Wash U Going Need-Blind

Wash U has announced it will no longer consider a student’s ability to pay when weighing their case for admission.

Washington University in St. Louis has announced that the school will be going need-blind, effective immediately. As part of the announcement, the highly selective institution will invest an additional $1 billion in financial aid for its students. And how come the university is able to make this news? Well, a 65% return on its managed endowment pool during the 2020-2021 academic year creates all sorts of possibilities, according to a piece up on Forbes by Michael T. Nietzel entitled “Washington University Is Going Need-Blind In Admissions.” But as loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well, we believe many elite universities with “need-blind” admissions policies aren’t being particularly truthful. And why not? Because these schools are not truly need-blind. Rather, they’re need-aware.

Case in point? Look no further than Washington University in St. Louis. The school announced that it would be going “need-blind” effective immediately. Well, if it’s effective immediately, then how come the school’s admissions committee still asks the following question on the Wash U supplement?: “Are you applying for need-based financial aid? Select ‘Yes’ if you will need financial aid to attend Washington University. We will share this information with our office of Student Financial Services so they can send you helpful tips about applying for financial aid and remind you of key deadlines. We meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for admitted students, so be sure to apply for aid by the deadline.*” If the university were truly “need-blind” effective immediately, then admissions officers wouldn’t be able to see the answer to this prompt on the very application they’re evaluating for admission. If the school were truly “need-blind” effective immediately, admissions officers would never be privy to this answer. Rather, it would be on a separate document that admissions officers could never see.

If Wash U is serious about going “need-blind,” then it’s time to put their money where their mouth is. It’s nice that the school is lauding the news in lots of news outlets but until the institution removes this question from its supplement, it’s just a whole lot of noise.


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  • Maria Iglesias says:

    When my son applied to college we did not know about Questbridge. We were a 100% need/Pell Grant family. He was Valedictorian with great scores and a URM. By the time he applied I wonder how much of the school’s financial aid had already been allocated to their 100% need URM demographic? Probably all of it, since our son was rejected from all the top 20 schools he applied to. I really think having to check that box asking if we needed aid really hurt us. I wonder what the writers of this post think? Are we hurt a lot or a little? We will never know.

  • Tess Olsen says:

    Good ole Early Decision U aka Wash U, the school where RD applicants are lucky to get waitlisted. This school had been gaming the rankings world for so long they are trickier than a magician in a Fellini play. I don’t think people choose this school over top 50’s but their rank is absurdly like top 15 every single year. And now they are deceiving applicants and ranking gods through the ole “need-blind, nah we’re just kidding we are need-aware” trick! Funny how they are too lazy to just ask the FA office ‘Hey, who applied for aid?’ instead of asking everyone ‘We are need-blind, but do you need money? We don’t care, really, we are just curious!’ And what’s stopping a university from deceiving people by saying we’re need blind, and they do not ask any questions about your financial situation, but then ask the financial aid office to inform them who applied for aid? Kudos to the Coach for pointing out the blatant hypocrisy here. Who are we fooling though -Wash U are just liars. I think they have one of the richest student bodies in the nation though. And the biggest ED pool comprising the entering class- 60-65%? Way to game the system-again- Wash U you dirty rats.

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