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Monday, March 3, 2014
The Problem with Need-Blind Admission
For those of you who don't know, the "policy"-affirmed by many universities-professes not to consider the financial status of a candidate in the college admission process. In short-colleges promise to base admission solely on the merits of the student-applicant.
This should be obvious, right?
Well, not exactly. Most people understand that colleges are for-profit ventures. They make money largely from tuition and endowments. Accepting students who can afford to pay tuition is a good business decision. Students who can afford to pay probably come from families who can also afford to donate. And these are good people to have on your university investment team.
On the other hand, promising to be need-blind in your admissions policy sounds a whole lot more morally righteous. College is meant to be about expanding horizons. The holistic educational experience should involve diversity of thought, ethnicity, financial background, and race.
One of the problems with stating such a policy is that it isn't really enforceable. There are plenty of "tells" on the application and in the body of the admission essay that will give the student away, such as their parents' professions, their high schools and even the cities in which they live.
Another glitch? The policy is, by its nature, self-defeating. Subsidizing low-income students is costly. Conversely, wealthy students are the bread and butter of a healthy portfolio. How then, can a college make a decision that may benefit a student but not the university?
College acceptance should be based on academic achievement, but when a college's ability to continue to provide quality education is dependent upon finances, this becomes a tough decision to make.
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