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What does need-aware mean?

Hey, I've been hearing the term 'need-aware' tossed around in college discussions. Can anyone explain what need-aware colleges are and how they compare to need-blind colleges when it comes to financial aid decisions?

6 months ago

Hey there! Sure thing, I'd be happy to explain the difference between need-aware and need-blind colleges.

Need-aware colleges are institutions that take an applicant's financial needs into consideration when making admission decisions. In other words, if a college is need-aware, it might be less likely to admit students who require significant financial aid in order to attend.

These colleges might worry that admitting too many students with financial need could strain their financial aid budget. However, need-aware colleges still strive to provide financial aid to admitted students - they just need to be more aware of the constraints of their budgets.

On the other hand, need-blind colleges do not consider an applicant's financial circumstances during the admissions process. Admission decisions at these schools are made without looking at a student's financial need, ensuring that all applicants are considered equally, regardless of their ability to pay for college. Once admitted, need-blind colleges often commit to meeting 100% of a student's demonstrated financial need, either through grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, or loans.

In summary, the key difference between need-aware and need-blind colleges is in how they view an applicant's financial circumstances during the admissions process. Need-aware colleges do take financial need into consideration, which could affect admissions decisions, whereas need-blind colleges keep that information separate from the admissions process.

Keep in mind that need-aware colleges aren't judging anyone for their financial circumstances. All institutions would choose to be need-blind if they could, but that policy requires a massive financial investment, one which many schools simply can't afford to make.

Of course, it's essential to look into the financial aid policies of the schools you're considering to understand how they might impact you. If you have significant financial need, applying to need-blind colleges may be beneficial, but don't count out need-aware colleges entirely, as they still offer financial aid to many students. Plus, need-blind colleges tend to also be some of the most competitive in the country (having more money for financial aid also means more money for other resources that enhance the college experience), so you'll want to be careful to have some less-selective schools on your list as well.

Good luck in your college search!

6 months ago

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