How much would you say it costs to attend a top private college like Dartmouth or Pomona for one year? I’m guessing that the first number that pops into your mind is quite large, like $60,000.For most Americans, that’s the wrong answer — and it’s wrong by a lot. The list-price tuition at these college does indeed run so high, but just a small slice of the population pays the list price. Typically, only families earning at least $200,000 a year fail to qualify for financial aid. For families with middle-class incomes, highly selective colleges are much, much less expensive.