If I want to put my 3-year-old through Harvard at the full price, I need to start depositing $1,200 a month NOW into her college savings account, according to Savingforcollege.com. Instead, I think I've deposited that much total -- mostly from occasional family cash gifts and any winnings from raffles, etc. Sound financial planning, I know.

Like so many proud parents, I have no doubt that Nutmeg's preschool scribblings show her to be Harvard material. My anxiety over how to pay for the ivy 15 years from now was slightly eased this week by a couple of items in the news:


Harvard in recent years noticed that the vast majority of their students came from the upper 25 percent of the economic spectrum. What a shock, eh? So the university has made some moves to diversify the economic background of its student body. They've already said that families that earn under $60,000 are not expected to contribute to their kids' education costs. That alone blows my mind because as one of the top students in my high school, I never would have dreamed that I could have afforded to go to Harvard. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten in, but with this policy I would have tried!

The new news is that Harvard is reaching out to the middle class, which is exciting to me for the sake of my own childen:

Families earning $60K TO $120K now pay on a sliding scale, starting at 0 and topping out at 10 percent of your income. So a family earning $120,000 a year pays $12,000 for tuition, fees, AND room and board for each year at Harvard, compared to the regular cost of nearly $50,000.

Families earning $120K TO $180K pay a flat 10 percent.

2) The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007

Described in more detail on Wise Bread by Mark P. Cussen, the Act cuts the expense of student loans and changes the way 529 savings plans work, among other changes.