Most copies of the February issue of The Blue and White have been snatched up, but here’s looking forward to the March issue, on campus next week. Today, managing editor Anna Bahr continues her three-part series on the experience of student debt at Columbia. To review the first piece, which focuses on taking out loans as an undergraduate, please click here, and look forward to the final installment, addressing debt at the School of General Studies, in the upcoming issue.
Jean Pierre Salendres, CC ’14, applied to 15 universities. With the exception of Dartmouth, he checked off all of the Ivies on his Common Application. Of all his acceptance letters, only those from Columbia and University of Pennsylvania offered him financial aid—a surprisingly small handout from schools which publicly boast the magnanimity of their aid programs. Beyond the prestige, students hope for acceptance at these schools because of their nearly comprehensive coverage for undergraduates. But the generous aid boasted about in admissions pamphlets comes with an asterisk. Where American students are guaranteed a financially objective evaluation of their applications, international students have no such luck.
The principle behind need-blind admissions gestures toward affirmative action: it is intended to ensure socio-economic diversity, to address the growing income gap, and to “level the playing field” for disadvantaged applicants. Very few universities in this country offer any form of need-blind admission. Most that do are selective colleges with deep pockets; and most of these guarantee at least meeting “demonstrated need.” But it’s a pricey policy. Wesleyan University recently announced that it would end its need-blind admissions because of its high cost. Grinnell College plans to review its aid policies because its process is financially unsustainable.