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Wesleyan no longer need blind

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Replies to: Wesleyan no longer need blind

  • anothermom2anothermom2 Registered User Posts: 1,753 Senior Member
    There is something that I really don't fully understand about the whole need blind thing at some highly selective schools that accept international students on a non need blind basis. It has been noted that some schools have taken higher numbers of non needy internationals to get more full pay students. I guess it depends on where you live, but in the area where I live there are full pay students who are waitlisted from schools that they would have liked to have attended (presumably qualified because waitlisted) and must go to schools lower on the selectivity scale. Why do the schools decide to fill their full pay basket with internationals, rather than current citizens/residents?

    I heard from the guidance counselor at my D's school, that Swarthmore (which I consider to be among the schools that applicants to Wesleyan might also apply to) would be taking more international students and that it would hurt the numbers of students accepted in our area. I actually don't know if this turned out to be true, but this is what was reported.

    I also agree that ED should not be rejected out of hand for students with need. That should be a lesson for cc parents if they are not already aware of this. There are many stories of students with need rejecting the ED offer because it was not sufficient. This may be for a variety of reasons, and I would not assume that an offer that really is very generous and in line with EFC falls in that category.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,188 Super Moderator
    There is something that I really don't fully understand about the whole need blind thing at some highly selective schools that accept international students on a non need blind basis. It has been noted that some schools have taken higher numbers of non needy internationals to get more full pay students.

    the reason that many schools are not need blind for international students are that the student must demonstrate that they have the funds to pay for the school in order to obtain a visa, whether it is from school based FA, Money from their home government, money from their family or any combination of the three. The visas are signed off by the college.

    Also keep in mind that international students are not eligible for federal or state aid, like students from the US. They are not eligible for federal direct loan or PLUS loans in the US as if a parent is credit worthy they can borrow up to the entire cost of attendance through a PLUS loan. International students cannot work out side of the college campus.

    With the exception of a few deep pocket schools, and even they have FA budgets, most schools will not have the ability to fund pretty much every student who may be academically eligible for admission.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    According to "A is for Admissions", a book on selective college admissions, there are soooooo many very qualified international students that it is difficult to fund all of them even for a school as well endowed as Dartmouth which does meet full need for non international students. It's all a matter of where to draw the line when there are limited funds.

    As for accepting full pay international students over non full pay US students, again it is a financial decision. There is some suspicion that some state schools are accepting more OOS, all things equal and maybe even giving a slight advantage to full pay OOS in order to get more money. THis is a business, you know, and the bottom line has to be met.
  • LadyDianeskiLadyDianeski Registered User Posts: 2,064 Senior Member
    Yet another reason why I'm so glad Son #1 chose a state university (Bama) with a super-generous merit package for National Merit Finalists. He loves it there, and he finds the Honors College plenty challenging, especially in his second major (Classics).

    Why did we even have him apply to private schools? What were we thinking? NO school is worth that kind of money. No, not even the top Ivies. And I say that as the wife of a guy who earned his PhD at Harvard. (At the time, I myself was a student at Harvard Divinity School.)

    We will not make the same mistake with Son #2. If you're middle-middle-class in this uncertain economy, public education is the only way to go.
  • MAsteveMAsteve Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Children from poorer families are already disadvantaged as compared to ones from wealthier ones. For Wesleyan to further disadvantage those from poorer families is shameful.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,188 Super Moderator
    Children from poorer families are already disadvantaged as compared to ones from wealthier ones. For Wesleyan to further disadvantage those from poorer families is shameful.

    Wesleyan is still a Questbridge partner school. Poorer families who apply through questbridge as well as poorer outstanding students that the college really wants will still have a way to attend the school.
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,539 Senior Member
    When schools like Wesleyan switch from need-blind to need-conscious, it is always a decision that is very difficult to make, and it is painful to those within the institution who must make it. But it is the only way that the institution is able to meet the financial need of as many applicants as possible, including those at the upper end of the applicant pool who need full funding.

    As I pointed out in an earlier post, need-conscious colleges and universities typically rate their applicants without regard to their ability to pay. So it is usually those who were borderline applicants to begin with who may get cut from the admit pile if their need is high.

    Colleges that move from need-blind to need-conscious usually do so because the number of students with need has grown significantly, and they are attempting to accept and fund as many of those students as possible.
  • smartalic34smartalic34 Registered User Posts: 774 Member
    Children from poorer families are already disadvantaged as compared to ones from wealthier ones. For Wesleyan to further disadvantage those from poorer families is shameful.

