Q. What is need-blind admission?
A. Colleges that practice need-blind admission review a student's application without considering that student's financial need. In addition to practicing need-blind admission, Hamilton will continue to meet the full demonstrated need of every student it admits.
Q. Why is this so important to Hamilton?
A. This is the right thing for Hamilton to do as a college that prides itself on being a school of opportunity. In fact, we have been working, incrementally over time, toward increasing access. Past actions taken to achieve this goal have included a study of changing demographics, the decision in March 2007 to eliminate merit aid, and increasing the amount of financial aid awarded over time (from $14 million to about $25 million in 10 years). Access is one of our primary goals and becoming need-blind is one way of getting there.
Q. Why are you doing this now?
A. It does not feel right for Hamilton not to be able to admit students who are otherwise deserving simply because of their financial backgrounds. Becoming need-blind was identified in the College's 2009 Strategic Plan as a long-term priority to demonstrate our commitment to attracting and retaining a population that more closely mirrored the changing demographic in our country. Following a day-long session in December, however, the Board of Trustees concluded that the College should accelerate its timetable and five trustees each spontaneously pledged $500,000 to make that happen. The Board is convinced that the president and her senior staff have identified a plan for making this policy affordable and sustainable for the long term.
Q. How much does Hamilton currently spend on financial aid?
A. The College currently spends about $25 million in financial aid (2009-10). That compares to just over $14 million 10 years ago in 1999-2000 (a 79% increase). The decision to become need-blind will add at least $2 million to the College's financial aid budget when fully implemented over four years.