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Editorial | Need−blind admissions should be long−term goal

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 08:12

In an interview conducted in October and published in today’s Daily, University President Anthony Monaco expressed his wariness of trying to reinstate a need−blind admissions policy without the necessary funds in the short term. “I’m not sure I would set it as a goal to be need−blind because it’s hard, one: to attain, and two: to maintain,” Monaco said.

When Tufts briefly adopted need−blind admissions in 2007 and 2008, it was due to an anonymous monetary gift that allowed the university to temporarily implement the policy until the gift was exhausted.

Monaco instead endorses the idea of using a two−year, $25−million initiative to continue the expansion of the school’s regular financial aid by boosting the endowment. He understands that it is important to increase Tufts’ diversity of viewpoints and make admissions as merit−based as possible. At the same time, Monaco recognizes the massive financial cost that going need−blind would entail. The Daily believes that, despite these challenges, a need−blind admission policy should still be a long−term goal.

There are a number of reasons why a need−blind policy would be beneficial to Tufts. It speaks to our message as a liberal arts university interested in expanding the diversity of worldviews of our students. It would expand the reach of Tufts’ resources to more applicants from lower−income backgrounds.

Finally, there is the question of prestige. Tufts is a strong academic institution with deep roots in research, and its reputation depends on these qualities. At the same time, many similar institutions, such as Amherst College, Duke University, Brandeis University, Harvard College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all have need−blind admission policies. We should aspire to continue to improve our school and meet the standards that similar academic institutions can.

President Monaco is correct to acknowledge the obstacles standing between our school and its reinstatement of a need−blind policy. Tufts’ endowment in 2011 stood at just under $1.5 billion dollars, according to a survey from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. According to the same survey, schools like Harvard and Duke, both need−blind, have endowments of over $30 billion and over $5 billion, respectively.

Currently, Tufts does not and is unlikely to have comparable funds or enough money in the immediate future to support a need−blind admissions policy. President Monaco’s decision to focus on boosting our endowment at this time is, then, a pragmatic choice. But just because a need−blind admission policy is far out of reach right now shouldn’t exclude it as a long−term goal.

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