How Requesting Financial Aid Affects College Admissions Decisions

Contemplating and applying to colleges can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. It is crucial for students and their families to understand the admissions process, especially when applying for financial aid as well.

Each college has their own way of managing budgets and administrating decisions, so whether the student’s financial status is taken into consideration varies from college to college. Some institutions may be influenced by a student’s financial needs, and consider this along with the student’s talent and academic credentials when it comes to admissions. At other schools, a student’s ability to pay full tuition, as well as his or her level of academic qualifications, may factor into the decision. Some institutions, which consider applications on a need-blind basis, ignore the ability of an applicant to pay their tuition and process application packets from a purely academic and talent-based point of view. The financial situation of a student is generally worked out after they have been accepted.

Given today’s tight budgets, more colleges consider their applicants on a non-need-blind basis to ensure that they can support those students who cannot pay their own way. Since state college funding has been reduced over the last few years, out-of-state applicants who pay top dollar have been gaining more acceptances to the top state universities. In addition, applications from international students, who sometimes pay an even higher tuition than non-state residents, have also increased.

At many institutions, admissions administrators are continuously comparing potential students, and the students who are at an advantage are the ones who can pay without financial aid.