Lower income families to go to Ivy league schools for free

By Britany Wright
February 21, 2008

Sean Ahern/Submitted Photo

Harvard and other elite universities have announced that families making less than $60,000 will go to Harvard for free. Families making up to $180,000 will pay no more than 10 percent for their income for tuition.

Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania are a few of the private institutions out there that are taking a different approach to student loans. These universities realized that it’s nearly impossible for students to afford to attend the institutions because of the costliness of the programs.

In these universities, the few students that are selected through the application process could end up paying next to nothing for an Ivy League education. Yet their applications have to go through intense scrutiny before being enrolled in the schools.

Cabrini College is a private institution just like Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. The reason these elite universities can give such generous aid is that Harvard for example has a $36 billion endowment, basically gifts that Harvard can use for scholarships and to build buildings. Cabrini’s endowment, in contrast, is $17 million.

At a few institutions that have liberalized their financial aid programs, the figures show that students’ families with incomes up to $180,000 or more can receive this type of aid. Out of 27,000 applicants, only 1,650 students are chosen as contenders for the extra money. Schools like Yale have not increased the class size in about 40 years.

At Cabrini College, students like Steph Iaccarino, a freshman English and secondary education major, and Erin McCole, a junior chemistry major, observed the fact that Cabrini offers a fair scholarship in their choice of colleges.

McCole said, “My other choice was St. Joseph’s University, but they offered less. In the end, my choice was with the college that was more financially favorable.”

In a similar comment Iaccarino said, “I heard of the school and how it was known for the education program. The scholarship I received definitely determined my decision.”

According to Cabrini’s Web site on financial aid, more than 97 percent of the students that enter the college receive financial aid. All students who enter the school based upon financial aid receive it through scholarships, state grants, loans or work-study programs. Without any type of aid listed above students can always apply for a subsidized or an unsubsidized loan.

At the University of Pennsylvania gave 72 percent of the incoming freshman from the 2007-2008 semester with a need-based scholarship.

In order to keep scholarships or other various forms of financial aid, students must continue to be a full-time student at Cabrini. The grade point average of those students has to be a cumulative 3.0, other grants such as Achievement and Challenge grants require a cumulative 2.0. If students receive under that, they go on academic probation.

Specifically at University of Pennsylvania the admissions’ team looks at family size, student/parent income and assets, the amount of family members enrolled in college and any other extraordinary family circumstances.

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Britany Wright

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