Buying Your Way Into College

An interesting take on the current state of affairs, from the Wall Street Journal.

Buying Your Way Into College

Forget the standard advice that everyone should apply for financial aid. This year, forgoing aid applications may actually boost the chances of getting accepted.

Thanks to the recent recession, more colleges are giving seats to wealthier students—especially international or wait-listed applicants—who are willing to pay full freight. Last fall, Williams College began admitting more international students who could pay full tuition, and will reintroduce loans into its financial-aid packages this year. Middlebury College and Wake Forest University began looking at wait-listed students’ financial status as a factor in admissions last year. And Tufts University, which was able to admit all students on a “need-blind” basis—where they pledge to admit students regardless of their ability to pay—in 2007 and 2008, has reverted to being “need-aware” for some applicants—meaning that it takes an applicant’s financial status into account.

At the same time, some elite schools, including Stanford University, Yale University and Dartmouth College, that still have need-blind admissions policies in place for all U.S. students, are adjusting their aid formulas in ways that are raising costs for families with higher incomes.

In the years leading up to the financial crisis, private colleges—many of which hold need-blind policies—expanded their aid budgets to attract a more-diverse student body. Some schools dropped loans from aid packages in favor of grants and work-study programs, while others expanded their need-blind policies to more students, such as foreign applicants.

Read the rest of the article at the WSJ:

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