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Can a Middle Class Person go to an Ivy League School?

muddaof2muddaof2 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
edited December 2008 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
The financial aid package just barely meets the FAFSA EFC which is way beyond affordable for us. I will call the F.A. office and plead our case and see what happens. But if the Ivies only meet EFC, how do middle class people afford to pay for an Ivy League school?

My S has been awarded merit aid at some highly-regarded non-Ivies - is this where everyone in our position ends up? He is a National Merit Finalist and Scholar, does this have any pull in getting more aid at an Ivy?

I'd like to be able to keep the Ivies he was accepted to in play, but it does not look possible. Any suggestions?
Post edited by muddaof2 on

Replies to: Can a Middle Class Person go to an Ivy League School?

  • DSharCDSharC Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Yes, they can be affordable! I am currently enrolled at UPENN and paying tons less than my fafsa EFC. My suggestion would be to do exactly what you said and call the Financial Aid Office. I am considered "middle class" and Penn became very affordable for me. I would try to explain your entire situation because financial situations can be very different even for people making the same income.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,839 Senior Member
    >>is this where everyone in our position ends up? >>

    "ending up" at a good school where your financial need is met is not the worst thing in the world. You are making it sound like the Ivy League is the only place that is not "ending up". Re: EFC...I will venture here that many many folks feel their EFC is more than they want to or can spend on college costs. This is especially true for the middle income families. If you truly want the Ivies for your student, and the EFC is what it is...than try to figure out a way to make it work for your family.
  • passionflower8passionflower8 Registered User Posts: 394 Member
    it depends on what you consider middle class, the cost of living in your area, and whatever expenses your family finds yourself with. i foudn that my schools didn't meet my college board profile estimate, ie they gave me less htan i expected. however, if you read my other threads you may not consider me middle class, but trust me, i will be significantly in debt upon graduation despite getting a 16k or full grant to need merit based scholarship and I'm praying my parents are approved for loans (due to the fact they are heavily indebted anyway). in my situation i got accepted to a few quite prestigious schools (i didnt apply to any ivies tho)
    this all being said, i feel it is worthwhile for me to go into debt so i don't have to go into a community college or rutgers, both totally opposite of the small, intimate, learning environment i wanted (basically i knew i wanted an lib arts college). and I really like Lafayette the college that is giving me its top scholarship. so i know lafayette is not an ivy (although the quality of education appears to be quite high if you ask me or you look at its grad shcool placement) but i will find a way to get to an expensive private college.

    anyway, good luck and i hope you have better packages than i am faced with.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,882 Super Moderator
    But if the Ivies only meet EFC, how do middle class people afford to pay for an Ivy League school?

    All of the ivies meet 100% demonstrated need.

    Cost of attendance - EFC (expected family contribution - what the family pays) = demonstrated need. Keep in mind that your FAFSA EFC may not be your actual EFC because the FAFSA simply qualifies you for federal aid (pell grants, subsidized/unsubsidized stafford loans, perkins loans. etc.) as each school requests either the CSS profile or their own FA form.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 24,405 Senior Member
    First, conduct a thorough review of the Profile to make sure you completed everything correctly and did not overstate any items. Do you have any unusual situations, such as high unreimbursed medical expenses, or caring for your elderly parents? If so, let the colleges know.

    as sybbie notes, the efc is what your family is expected to contribute. Schools that meet 100% of need (as calculated by THEM), meet the rest of COA.
  • sryrstresssryrstress Registered User Posts: 2,357 Senior Member
    At schools that meet 100% of need, is it typical that they also have a student summer earnings portion and student self-help portion? Yale's was $6200 and will increase for the class of 2011. Even if the school says the family's contribution=EFC, these student portions must be added back to calculate the total true cost to the family.
  • bluejaybluejay Registered User Posts: 915 Member
    Meeting 100% of demonstrated need has become quite clear to us with an Ivy package. I have no problem paying the EFC as determined by the Profile and the school's formula whatever that may be. Well, actually I do but I can deal with it. I also think that a Stafford loan of 3500 plus workstudy is not out of line in the package. What I do have a problem with is the additional $7000 in loans.
  • simbasimba Registered User Posts: 6,092 Senior Member
    "But if the Ivies only meet EFC, how do middle class people afford to pay for an Ivy League school?"

    There are several ways:

    1. Change your life style - live as frugally as you can(e.g. not change cars, less eating out, getting rid of cable, cell phones and lattes, drive less). Any middle class person can very easily cut down the expenses by 10% without changing the lifestyle by much.
    2. Postpone your retirement.
    3. Tap in to your assets fixed or liquid.
    4. Get loans
    5. Have a non-working spouse? - send him/her to work.
    6. Make the kid earn few thousand dollars.

    I think many times the barrier is psychological. Look at it this way. Let us suppose your kid was not smart. Would you still have paid for his/her college eduation at a state college?

    If the answer is yes than all you are looking is the gap between your EFC and the cost of the state college.

    Once the kid is in college you can easily save 3-4k/yr. About 2-3 k in your child's living expenses and 1k from uncle sam even if you don't qualify for tuition tax credit or life time learning credit. If you do, it could be more.
  • EMM1EMM1 Registered User Posts: 2,583 Senior Member

    First, congratulations. You obviously have a very accomplished son.

    I basically agree with thumper1 and simba--you have to set your priorities. However, I would urge you to consider whether it is really that important for S to attend an Ivy. As an NMF, he can get a full, DI athletic quality ride in the honors programs at some fine state schools (although at this point, he'd probably need to do a gap year, but I'm not sure). Think about it--mightn't both you and he be better off if he did that and you set up a trust fund for him with half the money that you saved? (I know, that is a very unCC way of looking at things).
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 24,405 Senior Member
    to follow emm's line of thinking....there are also many fine private schools like USC which give big tuition discounts to NMFs.
  • MizoMizo Registered User Posts: 559 Member
    It is doable if you have savings set aside for your child's college education which approximates your EFC. If you are doing it totally out of current income then it may be a problem to cover current living expenses and your EFC without a lot of parent debt. I think the Ivies and other schools which meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need expect you to meet your EFC from savings, current income and parent loans.
  • fftdfftd Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    We are considered middle class and princeton will cost us no more than our (PA) state school.
  • bluejaybluejay Registered User Posts: 915 Member
    Again, I believe we should pay the EFC, and the student should borrow the maximum Stafford each year and take advantage of the work study component. What I have trouble with is the notion of loans in addition to that.
  • NervesOfJellyNervesOfJelly - Posts: 235 Junior Member
    Really, no, it is near impossible for mid class to afford ivies. ppl like us are too rich for FAFSA but to poor for 100% tuition. Screw the ivies with their expensive tuitions...goto a mid-top tier school and get the same job, learn the same amount, and pay a lot less than those rich kids.
  • AlhambraAlhambra . Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Sadly, your economic reductionist analysis of class lacks both understanding and depth.
This discussion has been closed.