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What changes to Need Blind or Need Aware will COVID bring for 2021's

dadof4kidsdadof4kids 988 replies87 threads Senior Member
I have another thread going working on an list for D21, but this seemed a distinctive question with maybe broader interest so I'm starting a new thread.

I guess really I'm just trying to get a feel for how people think this may be affected next. year. Here are a couple questions:

1. Will schools officially move from Need Blind to Need Aware?

My guess is that this is pretty limited. If COVID disruptions turn more permanent, then this likely will happen. But for this cycle most schools are going to try to not have big policy changes. Even though it kind of makes sense, I don't expect to see anyone make an official announcement that for this year only they will be need aware. It seems antithetical to the idea behind need blind.

2. Will Need Aware schools become more aware?

My guess is yes, possibly much more aware. If the soft target is say 50% of students full pay, maybe that moves to 60%. Or maybe the average aid for kids getting it drops from 80% to 50%, meaning that they still try to keep the same rough numbers on aid, but take on average kids who need only a bit rather than a large amount.

3. Will Need Blind schools deviate from their normal policy without making any official announcement.

This seems likely to me as well. Even if it isn't ever discussed out loud by the head of admissions, it could be happening. I look at it this way. If my boss just lost a client that provides 20% of the company's income, I am probably going to try to do a bit of corporate belt tightening, even if no one tells me to do so. Nothing major, but maybe a couple unnecessary expenses get cut or put off. Bringing it back to admissions, maybe they take the kid who spends 30 hours a week dancing, rather than the kid who spends 30 hours a week working. That's probably a poor example, but I bet admissions officers can tell you within $10,000 the aid most kids will get, even if they never see the financials. "Summer enrichment in Europe" kid is a heck of a lot more likely to be full pay than " shift manager at McDonalds during the school year" kid.

Thoughts? We are not a full need family, but we are also definitely not full pay. D's list is too long, I'm wondering if knocking off Need Aware schools would be a good way to narrow things down.
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Replies to: What changes to Need Blind or Need Aware will COVID bring for 2021's

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83340 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited June 26
    Regarding #3, colleges may define "need" less generously, without necessarily changing whether they are "need blind" or whether they "meet need", in order to reduce financial aid expenditure in a stealthy way.

    A college can make other FA policy changes, such as requiring non-custodial parent information for applicants with divorced parents if it did not do so before. This eliminates some potential FA-needy students.

    They may also alter admission criteria so that, even if they do not look at individual applicants' FA forms while evaluating for admission, they can tip the overall class toward lower FA need by overweighting criteria that correlate with less FA need (e.g. legacy, participation in ECs associated with higher SES, etc.) and underweighting those that correlate with more FA need (e.g. working), like your example.
    edited June 26
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    We really don’t know what the fall out is going to be. It’ll differ from school to school. I’d love to say that the need blind schools will remain that way and will announce changes if its no longer the case, but that has not always happened in the past. I doubt the need aware schools will announce their changes in admission criteria, and schools have not tended to be transparent in how they give out financial aid anyways.

    My intuitive guess is that full pay will be a valuable card, but JMO. There are going be schools hurting financially
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1172 replies9 threads Senior Member
    @kanfly I could not agree more. I think most of us haven't begun to realize just how bad the financial situation is, and will become.
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  • kanflykanfly 142 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Here is an interesting article. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/presidents-biggest-covid-19-worries-low-income-students-and-colleges-financial-strain

    Scroll down to the bottom where it talks about institutional needs.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30743 replies197 threads Senior Member
    @dadof4kids - Make sure your kid has at least one true safety that is affordable without aid other than the standard federal loans, that is an automatic admit for your kid, that has your kid's major, and is a place where they could be happy if all else goes wrong. Build the list up from there. If your kid can be happy at the truly safe place, anything else is gravy, and there won't be a need to panic at all.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 988 replies87 threads Senior Member
    edited June 27
    @dadof4kids - Make sure your kid has at least one true safety that is affordable without aid other than the standard federal loans, that is an automatic admit for your kid, that has your kid's major, and is a place where they could be happy if all else goes wrong. Build the list up from there. If your kid can be happy at the truly safe place, anything else is gravy, and there won't be a need to panic at all.

