Ivy League colleges affordable for low income families

young woman walking at college with bookbagsToo many low-income families discourage kids from applying to Ivy league schools out of fear that they cannot afford it. They don't realize that many Ivy League and high-end schools make sure the student doesn't have to fork over any more than they would at any public college. In fact, low-income families often get a full ride, or close to it when they are accepted to Ivy League colleges.

These schools do demand that students contribute to their own college expenses, in the form of a self-help component where the student is asked to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 from money they earned during the summer and through work study programs. Parents are also asked to contribute financially to the student's education. The amount of money they pay depends on the results of the FAFSA and the school's financial aid policies.

Keep in mind that you can qualify as a low-income family at a much higher income than if your students were at a state college. Overall, Ivy League colleges are at least as affordable as any other college the student can get into.

Here is a snapshot of what Ivy League colleges offer in financial aid:

Brown University: A family earning less than $60,000 and having less than $100,000 in assets pays nothing toward tuition.

Columbia University:Columbia has a median grant income of $75,000, meaning both lower and median income families will receive aid. It has sample aid packages to look over.

Cornell University: Cornell has eliminated need-based loans for families making less than $75,000 and capped yearly loans for students at $3,000. There is no parent contribution for families earning less than $60,000 with assets of less than $100,000.

Dartmouth: Once the parents' contribution is determined through the FAFSA and the school's College Scholarships Service's PROFILE program, Dartmouth will meet 100% of of the remaining financial needs. The college has a cost estimator to help.

Harvard: The family contribution for families that make between $60,000 and $180, 000 is about 10% of their income. Families making less than $60,000 will receive need based aid. Harvard does not count home equity as an asset when considering the family's financial contribution.

Penn: University of Pennsylvania is committed to meeting "100% of the student's determined need." Dependent students are not required to take out loans for their education, and outside scholarships can go toward the student's self-help portion of their tuition.

Princeton: Grants and campus jobs are an integral part of the college's commitment in meeting 100% of each student's need. Students are not required to take out loans to attend Princeton, which has an aid estimator.

Yale:Yale uses a formula to determine parents' contribution that takes into account the Parents' total income, assets, and family size.

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