    The money is simply not there. Two decades of spending fundraised dollars has finally taken its toll (more investing of fundraised dollars has since been instituted). To stay need-blind, Wesleyan would have to increase the amount of loans in its aid awards, and it is choosing to have the low-income students that are admitted not have a large amount of loans when they graduate. It's a trade-off, but Wesleyan is not taking this change lightly.

    http://roth.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2012/06/04/financial-aid-now-more-than-ever/
  • MAsteveMAsteve Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    "The money is simply not there." Well, the endowment has over $600 million for a school with 2800 students. It is one of the best endowed colleges in the country given its size (better than a few of the Ivies in fact). Given this wealth, I think any bias (however minor) against students from lower income families says more about their priorities and ethics than it does about their resource constraints.
  • johnwesleyjohnwesley - Posts: 4,610 Senior Member
    Well, the endowment has over $600 million for a school with 2800 students. It is one of the best endowed colleges in the country given its size (better than a few of the Ivies in fact). Given this wealth, I think any bias (however minor) against students from lower income families says more about their priorities and ethics than it does about their resource constraints.

    Look at it this way: you run a restaurant. One day out of the goodness of your heart, you decide to give free meals to poor customers on a first come, first serve basis. For the first couple of weeks, everything is fine; a trickle of disadvantaged people have heard through the grapevine that you are providing this community service; you still have plenty of paying customers to cover the cost. Result: happiness.

    Now, fast-forward two or three months later: your program is so successful that people are coming from all over different parts of the city just in order to eat at your restaurant for free. Why? Because times are tough, the recession has lasted too long, the government is cracking down on food-stamps and even so-called, soup kitchens are starting to charge "contributions" in order to stay open. Suddenly, you have become "the only game in town" and customers requesting free meals have overtaken the number of "full-pay" customers. Result: your restaurant closes down - and, NO ONE eats. Zilch. Bupkus.

    Now, you could have instituted a limit on the number of free meals, something like "the first 30 customers who have proof of need", and possibly stayed in business a little longer. But, you chose to keep your "priorities and ethics" intact and go down in flames.

    Which scenario is more selfish in the long-run?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    The analogy does not quite hold here. Wesleyan is not anywhere close to going broke with the budget it has. Though I don't fault them for going this way, and give them credit for making it clear that they are now need aware, it does say something about its priorities, given its financial situation.

    I remember when Oberlin decided to go with merit awards to "buy" the students it wanted the most over giving more complete financial aid packages. It all comes down to a business decision and ratings.
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    As much as I did not care for the nose-in-the-air attitude of Wesleyan adcoms as described in 'The Gatekeepers' from about 10 years back, I applaud the college now for actually saying what they are doing, and stating its potential ramifications down the road.

    They see that what has gone on in the past is not sustainable long-term. Other colleges will choose to 'say' they're still need-blind, and use every trick in the book to circumvent it.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    I agree, Jnm.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Registered User Posts: 1,753 Senior Member
    Re the 600,000,000 endowment and the comments of "shameful" actions, I would say that you have not run the numbers. If we look at the endowment with sound actuarial principles, we will see that Wesleyan actually exceeds the norm with scholarship funds. A prudent use of the endowment would dictate that NO MORE than 4-5% per year be used. In this way the endowment should last - FOREVER, which is a good goal for such an fund. 5% of 600,000,000 is 30 million per year. If you look at Wesleyan's common data set, they gave (per 2011-2012) 43, 999, 247 in institutional grants. How can they give more than the 5%? Gifts from donors, better than average investment results, etc.

    However, in times of declining investment return (read now, and last few years), it is very difficult to get above average returns. I would say that they have done well with the scholarships, not shamefully.

    I personally attended college and graduate school with some scholarship funds, so I do not come to the discussion with a bias of privilege. However, with my education, I did learn how funds and money should be managed so that the fund, hopefully, can be sustained in perpetuity. It would be poor management to do otherwise.
  • smartalic34smartalic34 Registered User Posts: 774 Member
    MAsteve wrote
    Well, the endowment has over $600 million for a school with 2800 students. It is one of the best endowed colleges in the country given its size (better than a few of the Ivies in fact). Given this wealth, I think any bias (however minor) against students from lower income families says more about their priorities and ethics than it does about their resource constraints.

    Actually, if you do the math and calculate endowment per student, Wesleyan is poorer than every Ivy League school (by at least 50%) and every NESCAC school except Bates, Trinity, and Conn College, none of which are need-blind. Also poorer than Vassar, Swarthmore, Oberlin, Grinnell, and Haverford. Wesleyan may be one of the wealthier schools in the country, but if you look at the list of need-blind schools, Wesleyan is poorer than practically every single one. As I said, the endowment money is simply not there. Simple as that.

    Edit: As anothermom2 said, endowment payouts should not exceed more than 5% per year, which is what allows them to remain and grow in perpetuity. Wesleyan, however, was spending as high as 7%, which is a no-no. That's been rectified, but there was overspending in the past that has led to this situation.
This discussion has been closed.