The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Need-aware implementation follows plan—thus far

By Amy Lieberman

The admissions office sent out the last of its 1,667 acceptance letters to admitted students this week, of which need-aware admissions affected approximately five to 10 percent, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lorne Robinson said.

The percentage matches the one projected in the Resource Planning Commission’s report last year that recommended that the college switch to need-aware admissions.

The new implementation of this policy, which the Board of Trustees passed in January of last year, calls for admissions officers to take applicants’ financial need into account, with regard for a given financial aid budget. Under the college’s former need-blind admissions policy, applicants’ finances played no role in their admittance.

The college had already accepted 128 early-decision applicants, who, along with students of color and high-ranking athletes, are exempt from need-aware admissions.

Robinson said it is difficult to project the exact number of students affected by the change to need-aware, as one’s finances are not necessarily the deciding factor for admittance or rejection.

“It’s hard to get the exact count [of how many students need-aware affected],” Robinson said. “There’s no way to go back and say, `was that the deciding factor?'”

According to Financial Aid Director Brian Lindeman, of the incoming U.S. students, around 440 students did not apply for financial aid and would front their own tuition.

Applicants are grouped in number rankings, from one to seven, one being the highest, with pluses and minuses within these divisions. In total there are 19 categories.

Robinson said that students within the three and four categories, around 1,200 students, were the ones primarily subjected to need-aware, meaning that some students with exceptionally high academic rankings but with need of financial aid were admitted regardless of their finances.

Around 700 to 800 students were accepted in preliminary stages of admissions evaluation, during which students’ finances were not looked at.

Still, the admissions office won’t know if it went over its set financial aid budget of $7 million for the incoming class until the summer, as students’ financial aid applications continue to arrive into the summer. Moreover, Macalester won’t hear back from students who will be attending in the fall until May 1, so the end result could vary based on the finances of those who decide to attend the college.

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