Prestigious Colleges With Best Financial Aid for Upper Middle Class

There are different types of financial aid available for students and their families that make going to college affordable. Unfortunately, not all students are eligible for some of them. Similarly, not all schools award all available grants. For upper-middle-class students, going to an elite school can pose a problem financial aid-wise.

Prestigious Colleges with the best financial aid for upper middle class students are Harvard, Columbia, and Brown University. Respectively, their need-based grants can cover up to 71.41%, 55.47% and 49.32% of the fees. Those with the least financial aid are Bates College, Tufts University, and Lafayette College.

Especially if you want nothing but to get your college diploma from one of the Ivy League or Little Ivy schools, it is of utmost importance that you choose your school wisely. With the right choice, it is possible for you to breeze through college without leaving your family’s finances in shambles and yourself in knee-high debt.

Below, you will come across some of the elite colleges with best financial aid for upper middle class, based on the results of a college cost calculator that can give a good estimation.

The Middle is A Bad Place to Be

For many, being the middle child sucks. They do not get enough attention from their parents and everyone else as their oldest and youngest siblings. They are younger than their older siblings, which leaves them with more restrictions. But they are older than their younger siblings, which leaves them with more duties and responsibilities.

This is why there is such a thing called middle child syndrome. It gives middle children the feeling that they are ignored or neglected due to their birth order. As a result, they tend to form certain personality and relationship traits.

Well, being middle class can pose the same scenario, especially those who would like to go to not just any college, but a prestigious college in the US. Does your family make $106,827 to $373,894 annually? Then you are not just any middle class — you belong to the upper middle class sector.

And if your family is considered upper-middle class, earning a college degree can be harsher on the pocket than everyone else in the middle class. It’s because your family has enough money for you to be considered eligible for government higher education grants but not enough for your family to pay cash for your college without much trouble.

Here’s what tends to make matters worse: all upper middle class families are upper-middle class families no matter where in the US they live, with full disregard of the cost of living!

I can say that I, and probably many of my classmates, have no hope in receiving any substantial financial aid from an elite university if I manage to get in.

The area I live in is expensive and having an “upper-middle class” house income provides you with enough to live comfortable enough, so being able to pay even half the tuition of a private school is out of the question.

So, in other words, an upper middle class student residing in San Francisco is expected to shell out the same amount of money for college than an upper middle class student residing in a city where a household income of $65,000 is good enough to live comfortably.

Just because your family is making enough doesn’t mean that it can pay for college. It all depends on which college you are planning to go to. And if it’s your dream to graduate from a prestigious school because you are a bright student, then you’re in for a challenge. None of the foremost US colleges offer merit-based scholarships.

Why Elite Schools Do Not Provide Merit Awards

It’s no secret that Ivy League and Little Ivy schools are some of the richest learning institutions in the US. Similarly, the majority of the students that go to them are rich. When applying for these elite schools, it’s not enough for the students to have plenty of money. They need to have plenty of brains, too.

Because it’s granted that students who go the Ivies and Little Ivies are bright, many top schools do not give merit-based scholarships.

The good news is that there is another type of financial aid that elite schools provide: need-based financial aid. They know very well that all of the students they accept are above average when it comes to academic performance, but not all of the students that they welcome are above average in terms of family income.

If you are from an upper middle class family, you can forget about getting your hands on a merit-based scholarship to make it easier on the pocket to go to an Ivy or a Little Ivy school. The good news is that your parents do not have to pay the school’s sticker price, and it’s all courtesy of a need-based scholarship that you can apply for.

Just like what the name says, a need-based scholarship is given to a student who shows financial need. Eligibility for it is determined by one’s family income. Also taken into account are factors such as a student’s year in college, family size, the number of family members who will go to college each year, etc.

Estimated Costs Based on Annual Family Income

With the help of a college cost estimator (myintuition), you can have an idea of how much your parents will have to pay yearly for college minus the need-based scholarship a school offers to eligible students.

Below, you will come across estimates (Best Estimate/Student Parent Contribution) of how much money your folks will have to shell out after being awarded with a grant (Need-Based Scholarship). You will also find Low Estimates and High Estimates of the amount of cash your family will have to pay for your college annually.

The estimations below are based on basic financial questions such as:

  • What is your family’s total annual income before taxes? ($150,000, $200,000 and $250,000)
  • Does your family own the home in which you live? (Yes — the majority of upper middle class families own properties)
  • What is the current market value of your family’s home? ($284,600 — the median home price in the US, according to the National Association of Realtors or NAR)
  • Do your parents have any cash held in a regular savings or checking account? (Yes — because they work hard)
  • Do your parents have any retirement or pension plans? (Yes — again, because they work hard)
  • Do your parents have any investments held in non-retirement accounts? (No)
  • Do you have any siblings in your household who will also be enrolled full-time in a four-year undergraduate institution in the same year that you plan to enter college? (No — let’s assume that you have one sibling who’s not yet going to college at the same time as you)

One thing I want you to keep in mind is that the calculator I am using (myintuition) is very basic, and I’ve only tested the variables listed above. Since the calculator itself is very basic, the answers, at best, are only estimates.

