redcrimblue - I stand by my facts too. It depends on the situation - generalizations are useless. The financial aid story changes when you get to 100-125K or more. Read: No aid dollars. Probably sounds like LOTS of money - but remember - schools don't take into account geographic location. And if you're living near NYC or many other large cities - the cost of living is astronomical. I'm not talking about parents who tool around in luxury cars and live in big box mansions. A tiny old cape cod can cost in excess of a half-million in these parts. So yes, it IS hard to handle a 200k Ivy bill, especially with multiple kids. And yes, the state school is a lot cheaper. Many kids are forced to choose SUNY Albany, Buffalo or Bing or go into big debt - even those that have parents that make good money. I'd say it's the poor/ lower middle class and the rich who have the best choices. Making 100K in NYC - NOT rich.
DO agree that the landscape is changing though. It's a joke that Ivies don't give merit aid. They don't like losing kids to Vanderbilt, Duke and state honors programs so they felt they needed to do something. It's not across the board though from what I have seen. In any case, my definition of filthy rich doesn't include those who make 150- 200K in a major metro area (although that's certainly comfortable). Cost of housing and high taxes can eat away at that income pretty fast - especially for larger families. It's all relative...
<p>Well, I'll put it to you this way, guys. The Ivies in fact DO give SUBSTANTIAL merit aid. It's just that that aid comes in the form of PhD fellowships, which are usually handed out regardless of how much money you or your family has.</p>
<p>I'll give you some cases in point. I know quite a few Harvard doctoral students who either come from extremely wealthy families themselves, or who have become filthy rich by themselves, who are nonetheless still getting full fellowships from Harvard anyway - and in fact, FAR HIGHER than the fellowship money they got from other schools they applied to. A few guys said that the money they were getting from Harvard was about 33% more than the money they were offered from Berkeley, and the Harvard money was in the form of pure fellowships, whereas the Berkeley money was in the form of TA/RA-ships. But they didn't really care about the money anyway, as their families were quite rich. It was just a "cherry on top".</p>
<p>Furthermore, certain Harvard departments that shall remain unnamed don't reduce your fellowship money even if you get outside scholarships or take on additional TA/RA-ships. I know some Harvard doctoral students who I am convinced are making over 100k just a year, while being students, when you factor in their Harvard fellowships, their outside fellowship money (NSF, Soros, Fulbright, etc.) as well as their TA/RA pay and their outside consulting. Couple this with the fact that they come from rich families anyway, and they're clearly milking the system for all it is worth. </p>
<p>So I would posit that if you really can't "afford" the Ivies (i.e. because your family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid but doesn't make enough to not care about money), and you still want an Ivy education, then the answer to me seems to be simple - go to an Ivy as a graduate student and milk the fellowship money. You don't even have to get a PhD - just take the fellowship money and leave after completing a free master's degree. That way, you have access to the Ivy brand name, the formidable network, and the recruiting, and not only did you not have to pay a dime to get it, they actually paid you.</p>