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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Town hall discusses admissions changes

Published: October 22, 2010
Section: News

Dean of Admissions Mark Spencer and Dean of Student Financial Services Peter Giumette presented and took questions on the new policy the university will adopt next year admitting some members of the class of 2015 with sensitivity to their financial need.

The town hall-style event filled a conference room in Upper Sherman and was at the instigation of Student Union President Daniel Acheampong ’11, who said he wanted students to have an opportunity to hear about the policy firsthand.

“The problem for us is a limited ability to fund financial aid,” Giumette said. “we were maintaining need-blind at the expense of meeting 100 percent of need.”

Meeting all of that need, which is defined as 100 percent of the determined need after subtracting what the FAFSA and other formulas say families can pay, is now the higher priority.

“Eighty-five percent is where we fell on average,” Giumette said, and he added that now there will be very few students who don’t get admitted under the policy anyway.

“I’m hopeful that the percentage [who will be reviewed with their need in consideration] is limited,” Spencer saidfugu.

The crowd, comprised almost entirely of students, wanted to know if merit-based aid would be affected.

“Yes,” Giumette said, “we feel we can fill need by lessening merit scholarship—we won’t necessarily be offering it at all.”

He said that current pledges will be fulfilled for students already at Brandeis, but that certain scholarships endowed for merit will “be directed toward qualified and needy students.”

The primary reason for admissions goals behind changing the policy is to increase competitiveness, Spencer said.

“We level the playing field [compared to other top-tier universities] by the students we’re admitting, and those who come here,” he said. “With this decision, we are much closer to that competitiveness”in terms of them choosing to come to Brandeis.