Many states charge middle-income families nearly the same price as families earning far more.
IHEP’s middle-income student — Ava — lives at home, has a younger sibling and comes from a family earning $62,000. The federal government says her expected family contribution for college is $5,757.
Maria, the high-income persona, also lives at home and also has a younger sibling, but her family earns $100,000 more each year — a total of $167,387. The government says her expected contribution is about $22,000.
At a few flagships — UVa, Berkeley, Minnesota, Michigan — Ava gets a substantially lower price: $15,000 to $24,000 less a year.
But at more than 20 flagships, the prices for Ava and Maria are nearly identical. In Mississippi, for instance, Maria would be charged $24,926 — just over her federal expected family contribution. And Ava, with a fraction of the family income, must pay $23,881, about four times as much as her expected family contribution.