If you want a more specific college estimate for a specific school, then I recommend using the net calculator many schools have on their own webpage.

Estimated College Costs For a $150K Family Income

Brown University

  • Best Estimate                               $37,800
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,950
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $39,650
  • Student/Parent Contribution $37,800
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $26,200
  • High Estimate                               $49,300

Columbia University

  • Best Estimate                               $32,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,100
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $44,600
  • Student/Parent Contribution $32,700
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $22,300
  • High Estimate                               $43,100

Dartmouth College

  • Best Estimate                               $35,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,500
  • Student Loan                               $5,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $35,800
  • Student/Parent Contribution $35,700
  • Total                                          $79,500
  • Low Estimate                               $27,500
  • High Estimate                               $44,000

Harvard University

  • Best Estimate                               $18,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $54,200
  • Student/Parent Contribution $18,700
  • Total                                          $75,900
  • Low Estimate                               $14,200
  • High Estimate                               $23,200

University of Pennsylvania

  • Best Estimate                               $37,600
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $38,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $37,600
  • Total                                          $79,600
  • Low Estimate                               $26,400
  • High Estimate                               $48,800

Yale University

  • Best Estimate                               $32,400
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,850
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $43,650
  • Student/Parent Contribution $32,400
  • Total                                          $78,900
  • Low Estimate                               $21,400
  • High Estimate                               $43,400

Amherst College

  • Best Estimate                               $37,200
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $34,800
  • Student/Parent Contribution $37,200
  • Total                                          $74,200
  • Low Estimate                               $27,400
  • High Estimate                               $47,000

Bates College

  • Best Estimate                               $40,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,700
  • Student Loan                               $2,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $31,700
  • Student/Parent Contribution $40,300
  • Total                                          $75,700
  • Low Estimate                               $32,000
  • High Estimate                               $48,600

Bowdoin College

  • Best Estimate                               $38,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $33,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $38,500
  • Total                                          $73,800
  • Low Estimate                               $28,400
  • High Estimate                               $48,700

Colby College

  • Best Estimate                               $37,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,800
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $37,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $37,900
  • Total                                          $77,200
  • Low Estimate                               $26,000
  • High Estimate                               $49,900

Hamilton College

  • Best Estimate                               $32,800
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $36,700
  • Student/Parent Contribution $32,800
  • Total                                          $75,000
  • Low Estimate                               $24,800
  • High Estimate                               $40,700

Lafayette College

  • Best Estimate                               $38,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,000
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $31,400
  • Student/Parent Contribution $38,100
  • Total                                          $74,000
  • Low Estimate                               $30,400
  • High Estimate                               $45,800

Middlebury College

  • Best Estimate                               $35,600
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,600
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $35,800
  • Student/Parent Contribution $35,600
  • Total                                          $77,500
  • Low Estimate                               $27,200
  • High Estimate                               $43,900

Tufts University

  • Best Estimate                               $38,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,000
  • Student Loan                               $5,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $33,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $38,700
  • Total                                          $79,000
  • Low Estimate                               $29,000
  • High Estimate                               $48,400

Vassar College

  • Best Estimate                               $37,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $35,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $37,300
  • Total                                          $78,300
  • Low Estimate                               $27,900
  • High Estimate                               $46,600

Wesleyan University

  • Best Estimate                               $36,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,800
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $35,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $36,500
  • Total                                          $78,700
  • Low Estimate                               $26,800
  • High Estimate                               $46,200

Williams College

  • Best Estimate                               $33,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,700
  • Student Loan                               $4,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $35,700
  • Student/Parent Contribution $33,100
  • Total                                          $75,500
  • Low Estimate                               $23,500
  • High Estimate                               $42,600

Estimated College Costs For a $200K Family Income

Brown University

  • Best Estimate                               $50,000
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,950
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $27,450
  • Student/Parent Contribution $50,000
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $36,300
  • High Estimate                               $63,800

Columbia University

  • Best Estimate                               $46,200
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,100
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $31,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $46,200
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $33,600
  • High Estimate                               $58,800

Dartmouth College

  • Best Estimate                               $50,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,500
  • Student Loan                               $5,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $20,600
  • Student/Parent Contribution $50,900
  • Total                                          $79,500
  • Low Estimate                               $40,800
  • High Estimate                               $61,100

