How Can I Afford to Attend an Ivy League School?

How Can I Afford to Attend an Ivy League School?Setting your sights on an elite university education may feel daunting, especially if you think you cannot afford to attend an ivy league school. The ivy league is a group of eight American universities which are consistently ranked as some of the academically best and most prestigious colleges in the the country. The ivy league schools are Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Cornell, and Princeton. In addition to their excellent reputations, they share the fact that they are all expensive to attend, with estimated annual costs in the $50-60,000 range.

Looking at Net Costs

Many advisers seem to agree that one of the first steps in affording to attend an ivy league school is to believe that it’s possible. Sometimes students can be so daunted by the high price tags of these prestigious universities that they decide not to pursue the possibility of attending, assuming that paying the cost would be impossible. If you have the grades to attend such a school, however, and if doing so is an important goal, you shouldn’t let financial considerations stop you before you get started. A good first step is to use an online net price calculator to ascertain more of what the college could really cost you, once certain factors about your academic background and financial status have been factored in.

Researching Your Financial Aid

Doing research is important. Although these schools all have hefty annual price tags, they are also all well-endowed institutions, which means they have the financial resources to give out a lot of financial aid. Most of these universities give financial aid to between 45 and 60 percent of their student body, and all of them practice what is called need blind admissions. That means they don’t take your financial position, or lack of it, into consideration when they decide whether or not to accept you. Most of them also have stated commitments to meeting the full financial needs of those students they accept. Each university has different policies concerning how they will meet those needs, and the financial aid may come in the combination of several forms, such as work-study, grants, scholarships, and loans. Princeton, for example, promises to meet student financial needs without loans. Harvard has pledged that student families that make less than $60,000 per year don’t need to contribute to the cost of the degree.

Besides the financial aid packages the colleges themselves may give you, there could also be other funding sources you could tap to help allay your costs (please see: How Do I Find Scholarships for College?). Low-income students are often eligible for funds from various charitable organizations. State, regional, and local organizations may also have funds that you can apply for based on your needs and your background.

Approaching an ivy league education has plenty of challenges, and cost is certainly one of them. Given the financial aid packages on offer, however, costs don’t necessarily have to be the deciding factor in whether or not you can attend such a prestigious school. If one of these colleges is your goal and you have the grades to make the cut, get the advice and counsel you need to see if you can afford to attend an ivy league school.