Need-blind admission is a term used in the United States denoting a college admission policy in which the admitting institution does not consider an applicant's financial situation when deciding admission. Generally, an increase in students admitted under a need-blind policy and needing financial aid requires the institution to back the policy with an ample endowment or source of funding. Being need-blind is a statutory requirement for institutions to participate in an antitrust exemption granted by Congress which remains in effect until September 30, 2022. An institution may be need-blind in any given year by policy (de jure) or by circumstances (de facto).
Most colleges and universities cannot afford to offer financial aid to all admitted students and many will admit all students on a need-blind basis but cannot offer them sufficient aid to meet need. Many schools who admit all U.S. citizens or resident aliens without regard to need do not extend this policy to international students or to transfer students. Therefore, schools, especially private ones, which are need-blind and full-need for all applicants, including internationals, tend to be much more selective as they have relatively more applicants than other similar schools.
Need-blind admission does not necessarily mean a "full-need" financial aid policy—where the school agrees to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all its admitted students. Indeed, the two policies can be in tension because need-blind admissions and full-need financial aid together commit the school to spend an undetermined amount of money regardless of other budgetary constraints. Thus, some need-blind schools will admit students who will nonetheless not be able to attend because of deficient financial aid awards.
Institutions self-define their definition of meeting full demonstrated need. There is no U.S. standard that an institution must abide by to claim that they meet fully demonstrated need. Therefore, an applicant's financial aid package can vary significantly at various schools, even if all of these institutions claim to meet fully demonstrated need.
U.S. institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for both U.S. and international studentsEdit
U.S. institutions that are need-blind for U.S. applicants and meet full demonstrated needEdit
A number of U.S. institutions of higher learning both offer need-blind admissions and meet the full demonstrated need for all domestic students, but are need-aware when it comes to international student admissions. However, all admitted students will have their demonstrated need met. The following schools fall into this category:
- Barnard College (need-aware for transfer students)
- Boston College
- Bowdoin College (need-aware for transfer students)
- Brown University (need-aware for transfer students)
- California Institute of Technology
- Claremont McKenna College
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Davidson College
- Denison University
- Duke University
- Georgetown University 
- Grinnell College
- Hamilton College
- Harvey Mudd College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Middlebury College
- Northwestern University
- Olin College
- Pomona College
- Rice University
- Soka University of America
- Stanford University
- Swarthmore College
- University of Chicago
- University of Michigan (in-state students only)
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Richmond (need-aware for transfer students)
- University of Southern California
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Wellesley College
- Williams College
U.S. institutions that are not need-blind for U.S. applicants and meet full demonstrated needEdit
Many reputable US institutions that once championed "need-blind" policies in the past have modified their policies due to rising tuition and financial aid costs, as well as less-than-ideal returns on endowments. This largely affects prestigious institutions with vulnerable resources that do not offer merit-based aid but base their financial aid entirely on need and promise to deliver 100% of financial need (composed mostly of grants). These stated institutions refer to themselves as "need-aware" or "need-sensitive," policies that somewhat contradict their call to admit and provide education for all qualified candidates regardless of economic status but allow them to fully fund the needs of all accepted students.
For instance, at Macalester College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, at least 95% of students are admitted without their financial aid need being a factor (i.e., "need-blind"), but a slim percentage (1%–5%), generally students wait-listed or with borderline qualifications, are reviewed in modest consideration of the college's projected financial resources. All of these aforementioned colleges grant all admitted students full financial aid packages meeting 100% need. At Wesleyan University, attempted shifts to a "need-aware" admission policy have resulted in protests by the school's student body.
- Bates College
- Boston University
- Bryn Mawr College
- Carleton College
- Case Western Reserve University
- Colby College
- Colgate University
- Colorado College
- Connecticut College
- Franklin and Marshall College
- Haverford College
- Kenyon College
- Lafayette College
- Lehigh University (need-aware for waitlisted applicants)
- Macalester College
- Mount Holyoke College
- Oberlin College
- Occidental College
- Pitzer College
- Reed College
- Scripps College
- Skidmore College
- Smith College
- Thomas Aquinas College
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- Union College
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
U.S. institutions that are need-blind for U.S. applicants and do not meet full demonstrated needEdit
Some schools have a need-blind admissions policy, but do not guarantee to meet the full demonstrated financial need of the students they admit. The following schools fall under this category:
- Babson College (meets 97% of demonstrated need on average)
- Baylor University (meets 65% of demonstrated need on average)
- Bucknell University (meets 91% of demonstrated need on average)
- Carnegie Mellon University (meets 85% of demonstrated need on average)
- Cooper Union (everyone gets half tuition) 
- Denison University (meets 90% of demonstrated need on average)
- Earlham College
- Fordham University
- Hampshire College
- Ithaca College
- New York University (meets 60% of demonstrated need on average)
- Saint Louis University
- Santa Clara University
- Southern Methodist University (meets 85% of demonstrated need on average)
- St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe)
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University (meets 93% of demonstrated need on average)
- Texas Christian University (meets 66% of demonstrated need on average)
- University of Miami (meets 89% of demonstrated need on average)
- University of San Diego (meets 71% of demonstrated need on average)
U.S. institutions that are need-sensitive and do not meet full demonstrated needEdit
The following institutions are need-aware and do not meet full need for the students they admit:
- Abilene Christian University
- Agnes Scott College
- American University
- Auburn University
- Bard College
- Beloit College
- Bennington College
- Berklee College of Music
- Berry College
- Bradley University
- Brandeis University
- The Catholic University of America
- Centre College
- Clark University
- Clemson University
- College of Wooster
- Creighton University
- DePaul University
- DePauw University
- Dickinson College (meets 99% of need)
- Drexel University
- Fairfield University
- Furman University
- George Washington University
- Gettysburg College
- Hampton University
- Hofstra University
- Howard University
- Johnson & Wales University
- Loma Linda University
- Loyola Marymount University
- Loyola University New Orleans
- Loyola University Chicago
- Marquette University
- Northeastern University
- The New School
- Pepperdine University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Rhodes College (meets 93% of need)
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Rollins College
- Sarah Lawrence College
- Seton Hall University
- Southwestern University
- Spelman College
- St. Olaf College (meets 98% of need)
- Trinity University (meets 93% of need)
- University of Dayton
- University of Denver
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Rochester (meets 95% of need with the exception of students who are in their senior year, for which financial aid is curtailed significantly despite slim changes in family financial situation)
- University of San Francisco
- University of California, San Diego
- University of St. Thomas
- Sewanee: The University of the South
- University of Tulsa
- Villanova University
- Wabash College
- Wheaton College
- Whitman College (meets 93% of need)
- Willamette University
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Non-U.S. institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for all applicantsEdit
As of 2014, Phillips Academy is the only USA boarding high school that has a clearly stated need-blind admission policy and is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of its admitted students. St. Andrew's School ended its policy in 2013. Phillips Exeter Academy was "effectively need-blind" prior to the 2009 admission season but stopped the practice because of the economic pressures. Roxbury Latin School, a day school located in West Roxbury, a neighborhood within Boston, is also need-blind.
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