Well, for us, our plan was always for me to go back to work when DD went to college. In part this is because our K-12 educational choices, while imperfect, have also been expensive. Effectively, about 60-100K annually in my lost income.

So I'll work for four years in order to put my income toward tuition, and then I'll put that $ into retirement investments and our mortgage (or what is left of it).

So yes, to us-- because we have the ABILITY-- that difference, which we've worked out to be more like 100K additional at most, over 4y, we're willing to do what it takes.

My child seems to need this. I was not of that opinion until recently, when I could see what it meant to her to interact with people closer to her intellectual peers... and to realize that those were all people who already possessed undergrad degrees. Placing her with a group much like her high school experiences have been is going to increase the risk that she'll just give up and walk away. She has indicated very emphatically that she NEEDS for college to be a different experience from high school in this regard. High school has been barely tolerable. Not "fine."

We thought that acceleration alone would be enough w/r/t college, and if we'd had CFK's options through high school (dual enrollment, etc) it might have been. Then again, DD being a true polymath and so radically Socratic/collaborative w/r/t peers, maybe it wouldn't have in light of her other personality quirks.

An Ivy? No way. Not worth the $.

An elite school where merit matters? Might be worth the premium. To my DD and to us. IMMV.

Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.