The leafy campuses of the country's most selective colleges and universities have long drawn students who are intelligent—and wealthy. But if you think those are the only students who can manage to attend a top school these days, think again.
Many top tier institutions have hefty endowments that enable them to offer financial aid packages large enough to bring the cost of attendance in line with—or even lower than—many public universities. And at a number of selective colleges, the pressure is on to attract more high performing students of limited means.
"The bottom line is that students have more options," said Jennifer Desjarlais, dean of admissions at Wellesley College.