On Tuesday, the College announced that Bowdoin will eliminate its application fee for first generation applicants and applicants seeking financial aid. This step will have a significant impact in increasing the accessibility of Bowdoin’s application process. Bowdoin has taken a clear stance asserting that ensuring inclusivity in our campus community is at the core of the College’s mission.

This systematic change will positively impact the lives of prospective and current students. As one of the nation’s most elite institutions, Bowdoin is in a position to lead the community of higher education towards a future of deliberate and active institutional change. We challenge Bowdoin to continue to be a leader among its peers in addressing national concerns, as it did by becoming SAT-optional, removing loans from financial aid packages and now waiving the application fee for the aforementioned groups of applicants.

In deciding to waive the application fee for students for whom it would pose a financial barrier, Bowdoin has recognized that the student body’s composition must change from what it is today in order to fulfill the Offer of the College. This is an acknowledgment of the College’s obligation to the Common Good, decisively affirming the view that a diverse student body is necessary in order to maintain the College’s educational excellence. Most importantly, waiving the fee expands our notions of ‘diversity,’ demonstrating that creating a well-rounded student body is not only about considering gender and race—socioeconomic status is of equal importance.

The progress, however, should not stop here. Eliminating the application fee will bring students from new and different backgrounds to campus. Bowdoin has brought these students to the campus but now it needs to make the campus resources equally available to everyone or the cause will be lost. There are explicit institutional changes that should be made to make that possible. To ensure true accessibility, it is Bowdoin’s responsibility to thoughtfully engage with this diversity in background and experience.

This involves reflecting upon the different organizations and resources on campus. Do those organizations and resources provide the necessary support such that every student can partake in or utilize them? Additionally, reflection on what the network of Bowdoin students, professors, and alumni means is also important. Is the Bowdoin network the same for every student? Asking questions and having conversations like these is at the core of productive change. Waiving fees is a good start, but let’s continue these conversations on every level. And most importantly, let’s make sure that our campus community adapts with them.

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Marina Affo, Julian Andrews, Steff Chavez, Grace Handler, Nickie Mitch, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert. ​