What Does “Need-Blind” Admissions Mean?

When most students apply to college, they expect to be accepted based on their merits and not financial aid. Some schools, like Wesleyan University, are known for “need-blind” admissions, meaning they consider a student regardless of their ability to pay, in addition to offering to meet all of their financial needs. This isn’t always a good situation for the student though, which is why Wesleyan is taking steps to revise its policy due to financial pressures.

How can offering to meet all of a student’s financial needs be misleading? With the need-blind admissions policy, universities can face a wide range of assistance needed for students. Because the colleges are not able to offer grants, many young men and women expect their needs will be met if they attend, but instead face numerous loans upon graduation.

Other schools don’t offer assistance at all; they instead admit students based on need-blind admissions but leave them trying to figure out how to pay for it on their own. For some, it means thousands of dollars in private loans for the student and their parents, and for others it means that college is simply unattainable.

Some universities like Wesleyan are revising their policies to come up with alternate options. The school is looking at considering students regardless of financial aid needed until the money runs out, at which point they will only admit students that do not need assistance. But this favors students that are from wealthier, higher-income families as opposed to offering the same opportunity to a lower-income student.

So are need-blind admissions positive or negative? Regardless, make sure you and your student are aware of exactly how much financial aid you will receive, and if they are in the form of loans or grants. If you need help figuring out how to keep the costs down and affordable for your family, be sure to contact us or attend one of our upcoming College Funding workshops!

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