The Super Sneaky College of the Holy Cross

College of Holy Cross, Holy Cross Admissions, Admission to Holy Cross
Shame on College of the Holy Cross for sneakily changing its need-blind admissions policy to need-aware (photo credit: George Rypysc III).

College of the Holy Cross’ admissions office recently got caught doing something not so holy. We might suggest its director of admissions should attend confession. As the loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well, we believe that need-blind admissions is essentially malarkey. And why? Because while so many of our nation’s elite colleges are quick to tout that they don’t factor in a student’s ability to pay when weighing their case for admission, if that were truly the case then why would admissions officers so often be privy to the answer to the prompt that reads: “Do you need financial aid?”

Holy Cross Got Caught Sneakily Changing its Need-Blind Admissions Policy to Need-Aware

The truth is that most highly selective colleges are not need-blind; rather, they’re need aware. Of course they seek to admit as many low-income, first-generation students as possible. But the fact is they also rely on tuition dollars to subsidize the educations of these very students. If these elite colleges were truly need-blind — as so many of them assert — then they’d risk admitting too many students who needed aid; they’d risk having to dip into their endowments which they’re of course loathe to do.

College of the Holy Cross has previously claimed to be need-blind, to admit students without regard to financial need. But Holy Cross student reporters for The Spire recently noticed a change on the school’s admissions site with regard to financial aid. And so, as Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “The Shrinking World of Need-Blind Admissions,” the capable student reports then took a screen grab of last year’s policy as well as this year’s — juxtaposing them. It seems Holy Cross’ admissions officers thought they could change their need-blind policy to a need-aware policy without having to announce the change in a press release of some sort. The admissions office was so proud to tout its need-blind policy but to then have to switch to need-aware? They probably didn’t think that would play so well. Maybe they hoped nobody would notice. No such luck.

Holy Cross Got Caught, But Others Are Just As Guilty

College of the Holy Cross got caught with its hand in the cookie jar. But Holy Cross isn’t alone. So many schools claim to have need-blind policies when in fact they do not. It’s high time so many of our nation’s elite schools stop trying to claim they admit students on a need-blind basis when they truly are cognizant of financial need: the vast majority of our nation’s elite schools are need-aware. Holy Cross got caught. Many schools haven’t yet been caught. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as guilty; their hands are in the same cookie jar, too. Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Holy Cross stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Who, me? Yes, you! Couldn’t be! Then who?

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1 Comment

  • James C says:

    why dont you mention by name the other many colleges that have abandoned their need blind admissions? Wesleyan and Haverford are just two that come to mind. And I’m sure they didnt take out an ad in the New York Times to announce it. And I dont appreciate the confession reference. I think you’re usually spot on and your expose is warranted but snarky religious allusions are in poor taste. And you should be called out on it. That has nothing to do with “telling it like it is.”

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