Though recognize that these data are about the Class of 2013, and so pretty out of date. Many of the schools at the top (worst?) of that list have made numerous and significant investments to avoid being on future lists. It would be interesting to see updated data.

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A 10% shift from what? There’s a huge overlap between families who “need full aid” and families who are Pell grant eligible.

Having 100% of scholarship recipients be Pell eligible versus having 0% be Pell eligible would mean a school would only need 90% of the total scholarship dollars available to support the students (as compared to the second situation). As I said, these are unrealistic extremes; I’m just seeking to suggest that while $8k per student per year for Pell isn’t a lot compared to sticker price, from the school’s perspective it is not inconsequential as a strategy.

Well, all I can say is, good luck finding an equal number of “full need students” who aren’t also Pell grant recipients. They would have to all be from overseas.

Just to be clear, I’m not so concerned about the sheer number of wealthy students but how it affects the culture. Meaning are the wealthier students at these schools known for flaunting their wealth or does it restrict social opportunities very much for students with lower budgets?

I am eligible for a pell grant but because my parents are not together(so different forms for custodial and non parents(fed aid only takes info from custodial parent but css both)) I would have to pay about 20k (before work study/loans) per year at a school like Midd (or the other nescacs)

Regarding last post, my expected contribution at these schools should be affordable.

It’s great that you are figuring this out.

If you qualify for Pell based on FAFSA and your custodial parent’s income/financials, you should still be able to apply for Questbridge, even though your NCP parent will have to fill out their CSS Profile. Questbridge app is a bit involved and competitive.

Funny, I was just going to ask if you parents can afford the $20K…it’s great they can.

And as you said if you take the student loans ($5.5K first year, then $6.5K/$7.5K/$7.5K for a max undergrad total of $27K) and get work study of say $1K-$3K per year, they would pay less than the $20K.

FYI, sometimes you can get non-work study jobs and make more money than in a work-study job (which is subsidized by the Fed govt). For example, sometimes you can get a job off campus (if there are close options that you can walk too), or babysit in the community, or get a bartending job when you are 21…all can be lucrative!

I’m not sure how need aware would affect admissions, but Colby is supposed to have very good financial aid.

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Lot of good information in this post, but just in the interests of accuracy, I want to point out that in addition to Tufts, Wesleyan is a NESCAC which is also larger than Middlebury. I think that it is also the only NESCAC besides Tufts which offers graduate study in CS, some of which may be open to undergrads.


My son is at Colby. He hasn’t talked about students flaunting wealth at all, but he’s not the most observant :slight_smile: . In theory I’m guessing cars are one easy way to see differences, but at least in Waterville there aren’t really places to go. So everyone is on campus (or just in town) all the time. Maybe in places with easier access to cities, off campus housing, or more expensive restaurants present more opportunity for observable differences.

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Note the Colby and Waterville make for a large contrast in SES. Median household income in Waterville is under $40k, while the median Colby student probably had parents with income at least 5 times as much (57% paying list price).

I’ve looked into questbridge before and it seems though I may qualify as a finalist most of the partner schools will only match you if you have zero EFC and they use CSS(with NCP info)

Thanks for letting me know but for other reasons I don’t really like and probably wouldn’t choose Wesleyan

I think that makes a lot of sense. As a former kid from Brooklyn, I can definitely see the appeal of the smaller, snowier, more distant New England colleges. Another reason to move Hamilton up on your list.


Tufts is the only NESCAC with ready access to a big city. There’s a stop of the T (translate: subway) within walking distance and there’s some question whether this affects the weekend atmosphere of the college/university.

All the others exist in fairly distinct bubbles where there is a symbiotic relationship between a small campus community and host towns of varying sizes and degrees of economic, racial and ethnic diversity. Almost without exception, there are few opportunities for conspicuous consumption.

That being said, that doesn’t mean all is peaches and cream. How can it be when there are such yawning income gaps between the kids who can afford to pay full-freight and the kids who require full-need in order to attend? Add the fact that we are living at a time in history when Americans have never been more stratified by location and class. Currently, there are (or, were) two CC threads on this very subject: Not the kid I dropped off - Parents Forum - College Confidential Forums and, UPenn professor asks students what they thought the average American worker makes in a year - Parents Forum - College Confidential Forums

People always come away from these places with stories about all the exotic places some of these kids spend vacations. That’s not new and TBH, I never found it of particular interest. What’s new is the degree to which NESCAC is now committed to recruiting and retaining kids who truly have needs above and beyond the usual tuition and books that the average college bound student has to contend with. Things like, where to stay, if they cannot afford airfare back home during major holidays; how to compete for valuable - but, unpaid - internships; how do they eat, if they run out of points on their meal plan? Stuff like that.

Don’t get me wrong. Kids are kids, no matter how much money their parents make. And, I think there is something mutually beneficial about having places where Americans from all backgrounds can get together and learn about each other. But, be prepared for speed bumps.


@luckgirl, have you visited any of these schools, or do you plan to? Even though most of these schools are more or less equal academically, you may feel more personally connected to some than others (people, campus, nearby town… the intangible vibe). Spring and summer would be great time to plan some in-person tours of these schools. Make sure you book a guided visit in advance. Admission info sessions on Zoom are useful but are no substitute for being there in person.

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This takes me back to a Roth meeting in Seattle where he shared a story about a conversation he was having with students over dinner at the President’s house. Three kids, full school support, were complaining a bit that they couldn’t afford to fly home for Thanksgiving (2 I think on the west coast) and they felt left out. He replied, “ok, I can fly you back home for break, but then one of you won’t be here.”

Maybe after reaching $1.65 billion and counting, that’s no longer the case. But it raises a point about how we categorize people. We are financially secure and, other than some private (non-Wes) scholarships we were full pay. We didn’t fly ours 3,000 miles back home for Thanksgiving. We may have done it once and I kind of suggested to her, “you need to go old school and find a friend in Boston and stay with her.” And that’s exactly what happened, and the other one in the NE didn’t need the nudge.

We had a great and balanced experience at both schools. Both kids finally internalized their good fortune for having their UG paid with no debt and for having the other nice things, a car, spending money and ability to go out with friends to eat dinner, nice laptops, etc.

They also attended school with a lot of very wealthy kids, including some from nationally prominent families / famous parents. All of the wealthy kids in my kids’ orbit were down to earth, friendly, generous and easy to get along with. Some of the parents are friends to this day. There was one parent who is a stereotypical Westport Hedge Fundie who really needs someone to kick his behind for a behavioral reset. But he was far and away the exception to the rule. He was also like 5’6", so that probably had something to do with it.

Anyway, for us there was sufficient diversity. My kids never complained really all that much, although the one had a bit of a reaction to the prevailing intense and sometimes competitive northeastern academic culture that sometimes happens with kids from west coast. The other one never blinked an eye.

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To return to the original question about CS at NESCAC, the earlier posts are right — these schools will not have the same level of depth across a wide array of topics as a larger school. Each will have areas of specialty largely driven by 1-2 faculty — Colby is strong in visual media and data analysis, while the AI has been as much around ethics as tech, but is getting stronger. But even in those areas, I recognize that the depth isn’t what it would be at many schools. So I’d suggest that if you have domains within CS that appeal to you, be particularly careful to make sure that there is some academic depth in those areas.

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I just spit my coffee.

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