matching For Med School

Patrick's oldest child was accepted to medical school, and tuition is $120,000. She has $40,000 left in college savings. She has a possible scholarship option. Dave gives Patrick some ideas.

QUESTION: Patrick in Fresno and his wife set aside college money for both of their daughters. The oldest was accepted to medical school, and tuition is $120,000 for a two-year program. She has $40,000 left in college savings. She has a possible scholarship option that will require two years in a program after graduation, but Patrick is looking for other options as well. Dave gives Patrick some ideas.

ANSWER: I don’t borrow money, and I don’t teach people to borrow money. I would certainly, as you said, be jumping on option 1. Certainly the $40,000 she has left—that one’s an easy one. You just throw that in the mix. The $80,000 difference is the problem. I think you challenge this young couple to work their tail ends off and to live on beans and rice, and maybe you match them. They put up $40,000 and you put up $40,000, but only if they do this with cash. I’m not going to put up $40,000 to match their borrowed $40,000. I’m not going to create debt. I think they can probably do that over a two-year period of time. I think a lot of hard work and absolutely no life—welcome to med school.

I would let the $40,000 you match them go. You’ve got the money. The $80,000 is a bit of a strain in your situation, but $40,000 I think you could recover from handily. Of course, now you’re on the hook for another $40,000 to the other kid, in a sense. Just go ahead and start planting seeds in everybody’s heads that just because you got into med school doesn’t mean we write checks. Maybe we work out something where we mix this up and have some kind of a match scenario. And it doesn’t have to be a one-for-one match. It could be a half-for-one match. In other words, they come up with $60,000 and you put in $20,000. That’s $30,000 a year they’ve got to come up with for two years. She’s going to work her tail end off, and her husband is too. The only thing I’m matching is cash. I’m not matching borrowed money. That’s how I’d do it.

I would help in your situation. I think some help is in order. She’s going to med school. That’s pretty neat.