Brown University President Ruth Simmons announced a proposal Monday to use a need-blind admissions policy at Brown, beginning with the Class of 2007.
Currently, Brown is the only Ivy League school without need-blind admissions, which means that their admissions office still takes a student’s ability to pay into consideration when making admissions decisions. Under Simmons’ proposal, students’ financial resources would not play a role in these decisions.
The Brown Corporation has yet to approve Simmons’ plan. But Brown Director of College Admissions Michael Goldberger said he thinks the Corporation members will react positively to the idea at their February meeting.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll approve it,” Goldberger said.
The move to a need-blind admissions policy would cost the university about $1 to $1.5 million a year over four years, for a final price tag of about $6 million, Goldberger said.
Sophie Calderon, a sophomore at Brown, said she hopes Brown switches to a need-blind policy.
“Basically everybody supports it,” Calderon said. “It’s just ridiculous that it hasn’t been done before.”
Calderon said the student body is thrilled with Simmons, who began her term as president at the beginning of this year.
“The most incredible thing about her is that nobody at this school ever agrees on anything, but everyone agrees on the fact that she’s incredible,” Calderon said.
The Brown Daily Herald reported that Simmons has proposed that the new plan be financed entirely through fund-raising projects.
“I don’t want this tossed into the rest of the budget; I want it sticking out like a sore thumb, because it’s who we are,” Simmons said, according to the Herald.
Myra Smith, director of financial aid at Yale, said she thinks the move to need-blind admissions at Brown is a positive step.
“Any school that’s able to go need-blind and continue to meet full need, I think it’s great,” Smith said. “I know the director of financial aid [at Brown], and my first thought was, ‘Great for him,’ because it makes his job easier.”
Yale College Council representative Andrew Allison ’04 said he thinks institutions should be able to choose which students to accept without regard to the students’ ability to pay. He said he thinks a need-blind admissions policy would be good for Brown.
“It certainly will serve to attract a more socioeconomically diverse student body at Brown, which is vital to the success of the college environment,” Allison said.
Goldberger said the Brown admissions office is excited about the prospect of a need-blind admissions policy.
“It will be terrific in terms of never having to worry about the ability to pay in making our decisions,” Goldberger said.