If you dream of going to Princeton or Harvard but think they’re only for rich kids, you need to think again.
That assumption is common — and false. And it could prevent you from attending the school of your dreams.
The truth is these elite universities offer “need-blind admissions” — a practice every student should know about.
What are need-blind admissions?
In addition to your grades, extracurriculars, test scores, and essays, colleges look at another factor when deciding whether to admit you: your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA, which outlines your family’s financials, helps schools determine how much you’d be able to pay. It matters because each college has a limited amount of money — and therefore can admit only a certain number of students who will need significant financial aid.
At least that’s how it works at the vast majority of colleges across the country. The process is different at the approximately 100 schools that practice need-blind admissions.
At these need-blind schools, the admissions offices are totally separate from the financial aid offices, meaning no one sees your FAFSA until you’ve been admitted to the school.
Translation? If you have the chops, you’ll get in — no matter how much money you have.
Which schools offer need-blind admission?
These need-blind schools aren’t no-name universities; they include the most elite colleges in the country, such as Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and Stanford. (For a full list, visit Edvisors.)
These top-notch schools are able to offer need-blind admissions because of their massive endowments — investment funds bankrolled by donations, mostly from alumni.
Princeton’s endowment, for example, is valued at $22.8 billion. In other words, it doesn’t depend on each student’s tuition money for its survival.
That’s why some schools take it a step further. In addition to being need-blind, 66 schools claim to meet 100 percent of “demonstrated financial need.”
Here’s what that means.
Let’s say, based on your FAFSA, the government determines your family can afford to pay $10,000 per year toward your college education. And your chosen school, Teletubby University, costs $50,000 per year.
If it meets 100 percent of demonstrated need, it will offer you a package of grants and scholarships, work-study, and student loans worth the difference of $40,000 per year. So there won’t be any scrambling to figure out where the money will come from each semester.
Best of all are schools with a “no-loans policy.” Their financial aid packages consist entirely of grants, scholarships, and work-study — which, unlike student loans, you don’t have to pay back.
While some colleges extend this policy only to students from low-income families, others offer it to anyone with a gap between what their family can pay and what the college costs.
For a comprehensive list of these colleges and their policies, check out this article from PrepScholar.
How could need-blind admission help you?
If you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, this is big news: The schools that offer the best education also might be the most affordable.
So when you’re applying to colleges, don’t overlook the prestigious institutions. They could, after all, end up being cheaper than a state school.
All you have to do now is get in.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 4/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.24% – 13.24%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|6.08% – 7.22%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|