Harvard-Westlake in CA is a feeder school to Stanford just as Exeter and Andover to the major Ivy schools. These schools all have very generous scholarship, and admission is based on aptitude more than family income. In fact, kids from underrepresented groups (blacks/Hispanics/Native Indians) have just as high a chance as white and Asian kids from low-income households. Legacy plays an important role but those that got in from this batch is no more than 16-25%.
Meh. I think only a certain type of kid with a certain type of background can go through these places and become successful enough to justify the cost.
My best friend/ex and I grew up in the same upper middle class Asian community; I went to the public highschool and she went to Harvard Westlake. Her first couple of years she had trouble understanding the whole rich kid culture and she didn't grow up fast enough to adapt to the environment, socially and academically. It's too early to call the intangible effects of elite prep school right now, but at the very least I really think she would have gone on to a better school had she stayed.