Need-blind controversy: What other college newspapers had to say

It was the story heard across higher education. Last week, The Hatchet reported that the Office of Admissions lied about its admissions policy, insisting for years that it was need-blind even though financial need is considered in the bottom 10 percent of student applications.

Other college newspapers’ opinions pages ran with the story, reflecting on what it means for their universities and higher education as a whole. Here’s what they had to say:

The Duke Chronicle, Duke University:

George Washington University should not be lambasted for exercising a need-aware admissions policy. If a school does not have the financial resources to support a candidate who requires assistance, it simply may not be economically feasible to accept him or her. Misleading applicants from low-income families, however, into thinking that they have an equal chance of admission is morally repugnant. George Washington was likely attracted to the prestige, higher acceptance rate and higher yield provided by the charade of the need-blind tag.

The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia:

What is shocking about the GW situation is the school’s shamelessness in falsely advertising itself as a need-blind school. This deception is troubling on multiple counts. First, and most obviously, it misleads applicants who need financial aid. Second, the school wrongly profited from the “feel-good” effects of a need-blind policy. People like need-blind policies because such policies distract from the fact that universities are businesses, and they indicate a school’s commitment to diversity.

The GW administration must stop attempting to justify its dishonesty. To regain the public trust, the school must put forth neither equivocation nor explanation. Instead, it should offer an apology.

Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities:

GWU has updated its website to include an honest description of its admissions policy, but the policy itself isn’t going anywhere. Nor, technically, does it need to. GWU is by no means the only school in the United States that includes financial need in its admissions process. In all probability, then, the hullabaloo surrounding GWU will eventually fade into the background of the news and be forgotten. Debates on how to best reform higher education, however, will persist. And that is an issue that can’t be forever postponed.

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