A Brief Statement of Our Stance

Updated November 2013.

President Michael Roth and the Board of Trustees have abandoned the Wesleyan tradition of being “need-blind” in the admissions process, beginning with the class of 2017. Previously, admissions decisions were made for the majority of the student body without taking into account the applicant’s financial standing or need for financial aid.* The policy change established a set budget for financial aid; the Admissions Office now considers students’ financial status as one of the criteria for their acceptance. We recognize that the college admissions process is far from perfect and that a range of factors in our country and at Wesleyan, including high tuition rates, a segregated public education system, unequal access to preparation for pre-college tests, the college loan business, and Wesleyan’s meager financial aid packages already enforce existing inequalities. However, we are concerned that this new policy will worsen these existing inequalities.

We have seen the first alarming effects of the need-discriminatory admissions process in the demographics of the class of 2017, the first admitted under the new policy: compared with the class of 2016 the number of students receiving financial aid decreased from 48% to 42%, the number of students receiving grant aid decreased from 44% to 37%, the number of first generation four-year college students decreased from 16% to 13%, the number of black students decreased from 11% to 8%, while the number of students from New England increased from 17% to 22% and the numbers of students from all other geographic areas in the US dropped or remained flat.

Additionally, we are concerned about the lack of transparency, consultation, and communication with the student body, parents, and alumni in coming to this decision and in brazenly continuing to implement it despite the ongoing outcry from University stakeholders and the clearly destructive effect it is having on the diversity of the student body.

In light of the the far-reaching impacts the need-discriminatory admissions policy is having have on all members of our community, we hope that President Roth and the Board will reopen dialogue with this group and others who feel strongly about this issue. We hope that as a result of this dialogue they will appreciate that re-committing to a need-blind admissions policy is not only just, but in the University’s vital short and long-term interest. Wesleyan must again be able to admit its most promising applicants, rather than merely the most affluent.

*Before fall 2013, Wesleyan was “need-blind” for all domestic first-year students only, but not for international and transfer applicants.

Image of a scale with caption: stop selling seats: keep wesleyan admissions need-blind


There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below..

Leave a Comment