College aid offers fail to grow with economy

Tim Goral's picture

It was a goal that former Tufts University president Lawrence S. Bacow highlighted in his inaugural address more than a decade ago: make admissions decisions without considering a student’s ability to pay.

Need-blind admissions, as it is known, was a central element of Tufts’ last capital campaign, and with that funding boost the university — long committed to meeting the financial needs of all the students it admits — was able to swing two need-blind admissions cycles.

But after the national financial crisis hit, taking many college endowments down with it, Tufts put that ambition on the shelf, where it remains. And it has plenty of company among elite colleges. The economy is improving and endowments are rebounding, but the generosity of many schools’ financial aid policies is not.

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