    I agree with that but think I am chasing a unicorn. However I will keep looking.

    In the meantime, she is auto-admit at the state U her mom and I both attended and where one brother is a current student.
    She should get scholarship money he doesn’t, and it is affordable even without it. Pre-med, so almost every 4 year school has a major that works. She should be admitted into honors program.

    Happy to attend is the last requirement for a safety. For reasons longer that it makes sense to rehash here, she will be extremely disappointed to go there. However, I think after a bit she will be ok with it.

    We will have a couple extra low matches on the list to hopefully avoid this scenario. Also once apps are done I plan on spending 3 months selling her on all the reasons it’s a great school for her. I think that’s all I can do.
    edited June 27
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  • kanflykanfly 142 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @dadof4kids Hang in there. So much has already changed in the last few months and there is a lot of uncertainty. It just adds to the stress.

    Maybe something positive will Aries from the whole situation.
    Perhaps she will also change her mind and perspective. Maybe she will want to be closer to home. Some unexpected schools could give her merit.
    I’m bracing for a wild ride over the next year.
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  • momrathmomrath 6022 replies39 threads Senior Member
    At privates, I think we will see a polarization of aid strategy, much as has already happened with international admissions. On one end of the spectrum will be full-pay students from wealthy families who will contribute to the colleges' financial needs. On the other will be students from low income families who will contribute to the colleges' diversity needs. Private colleges need both the income and the cultural approbation.

    How they will balance the two extremes will depend on their admissions philosophy and their financial resources. I don't think colleges that are need-blind now, will risk the bad publicity of going need-aware. However, they may try to recalibrate their targeted full-pay and low-pay balance by intensifying astute guesswork into their applicants' ability to pay.

    And in between? You guessed it, the middle class (and upper middle class) squeeze, on steroids.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83340 replies741 threads Senior Member
    momrath wrote: »
    How they will balance the two extremes will depend on their admissions philosophy and their financial resources. I don't think colleges that are need-blind now, will risk the bad publicity of going need-aware. However, they may try to recalibrate their targeted full-pay and low-pay balance by intensifying astute guesswork into their applicants' ability to pay.

    They won't necessarily have to guess for individual applicants. They just need to adjust the weighting of correlated factors (e.g. more legacies => less FA need overall, even though some individual legacies will need high FA) to shift the overall FA need of the admit class, while being need-blind for individual applicants.

    They can also adjust their definition of "need" to be less generous to reduce FA while still "meeting full need". Or they can expect a larger student work contribution, or expect the student to take a larger amount of federal direct loans (e.g. full amount rather than just the subsidized amount).

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  • NearlyDone2024NearlyDone2024 82 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @momrath "However, they may try to recalibrate their targeted full-pay and low-pay balance by intensifying astute guesswork into their applicants' ability to pay".

    You are exactly correct.

    Also @momrath: "At privates, I think we will see a polarization of aid strategy, much as has already happened with international admissions. On one end of the spectrum will be full-pay students from wealthy families who will contribute to the colleges' financial needs. On the other will be students from low income families who will contribute to the colleges' diversity needs. Private colleges need both the income and the cultural approbation."

    I've been thinking about the push towards test optional and how this will affect admissions. Colleges have multiple reasons for going TO, and with the class of 2021, it might make sense. But I won't be surprised to see TO at previously test mandatory colleges go well beyond the next freshman cohort since it also helps colleges do exactly what @momrath mentioned, without hurting their test score averages and appearance of selectivity.

    They won't say this to the general public but it makes sense to me.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83340 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited June 29
    I've been thinking about the push towards test optional and how this will affect admissions. Colleges have multiple reasons for going TO, and with the class of 2021, it might make sense.

    Main reason for test-optional this coming application season is the inability of many students to take the SAT/ACT due to COVID-19-based cancellations. Of course, it will become a "natural experiment", and colleges' institutional research departments will be tracking closely how well students admitted without SAT/ACT do in college relative to their other admission criteria and students who did submit SAT/ACT.
    edited June 29
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