Need-based admissions refers to financial aid based on a student’s financial circumstances. It is usually associated with federal grants such as the Pell Grant, but is also applied to nonprofit and private institutions. In addition to federal aid, there are various scholarships and need-based programs that are offered by many foundations.
The Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid. This is done by completing a variety of questions about a student’s assets, family income, and other financial information. When completed, the information is then compiled and a student is deemed eligible for need-based federal aid. A student’s financial need is calculated based on the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) and Earnings First Commitment (EFC) and is usually a difference between the total cost of attending college and the family’s contribution to that education.
Most colleges do not explicitly state that their financial aid policies are need-blind. However, there are a few schools that do. These include Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University. Others, such as Dartmouth College, Boston College, and Duke University, have a need blind admissions policy.
Need-blind policies often result in a more competitive admissions process for students. This is because universities that are need-blind do not consider a student’s academics, socioeconomic status, or family income. Instead, they look at the student on a merit-only basis. Generally, this means that the best and most qualified applicants will be accepted. But this doesn’t mean that a need-blind school will always be able to meet all of a student’s needs. Oftentimes, they will offer some funding, but it may not be enough to cover the full cost of a college education.
While need-blind schools are not necessarily the best choice for all students, they can be a great option for those who are moderately or low-income. Some need-blind schools have a high rate of funding, so they can afford to accept students with a wide range of financial backgrounds. Also, need-blind schools tend to have top-tier academic departments, which means that students will receive an excellent education without a loan burden.
Some schools have specialized financial aid programs for local students. These can be extremely valuable to a moderate- to low-income student, especially since the cost of a college education continues to increase. If you are interested in a need-blind school, you should research them carefully before applying.
The financial aid application typically includes one or more supplemental documents, such as a CSS Profile application. Students should be realistic about their ability to get financial aid and should have a conversation with a financial aid counselor before deciding on a college. They should also create a budget, so they can determine which schools are affordable.
Some need-aware universities offer both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with demonstrated talent. Need-based scholarships are awarded to students who need a degree or professional training, but can’t afford the costs.