The Ivy Coach Daily

January 15, 2022

A Call for America’s Need-Blind Universities to Eliminate The Financial Aid Question

This question has no place on the applications of need-blind colleges.

Over the years, from atop our soapbox in elite college admissions, we at Ivy Coach have held colleges, school counselors, private college counselors, and local grocers accountable for sewing confusion about the highly selective college admissions process, for perpetuating misconceptions, and for not telling it like it is. We’ve called on elite colleges to eliminate legacy admission and we’ve saluted schools like Johns Hopkins University and Amherst College as they’ve done just that. We’ve called on elite colleges to be more forthright about their so-called test-optional admissions policies by releasing the percentage of students who do and do not earn admission with and without scores. While schools like Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania have shared some of this data over the last couple of admissions cycles, the vast majority of America’s elite colleges can — and should — be more transparent with this data. And so, today, in keeping with our long history of shining sunlight on components of the elite college admissions process that need to change, we hereby issue a call for all elite colleges that claim to be need-blind to cease asking applicants if they need financial aid on the very same application that admissions officers weighing students’ cases for admission can read with their own two eyes.

We hereby issue a call for so-called need-blind colleges to cease asking applicants if they need financial aid on college supplements. Only financial aid professionals — not admissions officers — should be privy to this answer.

Just think about it for a second. So-called need-blind colleges ask students if they need financial aid on the applications. These so-called need-blind colleges are not blind to the answer. It’s the equivalent of a judge in a criminal case going to great lengths to seat a fair jury of a defendant’s peers who know nothing about the defendant or the case — all as the judge provides the defendant’s rap sheet and a series of newspaper clippings about the case to the jury. It’s the equivalent of the late, great former NBA Commissioner David Stern blindly sifting through envelopes in 1985 to determine which NBA team would land the top pick in the NBA draft lottery. If the conspiracy holds water (frozen water, that is!), the big-market New York Knicks’ envelope was ice cold. The Knicks would land the Georgetown University big-man. He would go on to lead New York to two NBA Finals appearances over the course of his storied career.

The financial aid question on the college supplements of schools that claim to be need-blind is, in a word, preposterous. And it’s not like we’re just pointing this out. We’ve been making this point for many years now. But we sense the winds are changing. We sense that sunlight can be a powerful antiseptic to hypocrisy. And so, from atop our soapbox in elite college admissions, we hereby scream for so-called need-blind colleges to eliminate this question once and for all from college supplements. The time has come, the time is now, Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now?

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