I recently heard a fact today while I was riding a duck-boat (Google it) in Boston, and it really got me thinking. Harvard’s endowment is so large, that they could write a check to the country of Greek and pay of ALL of its debt.

To put that into perspective, a UNIVERSITY could make a whole COUNTRY debt free.

My reason for being in Boston is that I am touring a few colleges out East. Brown, Princeton, and Harvard to be exact. Pretty prestigious schools am I right? Now these colleges to most people would seem to be the most expensive colleges in the country….. right? Wrong.

They may be pretty expensive on the surface, but through GRANT-BASED financial aid, most students at these colleges will graduate with less debt than those at a seemingly cheaper college. Heck, at Princeton over 80% of their students graduate debt-free, with the average debt of the rest being a measly $5,500!!!!

How is this possible you might ask? Well the key word here is grant. Grants are different from loans where the school gives you money, but you are in no way expected to pay back that money. They are literally GIVING you money to get an IVY LEAGUE education…. That doesn’t sound quite bad right?

So how do the schools not go bankrupt from this? Well the stars of the show are the alumni. Princeton can afford to do this because 1) Their alumni base is very wealthy and successful 2) They continually give back to their alma mater. These huge endowments that continue to grow aren’t from the schools charging boat loads of money for students to attend their college, it is really from their alumni contributions.

A little bit about my trip so far:

So far I have toured Brown, and really liked their open curriculum. This would allow me to pursue other passions than just one specific concentration, as I like to think I am well rounded in my interests. If I went today, I would probably double major (a pretty common thing there) in a field of science and a field of business. But I’m not going today so that is definitely subject to change.

I have also toured Princeton, which I actually did today. Now what really stood out to me today was the financial aspect I was talking to you about in this article. It is sure tempting to get an ivy league education and graduate debt-free. Doing this would allow me to continue to contribute to my stock portfolio in college and continue to build my net worth, which would in the end lead me to becoming financially free and (hopefully) retire early.

Some people might say I am too young to be worried about retiring, but honestly I am not worried at all. I am confident since I have started early, and if I make the right financial decisions in the future, I will be able to achieve my financial goals. Plus I have a fun time thinking about/making money, so I would call it more of a hobby.

Tomorrow I tour Harvard, and I really hope I get that “it” feeling that a lot of people say there get, where they just “know” that’s the college they want to spend the next four years of their life at.

Plus I may be touring these schools, but that doesn’t mean I have been accepted yet. I have to remind myself to stay humble in everything I do, and to continue to have the passion that I did to bring me to this point.