THE FREE RIDE: 10 Elite Universities Where Middle Class Kids Don’t Pay Any Tuition

Every year I have parents tell me:  “I’m not letting my kid apply THERE.  Do you have any idea how much that school costs?!?!”

OK: let’s all just calm down a minute.  I know what the elite school sticker price appears to be, but I also know this:  that sometimes, the most elite schools are so generous with need-based financial aid that attending one of them can end up to be cheaper than attending a local state university.  For this reason, I always recommend that students apply to at least one college or university they believe they could never get into.  Students, you never know whether you could get in until you try.

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(Are you worried about wasting a $75 application fee?  Call the university’s admissions office and ask for an “application fee waiver.”  In many cases that’s all you have to do to get out of paying a college application fee.)

A recent Bloomberg Business article lists 10 elite universities where middle class kids (defined as coming from a U.S. family of three making between$40,667 and $122,000 in 2013)  don’t pay any tuition.  At all.  You can find the original Bloomberg Business article here.

The article reports this:

“Stanford University announced last week that, starting this fall, students whose families make less than $125,000 a year will not pay any tuition. Previously, the school had set the bar at $100,000. With the move, Stanford has made it possible for more middle-class students to get a degree for what they’d spend in tuition at an in-state, public university (students with a family income above $65,000 a year still have to cover room and board). That makes an admissions offer that’s already among the most coveted in the country even more attractive.”

Parents, listed below in this post you’ll find the hall of fame of the generous.  Remember, to increase student chances of being admitted to a university like one of these, click on your child’s age in the WHAT TO DO WHEN section on this website.  Return to my website frequently to get more free help each year as you raise kids throughout grades 6-12.  Get other parents to jump into this journey with you so that you’ll have help and support along the way. And to make certain that the colleges your child applies to are not just elite, but also “good fit” colleges where your child will be happiest and most successful — pay special careful attention to the instructions I give in the free PDF I have for parents entitled “What to do in January of 10th grade.”

10 Elite Universities Where Middle Class Kids Don’t Pay Any Tuition: 

1. Princeton

Tuition for 2015-16: $43,450
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 6.99 percent
Policy: Families making less than $54,000 a year don’t pay tuition, room, or board, and families making less than $120,000 a year don’t pay tuition.

2. Brown

Tuition for 2015-16: $48,272
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 8.5 percent
Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

3. Cornell

Tuition for 2015-16: $48,880 
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 14.9 percent
Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

4. Columbia

Tuition for 2014-15: $51,108
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 6.1 percent
Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

5. Duke

Tuition for 2015-16: $47,650
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 11.3 percent
Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

6. Harvard

Tuition for 2015-16: $45,278
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 5.3 percent
Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

7. Yale

Tuition for 2015-16: $47,600
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 6.5 percent
Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don’t pay tuition, room, or board.

8. Stanford

Tuition for 2015-16: $45,729
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 5.05 percent
Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don’t pay tuition, room, or board, and families making between $65,000 and $125,000 a year don’t pay tuition.

9. MIT

Tuition for 2015-16: $46,704 (includes mandatory fees)
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 8 percent
Policy: Families making less than $75,000 a year don’t pay tuition.

10. Dartmouth

Tuition for 2015-16: $48,120
Acceptance rate for the Class of 2019: 10.3 percent
Policy: Families making less than $100,000 don’t pay tuition.

Sometimes, students can be admitted to great universities for the craziest reasons.  In one case I remember, a girl with mediocre grades and test scores was stunned to be admitted to one of the best private colleges in Minnesota.  Why?  She was an oboe player, and that school just happened to need an oboe player for their band that year.  Student, you never know where you could get in until you try.

All this said, please remember that elite education is not necessary to make anyone happy or financially successful in life.  Student, if you don’t get into one of these elite institutions, no big deal.  To see the emphatic post I’ve written on this subject, click here.

[Tweet: “Wow. 10 elite colleges where middle class kids pay zero tuition! More here. #collegeprep #parentingteens #relief”]

What about you?  Do you think it’s a good idea for kids to apply to at least one college they think they could never get into?  Leave your comment below, or start a new discussion over on Facebook at Jeannie Burlowski Author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Hi, I'm Jeannie Burlowski

I'm a full-time academic strategist, speaker, and podcast host, and I’m the author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward.

My writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love.

My work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington PostUSA TodayNerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

I also help students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school from my website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow me on Twitter @JBurlowski.

My team and I are leading a debt-free college revolution. We hope you’ll join us.

Hi, I'm Jeannie Burlowski.

I'm a full-time academic strategist, speaker, and podcast host, and I’m the author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward.

My writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love.

My work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington PostUSA TodayNerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

I also help students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school from my website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow me on Twitter @JBurlowski.

My team and I are leading a debt-free college revolution. We hope you’ll join us.

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