GW lied about having need-blind admissions for years

George Washington UniversityOn Monday, George Washington University student newspaper GW Hatchet reported that GW has misled its applicants for years about its true admissions and financial aid policy. The school claimed to be need-blind but was actually placing students who could not afford GW’s tuition on the waitlist. (And they think Georgetown is elitist.)

GW’s new Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler admitted that the unknown policy was affecting upwards of 10 percent of GW’s 22,000 yearly applicants. Students who qualified for admission after the first round of application reading could be shifted from accepted to waitlisted, unless they were an outstanding applicant.

During the second round of application readings, GW took its budget balance into consideration when deciding which students would get in off the waitlist. Wealthy students were accepted while students who needed more financial aid were not.

According to the Hatchet, “as recently as Saturday, admissions representatives told prospective students in an information session that their applications would be judged without glancing at their financial aid profiles.” That policy has now been clarified to a “need-aware” view of applicants, and GW’s website has now been updated to reflect the change.

Former Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Zakaree Harris claims that he and his colleagues were unaware that senior admissions officials were basing admissions decisions off of applicants’ financial need. “Our policies, and even information that we were giving to families, were always about being need-blind in our process,” Harris said, according to the Hatchet. “I do not recall and do not remember ever having a conversation about the specific nature of someone needing X amount of dollars and us making an admissions decision based upon that.”

Koehler stressed that the need-aware part of GW’s admissions only comes into play after a decision about an applicant has been reached based on the other aspects of their admissions profile.

This is not the first time GW has been sneaky with their admissions process. Last fall, GW was caught inflating the class ranks of their incoming students and was then temporarily kicked off of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings.

Vox thinks they’re clearly trying too hard. They must have a lot to aspire to.

Photo: liangjinjian via Flickr

One Comment on “GW lied about having need-blind admissions for years

  1. Pingback: Need-blind vs. Need-aware: Be Aware – Tutor Talk | Applerouth Tutoring Services

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