What are need-blind admissions?

What are need-blind admissions?

If you are applying to a US university, you will find that some of the institutions there have a need-blind admissions policy . If your application is for one of them, it is important that you understand this concept well. Therefore, we explain here everything you need to know about this type of application and what the consequences are for your enrollment at a university in the United States.

What are need-blind admissions?

The term “need-blind admissions” and the particulars of it vary from institution to institution. But in general, it means that a university has its own policy of not considering applicants’ financial resources when deciding whether to accept them or not.

This policy can be extended to all students, including international students, or it can be limited to US citizens only. In some cases (not all), universities adopt these policies in conjunction with full-need guarantees, which means that they promise to provide adequate financial assistance to enable participation by all accepted students.

So not all universities have need-blind admissions?

While it is true that all universities are looking for candidates who add positively in academic, intellectual and cultural terms, many institutions assess during the application process whether a student can afford tuition. This is because not all universities have the resources to help all students with financial difficulties.

But that does not mean that most universities only consider their ability to pay or not, or that this is the most important aspect of their application! However, when it comes to making decisions about students who are “matched”, financial resources can be the tiebreaker.

Do need-blind admissions mean that your tuition fees are all paid?

In short, no. Even if the institution in question is committed to helping all students pay the costs, it does not mean that you automatically won a 100% scholarship. You are expected to make some financial contribution, which is usually calculated based on an assessment of your parents ‘or guardians’ income and other resources.

The university can also expect you to take out loans to cover part of the costs and / or participate in a “ work-study ” program, which means working part-time along with your studies. However, most students admitted through a need-blind and full-need admissions policy also tend to receive good amounts of scholarships and other financial aid.

Which universities use the need-blind admissions policy?

Many American universities have a need-blind admissions policy , but – as we mentioned above – this does not always extend to international applicants and it does not always mean that admissions are accompanied by financial aid. Currently, only five US universities offer need-blind admissions and complete financial aid to all students, including foreigners. They are:

  • MIT
  • Harvard
  • Princeton
  • Yale
  • Amherst College


As you probably know by now, these are not just five American universities – they are five of the most prestigious colleges in the USA and, in fact, in the world. Currently, MIT is at the top of the QS World University Rankings, with Harvard in third, Princeton in 13th and Yale in 15th in the overall ranking.

Amherst College is a very small and specialized institution to reach the international ranking, but it has good ratings in assessments dedicated to education in Liberal Arts. The Curtis Institute of Music, which ranked eighth in the Performing Arts at QS World University Rankings by Subject, also has need-blind admissions for all students.

Amherst College

These are some of the most difficult American universities to enter, but if you are successful, each promises to provide adequate financial assistance to enable you to participate, regardless of your financial status or nationality. Many other US universities also offer generous scholarships and other forms of funding.

So, even if the college you are interested in does not have a need-blind admissions policy , do not let high tuition and other costs prevent you from applying. All US universities are required to offer a “net price calculator” on their websites, which allows prospective students to get an estimate of how much it would actually cost to study at the institution in question. This is based on each student’s financial circumstances, available scholarships and estimated cost of living.

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