I am 100 % agree the way you were thinking, the way you were doing, because children know themselves better than their parents. “Aim high” is the magic words. But if your kid gets into his dream school, parents cannot offer the money, it is also a good thing, which means he/she is doing very well, even may better than their parents. Parents should being proud of him/her. Also, if they were accepted by Ivey Schools, certainly, kids and parents are all have the choices. If they decide not to go, 100% they will get some sort of merits scholarship from other colleges. I believe that if children can be comfortable choice the top school, they certainly know that their hard work pays off.
Applying colleges should be the children first, and financial the second.