Can Upper-Middle Class Families Still Qualify for College Financial Aid?

The short answer is: YES!

It’s a common misconception that families who have an upper middle class income simply make too much to qualify for any sort of aid when paying for college. A lot of families think they’re simply stuck paying the sticker price for school.

But, that’s really not true.

Many public institutions have lower cut-offs for any sort of institutional aid (most households making over $99,999 won’t qualify), but many private institutions offer generous aid packages even for families that earn $175,000-200,000 per year.

Let’s examine a scenario where a female student inputs the following information into College Raptor:

  • GPA: 3.5 (unweighted)
  • SAT:1800
  • Parent income: $185,000
  • Parent assets: $100,000
  • Student income and assets: < $2,500

If we look at Hendrix College in AR (a great academic fit for this student), we see this:

hendrix net price

Although Hendrix’s sticker price is over $51,000, they have strong financial aid for families making up to $200,000 per year. Because this student is such a great fit for their school, the estimated net price of attendance is only $34,479 per year — a savings of about 33% off the sticker price.

We can also look at the estimated cost of Hendrix at different income levels:

hendrix net price by income

This shows us where Hendrix’s tuition is the most affordable. Families make under $200,000 can expect a sizable aid package based on their income, while families making more than $200,000 are more likely to be charged full price for tuition.

To find the right school, families just need to compare their net prices and different institutions and find the ones that are best suited for your academic goals AND financial situation. College can be much more affordable than many people think, even for upper middle class families. College Raptor helps find the best college for you and your family based specifically on your individual circumstances.

William Staib

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