You're getting some good advice, I think. My only add is that as far as the HA schools go, you'll never know how much aid you can get unless you ask for it.
I agree with this! Make sure you can't afford it before you pass up on the prestigious HA school. You might be surprised at what the school considers your "need" for need-based-aid purposes. Also, many (maybe most) private colleges, including HA ones, offer tuition discounts of up to 50% (they will dress them up as grants, scholarships, and fellowships, whatever), so that the sticker price is not the true price for many of the students attending. Also, some HA schools (Bowdoin comes to mind) have committed to offering financial aid packages that have no loans in them.
So, while I agree that you should not send your son to a college you (and he) cannot truly afford, I would do your research about what you realistically can expect to spend there. Unless you're in the top 10%, it's probably not the sticker price.