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This is your kid's life we're talking about and, like it or not, for the rest of his life he'll be judged by where he went to school, who he met there, and what he did. If he has a shot to go to a top school, money should be pretty far down on the list of the things that stop him especially if there are scholarships involved.

If he wants to go to a top private school you should make sure he goes there. The deciding factor should not be cost but how good the school is. I think your idea of him covering the extra expenses with loans is a good idea to get him thinking about money, but with near-perfect SATs it will be a big mistake if he goes to an inferior school to save some money -- those funds can be recovered later in life with a better job and higher life satisfaction.

Top schools these days are more and more competitive and harder to get into. Most importantly, it's very expensive to buy your way into them. You should be careful about exchanging such a privilege for something as common as money.

Talk to financial aid. They are usually very, very good about putting together packages that allow you to send your kid to a good school at minimum cost.
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