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January 14, 2019

Need Blind Versus Need Aware

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College applications are stressful as it is, and one of the major factors in decision making in the process is the possibility for both scholarships and financial aid. For those looking for financial aid, it is important to note the different options throughout the application process. To understand how universities and colleges make their decisions about students who need college aid and whether or not you will be able to afford to pay their tuition and get your degree at their institution, you will need to know the difference between a need blind policy and a need aware policy.  


What does need blind mean? Universities and colleges with a need blind admission policy do not consider your financial situation when deciding whether to admit you as a student and their institute. Experts say in most cases, the majority of financial aid will go to students who prove a financial need. This approach can have a negative impact on students because many schools who show need blind admission policy will not provide sufficient money in their financial aid packages to allow students to attend their institute without financial struggles.

Admission experts put this policy into perspective. Let’s say there is a teenager who was raised by a single mother with a career as a receptionist at the local doctors’ office, gets into a school that is $45,000. However, the financial package the institute offered includes a $20,000 grant. Given this, the family now has to find where they can get the other $25,000 to pay off.


Universities and colleges make most of its admission decisions without considering the student’s need for college money. They may reserve spots for students who can meet the full cost of attendance without the need for loans, grants, and scholarships. Understanding this difference is crucial in deciding where someone wants to attend college.

Now you may be asking the question, which admissions policy is best for me? While the answer may not be clear, both systems have apparent drawbacks which may make the diction easier to weigh for your personal situation. According to The College Solution, need blind schools often run into the issue of gaping. Gapping is when certain groups of people do not receive the most optimal funding for their Financial. This is because need blind schools would not be able to grant all of the optimal financial aid packages without massively stressing their budget and putting themselves in precarious financial standings. Need aware schools, on the other hand, can manage their applications to meet their bottom line while also providing a proper financial support package to all who need it. The drawback with this system is that the groups of students who tend to balance of the line of acceptance and rejection now have financial ability calculated into their admission into the institution, and will ultimately favor those who can pay more tuition. Neither may be perfect, but both need blind and need aware systems were created to attempt to best benefit the students and families involved in the application process, and help find a balance of fair tuition while keeping the application process as focused on the students’ achievements as possible.


Updated 1/14/19

Edited by Brandon Sires