College moves to need-blind admissions for international students
July 8, 2022
On Thursday, the College announced that it will move to include international students in its need-blind admissions policy beginning with the Class of 2027. Doing so, it will become the seventh institution of higher education in the country to enact the policy.
The move means that a student’s ability to pay will no longer be a selection factor for applicants who need a visa to study in the United States. The College will still meet all calculated need without institutional loans, in keeping with the loan-free policy it has maintained since 2008.
The shift to need-blind admissions for domestic students was enacted close to 50 years ago in pursuit of a more equitable admissions process, yet the policy had never applied to international students—who remain ineligible for federal financial aid packages—until Thursday’s announcement. Before the shift, international applicants’ need for financial aid would be considered as a factor between rounds of selection and the final in-committee review, limiting chances of admission for those who required financial assistance.
As a part of this change, returning international students who did not receive a financial aid package at their time of admission can apply for financial aid starting in the spring of 2023, according to Senior Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Claudia Marroquin ’06.
Marroquin welcomed the new policy as a step to promote equity, noting that her experience working as an international recruiter has made her appreciate the momentous nature of this development.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while … I’m just so excited that I get to be the dean that announces this,” Marroquin said. “[Before this policy,] there have been wonderful students who we’ve had to deny because we’ve had to make forced choices where their aid has determined whether they get admitted or not…I have been at that table; I understand how hard it was for our staff.”
Marroquin added that, while federal aid remains unavailable to international students, and visa restrictions are persistent obstacles for students, this step marks a significant advancement in making admissions more equitable. At the very least, a student’s admission will no longer be dependent on their financial situation.
“We still have to work through how we’ll change the mindset and the training for all of our staff, but our approach this fall will be that, as we’re reading applications, financial need will not factor into whether a reader proposes that the student moves forward or not,” Marroquin said.
Marroquin said that the change came as the administration evaluated its admissions policies and was buoyed by the College’s privileged financial standing.
“It’s one of those things that we realize [is the right thing to do] when we have the capability of being need-blind and treating all of our students in the same manner,” Marroquin said. “Obviously, we have always appreciated the experience and the backgrounds of our international students—again, just this questioning of ‘why haven’t we done it before?’”
This is a welcome change for students hailing from outside of the U.S. Sebastian Carranza ’23, an international student from Santa Tecla, El Salvador and senior interviewer in the admissions office, predicts that the change will further welcome international students by eliminating unnecessary stress about college admissions.
“I feel super happy [about this change] because people won’t have to go through the question mark of whether you got declined because you’re not good enough or if you just don’t have the resources,” said Carranza. “I think this is great news for a new generation of international students.”
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