Hey all, great news. The track coach at MIT offered me a spot on the team and said he would officially support my application through admissions. Not to say that I'm a lock for MIT now, but he did say more than half of all athletes get in, and I have stats that are already above the middle 50th percentile of MIT admits.
The catch is, I don't know how my family could afford MIT. My parents have a very nice income (180+), but there's no way 45-60 of the could come out that for my education. What alternative sources of financial aid are out there?
MIT’s “sticker price” should not be a factor in your decision to apply or enroll here. The percentage of our students receiving financial aid is extraordinarily high – 90% for undergraduates and approximately 86% for graduate and professional students
Your parents' annual income puts your family in the top 2% income group in the United States, so my guess is that you will not qualify for any financial aid at a top-tier university. You'll probably receive merit offers from lower-tier schools, though. It's time for a serious conversation with your parents about what they are willing to pay for your college education.
^ I was using older census data -- here's a nifty online calculator from the WSJ that shows the percentage rankings of any income level: What Percent Are You? - Real Time Economics - WSJ. An income of 180,000 falls in the top 7%, according to this instrument.
Whether a family will receive any scholarship or grant offers will depend on the number of children and other factors in the financial profile, which is why it's useful to use a university's financial aid calculator to get a sense of the projected cost of college. Every year on the Parents' board in CollegeConfidential there are posts from heartbroken students accepted to their dream schools whose families have refused to pay the full tuition. In fact, I seem to recall a post like that on this board last year. For this reason, I think it's important for both students and parents to understand the potential costs early in the application process. MIT is generous with its financial aid, but it doesn't always pay for everything, and it doesn't always pay for everyone. It was a shock to our family to learn we'd have to pay full freight, but it helped to know this before the tube landed on the front porch.
Also, family income does not tell the whole tale. The way that need-based financial aid works at any of the top schools is basically:
1) Figure out how much the family can afford to pay
2) Take all of that
3) Give the rest in the form of aid.
The key is that income alone does not always tell how much the family can afford to pay. It does not for example take into account that there may be currently 3 students in the family going to universities, that granny is in a hospital bed, in the front room attached to machines that go bing, and that the bulk of the income is attached by the court due to a lawsuit, and never actually reaches the family. All of these are extreme examples of course, but the key to understand here is that MIT (or Harvard, or Stanford, etc.) will take ALL that they determine that the family can afford to pay.
Now there are different ways to calculate that, some schools exclude for example, the value of the families primary home in asset calculations, other do not. Some have a higher expectation of student summer earnings than others. You will not always get comparable aid packages from comparable institutions. You used to. Once upon a time, the schools did try to normalise this stuff, but that is not true any more.
Two points. First, as to athletic recruitment. IIRC, the acceptance rate for recruited athletes for the class of 2016 was about a third, not half, and almost all recruited athletes fall within the acceptance parameters.
Second, when MIT says they offer generous financial aid, it's meant in the sense that MIT thinks it's generous that they offer any aid at all. And if you try to get financial aid to be more reasonable, you will be told in a kind, empathetic voice to take a hike.
But that's not the end of it. At every turn, there are variable costs to be aware of, such as being required to purchase Massachusetts health insurance if your insurance fails to meet their requirements, or being assigned to a single room even though you requested every option but a single.
So expect the unexpected (and unpleasant), as I've come to learn.
That's funny. Doubles are definitely not sought-after. Keep in mind that if your son or daughter is an incoming freshman, the room they've been assigned is very temporary. It can and most likely will change, depending on what they want at the end of orientation. It you want a double, it's very easy to get a double, assuming you live in a dorm that has lots of doubles (not MacGregor).