Research suggests the most selective colleges and universities are often the most affordable for low-income families, according to ladders.com
The most selective schools are more affordable options for low-income families due to need-blind admissions and generous financial aid programs. Many low-income families only look only at seemingly less expensive and less competitive schools.
Tuition discounting has actually grown at public and private universities over the past 25 years.
“As family incomes have stagnated over the past decade, schools have had to increase tuition discounting to retain a socioeconomically diverse student body. The attempt to maintain economic diversity pushes up list price tuition, and this is not a bad thing,” said David Feldman, Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary Feldman.
Locally, the most affordable private schools for low-income families are:
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia: Cost to attend: $69,880. On average, low-income students at Penn pay one-tenth of the published price.
Swarthmore College in Swarthmore: Cost to attend: $67,110. Percentage of students paying full price is only 37 percent.
Princeton University in Princeton, N.J.: Cost to attend: $63,850. According to the Princeton admissions website, 82 percent of seniors graduated debt-free in 2017-2018.
See more about college affordability here.