Harvard University

  • Best Estimate                               $38,800
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $34,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $38,800
  • Total                                          $75,900
  • Low Estimate                               $31,800
  • High Estimate                               $45,900

University of Pennsylvania

  • Best Estimate                               $49,800
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $26,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,800
  • Total                                          $79,600
  • Low Estimate                               $36,400
  • High Estimate                               $63,200

Yale University

  • Best Estimate                               $49,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,850
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $26,150
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,900
  • Total                                          $78,900
  • Low Estimate                               $35,600
  • High Estimate                               $64,200

Amherst College

  • Best Estimate                               $52,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $19,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $52,500
  • Total                                          $74,200
  • Low Estimate                               $41,200
  • High Estimate                               $63,800

Bates College

  • Best Estimate                               $52,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,700
  • Student Loan                               $2,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $19,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $52,500
  • Total                                          $75,700
  • Low Estimate                               $42,700
  • High Estimate                               $62,300

Bowdoin College

  • Best Estimate                               $49,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $21,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,700
  • Total                                          $73,800
  • Low Estimate                               $38,100
  • High Estimate                               $61,300

Colby College

  • Best Estimate                               $49,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,800
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $26,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,300
  • Total                                          $77,200
  • Low Estimate                               $35,500
  • High Estimate                               $61,100

Hamilton College

  • Best Estimate                               $46,600
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,000
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $22,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $46,600
  • Total                                          $75,000
  • Low Estimate                               $37,200
  • High Estimate                               $56,100

Lafayette College

  • Best Estimate                               $50,000
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,000
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $19,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $50,000
  • Total                                          $74,000
  • Low Estimate                               $41,200
  • High Estimate                               $58,900

Middlebury College

  • Best Estimate                               $50,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,600
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $20,700
  • Student/Parent Contribution $50,700
  • Total                                          $77,500
  • Low Estimate                               $40,600
  • High Estimate                               $60,800

Tufts University

  • Best Estimate                               $52,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,000
  • Student Loan                               $5,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $19,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $52,100
  • Total                                          $79,000
  • Low Estimate                               $40,900
  • High Estimate                               $63,200

Vassar College

  • Best Estimate                               $49,200
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $23,400
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,200
  • Total                                          $78,300
  • Low Estimate                               $37,900
  • High Estimate                               $60,400

Wesleyan University

  • Best Estimate                               $49,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,800
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $23,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,300
  • Total                                          $78,700
  • Low Estimate                               $37,500
  • High Estimate                               $61,100

Williams College

  • Best Estimate                               $47,200
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,700
  • Student Loan                               $4,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $21,600
  • Student/Parent Contribution $47,200
  • Total                                          $75,500
  • Low Estimate                               $35,300
  • High Estimate                               $59,100

Estimated College Costs For a $250K Family Income

Brown University

  • Best Estimate                               $62,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,950
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $15,150
  • Student/Parent Contribution $62,300
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $46,300
  • High Estimate                               $78,300

Columbia University

  • Best Estimate                               $59,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,100
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $18,200
  • Student/Parent Contribution $59,100
  • Total                                          $80,400
  • Low Estimate                               $44,400
  • High Estimate                               $59,100

Dartmouth College

  • Best Estimate                               $65,400
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,500
  • Student Loan                               $5,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $6,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $65,400
  • Total                                          $79,500
  • Low Estimate                               $53,600
  • High Estimate                               $77,300

Harvard University

  • Best Estimate                               $66,000
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $6,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $66,000
  • Total                                          $75,900
  • Low Estimate                               $55,500
  • High Estimate                               $75,900

University of Pennsylvania

  • Best Estimate                               $62,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $14,000
  • Student/Parent Contribution $62,100
  • Total                                          $79,600
  • Low Estimate                               $46,500
  • High Estimate                               $77,700

Yale University

  • Best Estimate                               $66,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,850
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $9,750
  • Student/Parent Contribution $49,900
  • Total                                          $66,300
  • Low Estimate                               $48,900
  • High Estimate                               $78,900

Amherst College

  • Best Estimate                               $67,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $4,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $67,100
  • Total                                          $74,200
  • Low Estimate                               $54,400
  • High Estimate                               $74,200

Bates College

  • Best Estimate                               $64,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,700
  • Student Loan                               $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $7,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $64,700
  • Total                                          $75,700
  • Low Estimate                               $53,300
  • High Estimate                               $75,700

Bowdoin College

  • Best Estimate                               $63,300
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $8,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $63,300
  • Total                                          $73,800
  • Low Estimate                               $50,000
  • High Estimate                               $73,800

Colby College

  • Best Estimate                               $63,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,800
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $11,500
  • Student/Parent Contribution $63,900
  • Total                                          $77,200
  • Low Estimate                               $47,700
  • High Estimate                               $77,200

