“Need blind” admissions refers to the process of a college evaluating an admission application without regard to the student’s financial status. In other words, the admissions office makes its decisions without knowing the student’s financial situation.
To understand what this means it helps to know under what circumstances admissions might consider a student’s financial situation. When colleges are deciding among students to fill the last remaining positions in their classes, some might consider admitting a student with more financial resources over another student with less financial resources but better qualifications.
The reason is that the college knows that it will not be able to provide financial aid to help the better qualified applicant to attend the college. Therefore, rather than admit a student who will likely reject the college, the college admits students who are more likely to attend because they have the financial resources to do so.
Colleges and universities that state they are need blind are generally assumed to meet the full financial need of all accepted students. However, they will often exclude international students from this category.
Furthermore, just because a college is need blind doesn’t mean that it will meet a student’s financial need. For example, Brown states the following:
Need-blind admission does not require that an applicant with demonstrated financial need be awarded financial aid, nor does it require that 100% of the applicant’s demonstrated need be met.
Consider also that all public schools are need blind but few, if any, meet the financial need of all of their students.
The fact that most colleges aren’t need blind means that students looking for financial should apply to schools where the student is likely to be among the first accepted in a class rather than the last.