What kind of offers are Ivy League schools able to give?
They can get your daughter into school if the grades and test scores are good enough (they do not have to be good enough to get in on her own). Remember, all Ivy's are not created equal, some are more difficult to get into, some have better lacrosse programs Ivy's work off of an "academic index" they take into account GPA, Test scores etc... and they come up with a number "an index" The coach has to maintain a certain "Average Index" for the recruiting class. To simplify if the index is 1 - 10, the average index for the class must be lets say 5. The top recruit in the class could get away with an index of 1 as long as another recruit has an index of 10.
The grades/test scores that a player needs to get into an Ivy will depend on where the player falls on the Recruiting Scale... The coaches number one recruit does not need the same grades as the coaches number 8 recruit.
Safe bet.... 90 plus Unweighted GPA with honors and AP classes... 1200 plus SAT, 29-30 ACT.... depending on where the player stands on the coaches list should be okay. Some can get away with less, some will need better, some will need much better.
There is a minimum index number (not sure exact formula or numbers). If the coaches are willing to talk to you and your daughter after seeing transcript there is a good chance that the grades are acceptable. If they are not acceptable they may tell you if your daughter can improve her numbers they can work with her.
Ivy's have excellent Financial Aid, go to each schools website and put your numbers into the financial aid calculator, that will give you an Idea of the "net cost to attend". Not all Ivy's offer the same Aid, but at least in the past some schools would increase the aid for a recruit that they really wanted if that recruit could show that they were being offered more aid at another Ivy. Remember to look at how many kids you will have in college because it plays a big role in the amount of aid if any you will get.
If Ivy coaches are willing to talk to your daughter/you IMHO you should go through the process.
Do not shy away from the Ivy's until you know what it will actually cost to attend.
Make an informed decision.
I agree with much of what you stated. I know many kids that play for an Ivy and are top recruits, including one of my own. A couple things I know. You need at least a 1300 SAT to attend. There may be isolated exceptions, but this is the minimum number they’re looking for at Penn, Yale, Princeton, Harvard. Not sure about the others. You can not generally negotiate the aid. You can try to squeeze out a little extra by submitting a hardship letter, but aid is strictly based on salary/assets/other dependent kids. If you gross more than 200k you are not likely to get very much. The calculator can give you a general idea of what you’ll get, but for us it was off quite a bit from what we actually got. These are schools that cost 80k to attend. Even if you get 50%, 40k is a big number to come up with. That said, lots of great opportunities arise with an Ivy League degree.