Where will Malia Obama go to college? President Barack Obama walks with his daughter Malia on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington toward Marine One. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Where will Malia Obama go to college?
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Michelle Obama's message for high school seniors fretting about their college prospects is simple.
 
Do your research. Visit college campuses. Sit in on classes. Talk to professors, graduates and students. In the end, picking a college "is a very individual decision."
 
The first lady could just as well have been talking to her older daughter, Malia, who is expected to head off to college next fall with the Class of 2020.
 
The 17-year-old is among U.S. high school seniors who are nervously taking standardized tests, completing college admissions applications, filling out financial aid forms and writing personal essays - all on deadline. Then they get to spend a few months waiting to find out if they got into their dream school.
 
Malia has some advantages, though. What school would turn away a president's daughter?
 
She also doesn't have to worry about how to pay for her college education, unlike many of the students President Barack Obama and his wife regularly encourage to pursue post-high school education.
 
Malia has visited at least a dozen public and private schools, mostly on the East Coast. Among them are six of the eight Ivies and a few with Obama family ties.
 
Dad is a 1983 graduate of Columbia. Mom graduated from Princeton in 1985. Malia's cousin, Leslie Robinson, is a sophomore forward on Princeton's women's basketball team. The president and first lady earned their law degrees at Harvard.
 
The other stops on her college tour: the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; New York University; the University of Pennsylvania; Barnard; Tufts; Brown; Yale and Wesleyan.
 
The bill for tuition (and fees, in some cases) alone at these universities costs between $40,000 and $50,000 for the current academic year. Tack on room and board, books, other fees and expenses and the total tab for Malia's undergraduate degree could top one-quarter of a million dollars for the four years.
 
It shouldn't surprise her parents, though. They've paid hefty tuition bills for the past seven years to send Malia, and her younger sister, Sasha, 14, to the exclusive Sidwell Friends School. Tuition at the private school in Washington is $37,750 per student this year.
 
The Obamas planned ahead for their daughters' college educations. Like millions of families, the Obamas have been investing money in "529" college savings plans (which are named after a section in federal tax law). The couple has four of the tax-free savings accounts, each valued at between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the president's financial disclosure forms.
 
Mrs. Obama has said Malia wants to be a filmmaker, and NYU has the respected Tisch School of the Arts, which counts directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee among its alumni.
 
Malia spent last summer in New York City interning on the set of HBO's "Girls," the comedy-drama starring Lena Dunham. She decamped to California in the summer of 2014 to work as a production assistant on "Extant," a CBS sci-fi drama featuring Halle Berry.
 
Mrs. Obama recently disclosed that Malia has also done several internships at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington.
 
Malia's travels across the U.S. and around the world with her parents could inform her personal essays. Malia (and her sister) have visited Europe, Africa and Asia. They've met two popes, Queen Elizabeth and American civil rights leaders during this year's 50th anniversary commemoration in Selma, Alabama.
 
President Obama was in Malia's room the day she started her senior year of high school and says she told him it was probably the last time he'll ever send her off for a first day of school.
 
"I had to look away. I didn't want to just be such a crybaby," he said in September in Michigan while pushing for free community college. "It makes no sense. Michelle and I are way too young to have daughters who are both almost in college now. So as a parent, I was a little freaked out."
 
Through her "Reach Higher" initiative, Mrs. Obama encourages students to attend college or technical school after high school. During a panel discussion in September at Howard County Community College near Baltimore, students sought her advice on everything from how to figure out which school is best for them to what tips she's giving her daughters.
 
"We are talking about this in my household every night, every night. And there's really no magic formula," the first lady said. "It is a very individual decision."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why isn't Malia worried about college costs?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (61)
  • hannahc14-hor
    12/02/2015 - 05:10 p.m.

    I think that in this article about Malia (the President's daugter)picking a college is informative. I think this because it gives us solid facts about what colleges that Malia wants to go to in the future.I learned that the president's oldest daughter wants to be a filmmaker and that she has decided to do something different than her parents did.I also like what Michelle Obama said about sitting in on college classes and talking to others who have or did attend the college

  • robertk-nar
    12/02/2015 - 06:22 p.m.

    she should do what she wants to do and she will git in the school she wants because every school wants an Obama in them!

  • pipern-2-bar
    12/02/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    Malia does not have to worry about the costs of college because obviously her dad is the president.Also,according to Paragraph 6,"She also doesn't have to worry about how to pay for her college education, unlike many of the students President Barack Obama and his wife regularly encourage to pursue post-high school education." Malia attends Sidewell Friends School which costs $37,750 per year. I think it would be really cool to attend school without having to worry about the price. I like this article because it shows that even the President of the United States has feelings about his daughter going to college when he almost starts to cry about her Senior year.

  • karliw-1-bar
    12/02/2015 - 09:45 p.m.

    Malia Obama is not worried about college costs. When your Dad's the President of the United States, why would you be ? When your dad is the one of the most respected men on the face of the Earth, you could easily have the pick of the litter when it comes to colleges. And on top of her all-powerful family dominating the nation, her parents have a foolproof plan for Malia and her little sister, Sasha. The Obamas have invested in a "529" college saving plan, (named after the section in federal tax law), like most of the millions of American families who want to send their children to high school. The President and First Lady have four of the tax-free savings accounts, specially dedicated for their daughters education. Each tax free savings account is economically valued at between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the president's financial disclosure forms. So, in that case, Malia Obama will more than likely go to the college.

  • carolinem-ada
    12/03/2015 - 11:07 a.m.

    Malia is not worried about the college cost because her parents have wealth. Also who would turn down the presidents daughter?

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    12/03/2015 - 08:50 p.m.

    I think that it might be very difficult for first lady and president Barack Obama to find a college for one of their daughters Malia in the next 5 years later. The colleges might have been picked because they might have been planning Malia a college that they had picked for her in the year 2020 because if she had went to college while undergraduate, the fee will cost more. I think the reason why they wanted to pick a college early is because they don't want to waste time if Malia was at the age where she is supposed go to collage.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    12/03/2015 - 09:26 p.m.

    I think it is not fair for us because if we don't even know what to do for college and if we are the president's daughter or son then the college principal will still let us in because we are the president's daughter or son. I think we shouldn't do that. I think the principals shouldn't do that. If I were the principal I won't do that. I would accept the smart people.

  • jasminec-6-bar
    12/04/2015 - 12:58 a.m.

    Malia is not worried about college costs because of the fact that her father is the president of the United States and the current salary of the president is $400,000, the president also has an annual expense account so he basically isn't paying a lot for his lifestyle and is probably saving most of his salary, and they have a 529 college savings plan so I would think that they would not be worried about the cost of college.
    I did not find this article extremely interesting because of the fact that Malia's father is president and her parents both graduated from ivies, so the chances of her going to one of the best colleges in the country (which really narrows it down) is very high.

  • ericw-6-bar
    12/04/2015 - 10:31 a.m.

    Malia isn't worrying about college costs because her parents have been saving money and they obviously get quite a lot. She still has to compete with some other students because it would not be fair for a hard worker to lose their college spot from a presidents daughter for that sole reason.

  • mckenahp-hor
    12/04/2015 - 11:08 a.m.

    I think the author's purpose for writing this article is to inform the reader about Malia going to college. I have learned how expensive college funds are and that Malia is getting old enough to go to college. I don't agree that any school will take in Malia, because that would not be fair to take her just because who her father is and that shouldn't happen.

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