10 Affordable Ways To Pay for an Ivy League School

Ivy League student studying

Harvard is not just for the rich, famous and the legacies. It’s for everyone; and it’s actually more affordable than you might think. You see, Ivy League schools have this conflicting reputation. They’re touted as the best schools in the nation – because they are – yet they are very exclusive. The problem is that most people assume that this exclusivity is keeping people out that cannot afford to attend classes here, but that is not the case. This exclusivity is used to ensure that only the best of the best are able to go to school here.

What we are trying to say here is that Ivy League schools are not filled with students there only because of their parents’ sizable donations toward a new library or new gym. The halls are filled with legacies, with wealthy children, with poor children, with average children and with kids that are everywhere in between. Ivy League schools are reserved for the best of the best, and anyone can be the best of the best.

But can anyone afford to attend school with the best of the best? Yes, they can. In fact, it turns out that the list of the schools that are considered the best in the country and the list of schools that are considered the most affordable and the best value are often one in the same. You see, Ivy League schools might have a high tuition rate, but they also have a strong desire to ensure that their future rocket scientists, the people who will one day cure cancer and those who will go on to be the best of the best in the political world, the medical world, the educational world and the business world are obtaining their educations from these halls. For example, studies show that after financial grants are issued to students who show financial need, the cost of a college education at Princeton University is only $16,000. How affordable is that? What that means for the average Joe struggling to come up with a way to pay for community college is that classes just became a lot more affordable. Here are 10 ways you can afford your own Ivy League education.

Apply for Financial Aid

Even if you do not think that you qualify for financial aid, fill out the package. You might be surprised just how much money you can make if you apply for financial aid to help you pay for your college tuition at an Ivy League School.

Apply for Grants

Grants are offered nationally, and they are not required for payback. This means that if you qualify for them, you will receive money to pay for the cost of your education and never pay that money back. Check your local municipality to see if they offer any, and then check the national level. There are grants all over the country for various things that you might not even know about until you take the time to look.

Check into More than One School

There are some financial aid packages in some Ivy League schools that are better than other. If you are smart enough to get into one, apply for them all. If you are accepted into more than one, check the financial aid packages and offers of tuition at each one to determine which one is most affordable. It might or might not be the school you wanted to go to but if you cannot afford the Ivy League education of your dreams, at least any Ivy League education is better than none.

Show Financial Need

Do you have financial need? If you do, don’t be afraid to show it. For example, if you are one of four kids in college at the same time from your family, chances are good that you might qualify for some sort of financial aid even if your parents make a very comfortable living. That’s a lot of college to pay for, so it only makes sense that your kids would be able to do this without hesitation.

Get Scholarships

Everyone should apply for scholarships. They are free and they are helpful. Even the smallest scholarships are worth applying for because every little bit helps. I remember in high school I was going to forgo the $500 scholarship applications and my mother said to me, “What are you doing? That is money, and it’s free, and you will apply for it. $500 here and there adds up, and it will pay for something you cannot afford, regardless,” and that does make sense.

Check your Parent’s Income

Did you know that many Ivy League schools will offer free tuition – after financial aid packages are awarded – to students whose parents make less than $60,000 per year? Did you know that they are only required to pay for 10% of your education if they make a certain amount of money? Do not discount your parents and their income when applying for school.


This is a tactic that may or may not work. However, if you were accepted into more than one Ivy League school, don’t be afraid to negotiate. If the tuition and financial aid package you are offered by another school is better than your dream school, don’t hesitate to ask them if there is any way that can beat or match that. Sometimes the answer is yes.

Commit to a Service

If you are really looking to get into school free of charge, commit to a service. The Air Force, military and even the Peace Corps offer educations to those who commit to time serving for those organizations either before or after their time in class. In fact, I know a young man attending medical school right now who will go on to spend the first few years of his career with the Air Force since they are paying for his education.

Stay Home

Live at home. Seriously; if you live close enough to the campus on which you want to attend school, live at home. It’s far less expensive and it does make tuition a lot cheaper and more affordable.

Become Well-Rounded

If you are still in high school and thinking about college, now is the time to get a bit well-rounded. If you excel in sports, play them. You might be offered more scholarships. If you are good at something, join. These are opportunities for you to open yourself up to more financial assistance, and you should not turn them down.

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