Hamilton College

  • Best Estimate                               $60,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,000
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $9,000
  • Student/Parent Contribution $60,500
  • Total                                          $75,000
  • Low Estimate                               $49,500
  • High Estimate                               $71,500

Lafayette College

  • Best Estimate                               $63,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $1,000
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $5,600
  • Student/Parent Contribution $63,900
  • Total                                          $74,000
  • Low Estimate                               $53,700
  • High Estimate                               $74,000

Middlebury College

  • Best Estimate                               $65,100
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,600
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $6,300
  • Student/Parent Contribution $65,100
  • Total                                          $77,500
  • Low Estimate                               $53,300
  • High Estimate                               $76,800

Tufts University

  • Best Estimate                               $66,900
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,000
  • Student Loan                               $5,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $5,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $66,900
  • Total                                          $79,000
  • Low Estimate                               $54,200
  • High Estimate                               $79,000

Vassar College

  • Best Estimate                               $62,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,200
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $9,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $62,700
  • Total                                          $78,300
  • Low Estimate                               $49,200
  • High Estimate                               $76,100

Wesleyan University

  • Best Estimate                               $63,500
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,800
  • Student Loan                               $3,500
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $8,900
  • Student/Parent Contribution $63,500
  • Total                                          $78,700
  • Low Estimate                               $49,400
  • High Estimate                               $77,600

Williams College

  • Best Estimate                               $60,700
  • Student Work-Study                       $2,700
  • Student Loan                               $4,000
  • Need-Based Scholarship                  $8,100
  • Student/Parent Contribution $60,700
  • Total                                          $75,500
  • Low Estimate                               $46,600
  • High Estimate                               $74,800

NOTE: Financial aid can easily change for a variety of reasons. The numbers can easily change if the tuition increases, the school has less money available, you switch majors, or your family’s financial status changes.

Here are the percentages of the annual cost of college that schools will slash from the sticker price if your family is earning $150,000 a year:

  • Harvard University 71.41%
  • Columbia University           55.47%
  • Yale University                  55.32%
  • Brown University               49.32%
  • Hamilton College               48.93%
  • Colby College                   48.58%
  • University of Pennsylvania   48.37%
  • Williams College                47.28%
  • Amherst College                46.90%
  • Middlebury College            46.19%
  • Wesleyan University           45.62%
  • Vassar College                  45.08%
  • Dartmouth College             45.03%
  • Bowdoin College               44.85%
  • Lafayette College               42.43%
  • Tufts University                 42.15%
  • Bates College                   41.88%

These are the percentages of the cost of college a year that schools will take care of if your family is making $200,000 annually:

  • Harvard University 44.93%
  • Columbia University           38.68%
  • Colby College                   33.81%
  • Yale University                  33.14%
  • University of Pennsylvania   33.04%
  • Hamilton College               30.53%
  • Vassar College                  29.89%
  • Bowdoin College               29.67%
  • Wesleyan University           29.35%
  • Williams College                28.61%
  • Middlebury College            26.71%
  • Brown University               26.43%
  • Lafayette College               26.35%
  • Amherst College                26.28%
  • Dartmouth College             25.91%
  • Bates College                   25.76%
  • Tufts University                 25.19%

And now, the percentages of the cost of college yearly that schools will pay for if your family is generating $250,000 every year:

  • Harvard University 9.09%
  • Columbia University           22.64%
  • Brown University               18.84%
  • University of Pennsylvania   17.59%
  • Colby College                   14.90%
  • Yale University                  14.71%
  • Vassar College                  12.64%
  • Hamilton College               12.00%
  • Wesleyan University           11.31%
  • Bowdoin College               11.25%
  • Williams College                10.73%
  • Bates College                   9.64%
  • Middlebury College            8.13%
  • Dartmouth College             7.67%
  • Lafayette College               7.57%
  • Amherst College                6.60%
  • Tufts University                 6.46%

Conclusion

Your family doesn’t have to be extremely rich just for you to be able to go to a prestigious school. Being upper middle class is sometimes enough. The bad news is that there is only one type of financial aid that Ivy League and Little Ivy schools offer, and it’s none other than a need-based scholarship.

But remember this, paying an average of $40,000 per year is not realistic for most families, even those who would fall under “upper-middle class.” I have made this clear before, but I don’t think it’s worth going into much debt over any college because that debt can be detrimental to your future.

If you are still determined to go to a college even when your family can’t realistically afford, check out my article on college debt to read about different ways to minimize family contributions to your education.

To make going to a top-notch college easier on the pocket of your folks, you may consider taking other steps that can help lower the cost of earning a degree from a prestigious school. For instance, you may work while studying or apply for financial aid available elsewhere that your chosen school accepts.

Recent Posts