My name is Edgardo or Ed, I'm 22 years old from Puerto Rico. I've studied everything from Biology to Psychology and Anthropology but Baking has been my real true passion. I transferred to Johnson & Wales (Providence) to do a bachelors in either Baking and Pastry or Baking and Pastry/FSM. I love my classes, I love the kitchen, I finally feel like I found "my" thing. But, JWU is really far away (12hr trip, 2 planes) from where I live, I have no friends or family over there, I stay in dorms and it's really expensive at 40,000$-50,000$ a year without counting plane tickets and luggage and necessities( I was just there for 1 trimester and had to come back home due to health issues) I had surgery and I'm better now so I had plan to return but another offer opened up. I spoke with my grandparents ( I don't have a mother or father) and they offered me and apartment they would pay and a car already paid off in Orlando,Florida. I thought about it, and it sounds great, I'm blessed enough to have the opportunity to have my own place and car while I attend college, which means I could also get a job since I couldn't in Providence due to me living so far and having to come to Puerto Rico every 3 months and I also have friends and family in Orlando. I called a very good friend and she told me she could get me a job at Universal Studios while I study, which is great because I thought, once I'm done I can transfer to a restaurant or bakery inside the park and work my way up from there. I started looking for colleges and I found that Valencia college in Orlando has a Baking program and then they would transfer me to UCF to finish up with FSM. Since I will be a Florida resident Valencia would price at about 3,000-5000$ which is extremely cheaper than JWU. Sadly, my grandparents can only give me all that in Orlando. It's tempting for me to take the Orlando offer because I would be comfortable and it would be a great start to my life.
My concern and why I'm writing here is because I'm looking for advice. I understand that JWU is expensive but I hear they have a great reputation in the industry and that they would open many doors for me in life. That with the job I'll get from graduating there the debt wouldn't be much of a burden. But Valencia is much cheaper, I'll have a job with my own place and car and I'll be 2hrs from home to see my grandparents if they have an emergency or something. I've heard many people say that in this industry it's more about what you put into it than the degree. I would love to receive some feedback about which program is worth it since I have no knowledge of the working kitchen industry.
Thanks in advance!