Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: May 14, 2012

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An interesting report by Reuters revealed that Ivy League colleges, such as Princeton and Harvard, are leaving graduates with less student loan debt than many public colleges.

Ivy League costs continue to remain high, but their generous financial aid policies and the availability of large grants allow students to obtain an Ivy League degree for less than, say, UCLA.

Reuters gathered data on the average student loan debt that graduates of 2011 were saddled with upon leaving school. Surprisingly, Princeton was the very lowest, weighing in at right around $5,000. Most students at a typical state college graduate with three or four times that amount.

Next up was Williams then Yale, both of which yielded less than $10,000 in outstanding student loan debt for graduates. Following those two were Pomona, Harvard and Amherst, with less than $15,000.

Compare these numbers to Berkley and UCLA, two of the most famous California-based public colleges, which both boast over $15,000 in outstanding student loan debt for graduates.

The reason for this surprising trend is that the Ivy League schools are offering massive financial incentives and rebates of much greater value than a lot of their public counterparts.

Take Harvard, for example.

Students from low- to middle-income families—characterized by those households earning less than $65,000 a year—pay nothing to attend the prestigious school: nothing for tuition, fees or room and board.

Furthermore, those who come from families that make less than $150,000 are only be required to pay 10 percent of Harvard’s tuition, fees, and room and board.

When asked by Reuters about the financial policies of Ivy League schools, Adam Falk, the president of Williams College, responded by saying, “Our commitment is not to make education free, but to make it affordable.”

During a time when graduates are haunted by their enormous student loans, the policies of these prestigious colleges sound like nothing short of a fantastical dream. If competition for placement in these historical Mecca’s was stiff before, just imagine what demand for an opportunity to study at these schools will be like once word gets out about their prices.