The average cost of top tier schools like the Ivies is over $50,000 – a pretty intimidating sum. That is between $200,000 and a quarter million after 4 years. Most Americans can’t afford those hefty sums therefore often deter their bright children from applying. The reality is that the Ivies may be more affordable that you realize. There are several ways to afford the price tag.
The first, is to see if your intended school has a state subsidized college. Four out of Cornell University”s seven colleges are subsidized by the state (Suny) and while Georgia Institute of Technology, the University System of California, New York University and several others are not Ivy Institutions; the quality of their education is outstanding and the price-tag is less, especially if you live in those states.
The second thing to do is apply for financial aid. Most top schools follow in the footsteps of Harvard and offer full tuition to admitted students whose parents make less than $60,000 annually. While this helps the lowest income students, it may not directly apply to you, but most of these schools also offer a sliding scale system, allowing many more students to attend. These grants and scholarships are often large and you may find your family spending less to send you to an Ivy League school than if you attended a smaller or local school. The reason the top tier schools can do this is because they have large endowments and can afford to give large financial aid packages. It is like when a rich uncle comes to visit: his monetary gifts are usually larger than a less rich relative. Literally, the former can afford to give more.
The third thing to do is to apply for scholarships outside of the school. If you are bright enough to get into a top school, you are probably bright enough to get scholarship money. There are several websites that offer scholarship information, but the best resource is usually your high school counselor. Make sure you apply to specialized scholarship sites, like National Society Black Engineers, or Nursing scholarships, or teaching scholarships, or scholarships based on race or ethnicity or gender or national origin, or religious affiliations; I even know of someone who got scholarship money because they were technically height challenged – I believe the cut off is 4’11”. Money is out there, you just have to look for it.
Do not let fear of affording the education stop you from applying to the nation’s best Universities. Getting in is the hard part, then surviving until graduation, but affording it can be worked out. Good Luck and Go For It!