George Washington University Makes Embarrassing Confession About Admissions Process

The admissions office at D.C.'s George Washington University (GWU) confessed over the weekend that their admissions process, previously defined as "need-blind," is really "need-aware."

On Friday, GWU's Associate Vice President for Financial Assistance Dan Small confirmed for the first time that GWU's admissions officials do consider a students' financial need when choosing who to admit. "By being need-aware," said Small, "GW is better able to stay within its aid budget allotment as well as provide better aid packages for those students with financial need."

For years GWU has marketed their school as need-blind, meaning qualified high school applicants are offered admission regardless of their demonstrated financial need. By being need-blind, expensive private universities are able to attract young talent who might otherwise not be able to pay full tuition.

According to the GW Hatchet, former Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper said in a 2011 interview that GWU was "still looking for students who will fit in well here. We're still need-blind." As recently as last Saturday, the school's undergraduate admissions website stated that the application process was need-blind. (The statement "Requests for financial aid do not affect admissions decisions" has since been taken down.)

GWU is need-aware. Their admissions officers take the pool of students who meet the school's admissions standards, but are not among the top applicants, and hold their applications until the university has admitted a range of students at all income levels.

Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity called GWU's admissions process "dishonest." He said, "It's misleading. Need-blind would mean, 'We don't pay a bit of attention to financial considerations in making admissions decisions,' and GWU clearly does."

GWU's confession comes at a time when private colleges and public universities across the country are facing a dual-mandate to improve their scores in ever-competitive college rankings, and to do more with less money. By being need-aware, schools like GWU can stretch their endowments and still bring in strong applicants, as long as they can keep the secret.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Alexander de Avila

Alexander is a Political columnist at PolicyMic. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College's school of Government, focusing his studies on international politics and the impact of emerging technologies on government and war. He has experience working at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and as a research assistant at TSKB in Istanbul exploring alternative energy sources.

MORE FROM

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.