When prospective students submit their applications to UNC, admissions officials consider many factors — but applicants’ financial situation is not one of them.
UNC’s admissions policy is need blind, but the University faces significant challenges ahead in meeting financial aid obligations amid rising costs and shrinking state and federal support, underscoring the growing importance of private donations, said Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions.
“It’s harder to meet the need than it’s ever been,” he said. “We’ve been able to hold on, and we’re hoping to continue to hold on.”
Revelations surfaced last week that George Washington University misled applicants about the role their financial situations played in admissions decisions, raising fresh concerns that budgetary woes will force universities to rethink admissions policies. The Hatchet student newspaper reported that George Washington gave preference to wealthier applicants while wait-listing low-income ones — a practice that need-blind policy advocates fear is growing commonplace.
“A troubled economy is putting extra pressure on families to be able to pay for tuition and on colleges to raise not only tuition revenue but also revenue from private sources,” said Halley Potter, policy associate with The Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank.