In the real estate market they talk about whether your house has "curb appeal." The idea is that if it looks good from the outside then it will be an easier sell. The way I've heard students talk about attending a "CUNY school" suggests by both their voice and look, that QC does not have good enough curb appeal. Yet, there are so many similar private colleges that do have curb appeal. I hope that going into debt to attend college is not somehow used a signal that the college must be worth it. Frankly speaking, avoiding student debt or having a much smaller amount than your friends at private colleges is a good thing Your future holds items of importance that are expensive, so if you can step into your future with less debt consider yourself lucky. I know from my own experience and those of countless others that you can make your CUNY degree pay off handsomely. But you need to keep your blinders on to the naysayers. Ignore the students who do not care about their classes. Stay focused, never talk your college down, and keep your eye on the prize. A good future is guaranteed to no one, but a CUNY school will not subtract from your chances unless you let it.