Are colleges REALLY need blind when they say so?

i’m an international student and was wondering whether colleges that claim being need blind are ACTUALLY need blind. as far as my own research goes, there are 5 need blind universities for international students in the US currently.

is there any way to check genuinity of this claim? some news articles, interviews, maybe even court trials- anything would be helpful, or even an opinion on if colleges are really need blind. because i need almost hundred percent of financial need and am concerned about that aspect of my app hurting me.

When it comes to international students, very few schools are need blind in their admissions, but the few that say they are, I think you can rely upon. There are also schools that try to meet the needs of their admitted international students, but they are not need-blind in their admissions policies. However, you should look into these schools, because every year there are international students admitted to them who receive full need based packages, even though their admissions are not need blind.

Yes, the need blind schools are truly need blind but they are also the most competitive schools in the US. You will need to be one of the very best students in your region to have a shot.

Be sure to have affordable options in your home country and other parts of the world.

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What difference does it make? It is what it is. Will your selection strategy change based on what we say? Also be aware that when a college says they are need blind and meet full need, it is based on what they think you need, which may differ from what you think you need.

FWIW, yes, I believe that these schools who say they are need blind truly are.


There are plenty of schools that are need blind in admissions, but they don’t all meet the financial needs of their admits. Almost all public schools are need blind for admissions. Many limit the number of international students (and often even the number of out of state students).

You are looking for need blind schools that also meet full financial need, and those are rare. If you’ve found 5, concentrate on those 5.

There are only five schools that are need blind for admissions AND meet full need for all accepted international students.

There are many others that are need blind for admissions, but won’t likely meet your full need if you are accepted.

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Even those that “meet need” have their own definitions of “need”.

A number of students are confused by the term, “need blind”.

Many don’t understand that it simply means that when an applicant’s application is considered for admission, the ability to pay is NOT considered.

The admissions committees are “blind” to the student’s “need” for financial aid.

Most financial aid offices are in separate areas from undergraduate/ graduate admissions offices- sometimes they are in completely different buildings.

There are only five universities which are need blind but, these are high reach schools for everyone.

I agree that the colleges will have their own formulas for considering what your need is.

Actually, most (probably about 70%) colleges and universities are need blind for admissions. But most of them do not offer good financial aid or make any “meet need” promises to all (including international) students.

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The OP is international. So there are only 5 need blind options for them.

There may be only 5 which are need blind and claim to “meet need” for international students.

But there are thousands more which are need blind but make no claims to “meet need”.

Thank you for your opinions to anyone who commented here. For a few replies, I would like to follow up saying I have done my research on need blind universities for internationals that meet full need and am completely aware of what need blind means IRL. I only meant to ask if colleges really live up to their claims of being need blind in reviewing apps or if it’s just a way to bump up their college ranking. Not meant to be obnoxious in the previous sentence.

I’d say it doesn’t matter too much in this case what a college states as policy, because, in the real world, math works against policy. Those (meet-need) colleges that state they are need blind in admissions for internationals become that much more popular to internationals as a result. So, yes, level of need will not be considered, but the overwhelming majority of international applicants will be denied because of improbable admission chances. As a suggestion to get beyond this, research the full range of colleges that promise to meet full need for all accepted students, irrespective of origin. Then disregard whether they are need aware or need blind.


I said this upstream…

“ There are only five schools that are need blind for admissions AND meet full need for all accepted international students.”

Note that they may be need-blind and meet full need yet still have a policy of only admitting a certain percentage of Internationals or from certain counties. I’m not sure it’s worth spending a lot of time on because it’s virtually impossible to get in to them as an International unless you stand out in some really spectacular way.