Amin: Don’t switch to need aware admissions

To the editor,

Changing admissions from need-blind to need-aware would be a detriment to the culture and the educational experience of the entire student population. The diversity of the intimate Case Western Reserve University community enhances overall student experience as students are exposed to range of perspectives and experiences of their peers.

To place this conversation in the larger national context, in September 2015, more than 80 private and public universities joined together to form the Coalition of Affordability, Access and Success. The Coalition’s goal is to encourage students to “improve the college admissions application process for all students” by utilizing an alternative application than the widely used Common Application. Member institutions of the Coalition include all Ivy League Universities, University of Pittsburgh, Duke University and University of Chicago. The requirements to join the Coalition are the ability to meet the full, demonstrated financial need of every domestic student admitted and the condition to graduate at least 70 percent of students within six years. Currently CWRU is ineligible to join the Coalition because it is unable to meet 100 percent of student’s needs.

I firmly believe CWRU’s administration’s deliberation to become need-aware is a direct consequence of its desire to be part of the Coalition. If CWRU was need-aware, it would be able to admit only students for whom the university was able to meet the full, demonstrated financial need. However this would be a detriment to the current socioeconomic diversity on campus.

Socioeconomic diversity is an essential part of CWRU culture. In my opinion, the undergraduate experience is built on more than class grades. In the past four years, I have been shaped just as much, if not more, by conversations I have had with my peers from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. The intimate community of CWRU allows students to learn from each other and gain a broader exposure outside his or her own immediate upbringing. I hope the university will aim to continue to cultivate and increase this socioeconomic diversity on campus to help create a fuller and richer university student experience rather than cripple it through need-aware admissions.

I sincerely agree that CWRU needs to make significant strides to meet the full demonstrated financial need for all its students. I do not have any magical financial solutions to increase the endowment by $500 million to meet full demonstrated need. However I firmly believe that changing to need-aware is the wrong solution to this issue as it would be an enormous detriment to the student educational experience.

I am looking forward the ongoing debate on campus about this issue.

Unnati Amin
Fourth-year student