I am a senior in high school and having a hard time deciding where I want to go for college. I will definitely pursue math as I love the subject. I've done some research and OSU seems like a very good school for undergraduate math. But the problem is that it's very expensive. My parents have put away a lot of money into my college fund though so if i were to attend OSU for 4 years it would put me about 40000 dollars in debt.

My question is would it be smart and doable to go to University of Cincinnati (a local college I can commute to) for two years or so and then transfer to Ohio State? That would put me closer to 15 thousand in debt after college. I also really want to go to grad school and go after my phd in the subject but that would put me so in debt afterwards that I dont know that that would be a good idea.

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    go after my phd in the subject but that would put me so in debt afterwards --- Nearly every math graduate student (U.S. citizen, at U.S. math Ph.D. granting department) is provided sufficient money (T.A. work, maybe a fellowship not requiring T.A. work, etc.) so that you should not have to incur any more debt in graduate school, at least not unless you've been out of school a while and you're used to full-time work salary (paying off a house mortgage, a car, etc.) and/or have a family to support or something similar. – Dave L Renfro Jan 30 at 11:53
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    Note that Ohio State University, Oklahoma State University, and Oregon State University are all abbreviated OSU. – Jon Custer Jan 30 at 13:34
  • One thing to consider is your income as a phd student would be between 25k and 35k for 5 to 6 years until you finish it. Would you be able to pay your debt with that sort of income? – Boaty Mcboatface Jan 31 at 18:52
  • Without being familiar with these particular programs, I strongly suspect it's doable. Smart is more difficult to quantify -- assuming your math is correct, saving $25K is a strong argument for this plan. But there are other considerations (in both directions) -- living at home for 2 years and then moving to a new campus as a junior would be really rough for some people. As Dave said, your PhD shouldn't require further debt (and you'll be able to defer payments on your student loans) - but still, it's a lot to (eventually) repay – cag51 Feb 1 at 1:09
  • Be aware that when you transfer, only some of the courses you took will be considered equivalent and eligible for credit. After two years, there's a good chance that you'll end up spending an extra year getting enough credits for the degree at the new university. Take that extra year into account when calculating expenses (including one year less income in your eventual career). If you do go this route, first ask OSU which courses they do and do not count as equivalent, and make sure you take the appropriate ones at the first university. – Ray Butterworth Feb 1 at 14:27

Since you have two specific places in mind, it would be best if you go talk to them. Ask U Cincinnati about their success in transferring students to OSU.

But you should also visit OSU and talk to their admissions people about what the real cost to you would be. You seem to be assuming things. Perhaps there are scholarships that would reduce the cost. Perhaps there is student employment that would help. But you won't know that unless you ask. And while you are there, ask them about the possibility of transfer in later.

Get all the facts before you jump.

It is also a good idea to visit any university before committing several years of your life to attending there.

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