Financial Aid

Need-Blind, Need-Aware, Need-Based, Oh My!


Sound confusing?  But sound familiar?  If so, then chances are your child is readying for college and you’ve come across this “lingo” along the way.  Let us explain what each of these means. 

All of these terms have one common denominator – they help define how the college accepts and/or awards their applicants for admission. Strategies include:  

Need-Blind:  This means that the college’s decision to admit the student has no bearing on the family’s finances.  The admissions office is “blind” to the family’s financial need or whether or not the student has even applied for financial aid.  

Need-Aware: Is the opposite of Need-Blind.  Indeed, the student’s admission MAY be impacted based on the finances of the family.  Often this occurs when a school has limited resources and does not want to commit to accepting a student if there is a chance that the student would not be able to financially afford the school.  This is not to say that a student will be rejected because s/he may have a high “financial need”. Rather, the goal is to make sure that those students who do enroll, stay enrolled.  

Need-Based:  This term refers to financial assistance for college that is based on “financial need” not merit like extra-curricular activities or academic performance. There is generally a financial aid application process required for consideration, and there are limited resources. For this reason, not every student may receive need-based aid to meet their full “need”.  This is defined as “unmet” need, which generally defaults back to the family’s obligation.    

It’s important to do your due diligence by reviewing the admission and financial aid websites of those colleges on your student’s radar list.  They can provide invaluable information to help your child refine or revise his/her final application list, especially if finances are an important factor in the decision.

Need help?  Have questions? Campus Bound is here for you! We have two staff members dedicated to helping families strategize how to pay for college and navigate the financial aid process. Contact us for more information or to request a free consultation.