My son (act 31) is having trouble choosing his mechanical engineering college. He has been accepted by Michigan State at Ann Arbor (and offered a scholastic scholarship of $6000 + international study scholarship of $5000), Rose Hulman, and expects to be accepted by Purdue. (He has not applied to University of Illinois as they require that you choose your specialty upfront, and it's very difficult to change from one field of engineering to another.) He has also been accepted by Northern Illinois University. NIU is significantly cheaper than the other schools. The question - is the large student loan debt he would have to take on to go to the more prestigious schools really worth it? In the long run, if he was to go to NIU and do coop/internship, would he be at a significant disadvantage considering the significant savings in tuition, etc.? He doesn't want to go deeply into debt, but at the same time he doesn't want to cheapskate himself out of a good career start. Any thoughts?