Financial Aid Cynicism

<p>My parents and relatives are very cynical about the whole financial aid process. I'm applying to Columbia ED and other ivy league schools, which are all need-blind, but my parents don't believe they are really need-blind. They think that they just say that because they have to, and look how "convenient" it is that the financial aid office is in the same office as admissions. They say that if you check off applying for financial aid, it will put you at a disadvantage, because they will take people with similar stats who don't apply for financial aid over you. They even want me to check off not-applying for financial aid on my application, even though I really am/ I don't listen to this nonsense, but I want to know what your opinions on it are.</p>

<p>Also, do you guys know how generous financial aid is at columbia, esp. for early decision?</p>

<p>"Need blind" does NOT mean that they are "blind to who needs aid." It simply means that they supposedly will not make the decision about any INDIVIDUAL applicant based on whether they need aid. However, as many have pointed out in these forums, each school, year by year, has the approximately the same percentage of people getting aid each year. This would be an amazing coincidence --- but OF COURSE they know how many full freight payers they need!</p>

<p>You can still be cynical, but just watch out for how people define "need-blind."</p>

<p>By the way, not checking that you are applying for financial aid is a lie that could backfire, since the aid office will get the application!</p>

<p>Voronwe (former Ivy interviewer)</p>

<p>wait.. (as a student who needs financial aid AND have cynical view in fact.) i thought need blind schools (MIT, JHU, Harvard) say something like "no disadvantage or advantage whether you apply for financial aid or not".. but as voronwe said, if they do know how many full payers are needed in their school(also means how many financial aid candidates are "needed") and pick full payers(also means financial aid candidates) up to such a point(almost as a quota), it will favor full payers(no financial aid candidates) greatly.</p>

<p>dont you guys think?
(if it's all true, it can become very solid court case!)</p>

<p>p.s : i called JHU and asked this problem, and this guy on JHU just simply repeat what's already on website, "there is no disadvantage whether you check off 'apply for financial aid'". --- i think if they wanna be really need BLIND, they should not even make a box to check for financial aid. and let students to apply financial aid after their acceptance.</p>

<p>let students to apply financial aid after their acceptance.</p>

<p>That would be a disaster because the aid process can be long, drawn out (missing forms, verification of tax information) and with less than 4 weeks between being admitted and making the decision to attend, what happens if you still don't know how much you can afford to pay?</p>

<p>This issiue was discussed at lenth in one of the parents forum,. You must remember there is other information on you application (inspite of the check box) that gve indicatons: the neighborhood in which you live, what your parents do for a living, thier educational level, what school you attend (if some one is from Andover or Exter, they can be a pretty accurate asumption that there are some bucks some where. Even public schools are in every affluent neighborhoods.)</p>

<p>i see the need to apply financial aid before acceptance. but i still dont see the reason for a check box. If they will judge people by occasion, school, education level and so forth, let them.</p>

<p>If you really need financial aid then you should check the box and apply for aid because there would be nothing worse than getting accepted and having to come up with 40K becuause you thought you were out-gaming the system</p>

<p>Some of the very top colleges -- Harvard, etc. -- want to attract students who are low income because the colleges have a hard time attracting low income students. The colleges want to be diverse places, and to offer opportunities to top students from all sorts of backgrounds. At places like Harvard, being low income could tip students into admission.</p>

<p>There are a lot of opinions about whether even the schools that swear they are needblind truly are. However, if you need financial aid, it is a moot point since you will not be able to afford to go if you do not get the money. And some schools will not consider you the following year for financial aid unless some catastrophe event occurs as they budget the upperclass financial aid according to what they need freshman year. </p>

<p>In my opinion, the schools that announce that they are need blind, like the ivies truly are. In fact, it can be a factor in your favor that you are not a "silver spoon" child. Applicants in the most selective schools are assessed taking into account the opportunities and advantages they have enjoyed. Needing financial aid is just one factor on the list that shows a priviliged childhood. </p>

<p>Schools ask if you need financial aid for expediency in administrative procedures. When a financial aid applicant is accepted, his info is immediately sent to the financial aid department for the aid package determination. The department is not bombarded with all of the accepted applicants at one time. And it is not an easy task coming assessing those forms--once you fill them out you'll see what I mean. so there is a pragmatic reason for asking.</p>

<p>Even schools that are not need blind do not just throw out an applicant for checking "yes" to the financial aid box. First of all, you may not qualify for any. Second of all, an analysis of your finances needs to be made to find out how much aid you need. It is a whole different story needing $5000 vs a full ride. One school basically accepts its student on a need blind basis and designates its interim accept list with "A", "B", and "C" acceptees. The list goes to financial aid and they give as much as they can to get the A-list candidates, the B-list get more loans and workstudy and those on the C list get what is left until the money runs out. But the cuts and awards are NOT made by admissions--they are done by the financial aid office. Whether a kid needs aid or not does not determine their A,B,C status. If you ever see an admissions office at work, you can see that determining the need of the applicant would be an unwieldy piece of info to have to work with. Better you first decide where the candidate stands in the applicant pool and then determine whether you can afford him.</p>