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I thought they were very clear about this. I came from a low income family, and would never have applied to the Ivy League school I ended up attending if they weren't bragging so loudly of their "no loans" policy. Heck, at least one of the schools even cold called me (one that I didn't apply to -- not sure how they got my number) and started their pitch by saying "no loans policy."

Why would you be worried about taking out a loan for an Ivy League education? Assuming you don't do something foolish like major in Medieval History, it's one of the safest, strongest investments in yourself you could possibly make, even purely from a financial point of view.

I came out of MIT with something like $40,000 worth of loans, but the M.Eng. that paid for returned (and continues to return) a substantial multiple of that.

It's nice that these elite institutions are now offering an essentially free education for lower middle-class households, but if you feel capable of exploiting the value of such an education, there's rarely a reason not to leverage yourself for it.

I didn't go to a school that really sent people to the Ivies, so in my mind it was just this exclusive rich people's country club that cost over $200k to attend. I assumed you could basically buy your way in and that low income students were at a disadvantage. My parents could afford to pay $0 for my college education, and I wasn't interested in what I thought would be a $200k loan for that kind of place. Of course, these preconceptions completely changed when I started my college search, but that's the impression I had growing up.

Still, though, I absolutely would not have taken out a $200k loan :) that was like 5x my parents' combined income. No way I could stomach that, and I don't understand how others can. I lucked out in studying CS and graduating during a boom so I'm earning quite a lot more than I ever thought was possible, but it was never my goal to be rich, and my state's flagship school was free for me due to merit scholarships.


I turned down MIT because it was too expensive. (Admittedly, I was also looking for something other than CS.) Instead, I went to a school that was much clearer about giving me a full-ride scholarship.

And, despite following this line of argument, I've been unable to convince my younger sister to apply to Ivy League schools thus far. She's got time left in high school, so it's not final, but she's been balking at the idea of even applying, in part because of the perceived cost, even after I explained the "no loans" stuff to her.


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