University, Davidson College, Wake Forest University and 25 other
leading schools have agreed on more generous guidelines for
determining eligibility for financial aid, the colleges will
The new guidelines, an effort to stave off a growing trend toward
giving aid to the most desirable students, rather than just the
neediest, are likely to result in higher scholarships, ranging from
hundreds of dollars to more than $1,500 for many students,
university officials said.
All the institutions agreed they will not reduce
their total aid, although some individual students may receive less.
The 28 colleges and universities represent a significant portion
of the selective private universities in the United States that
admit students without regard to their ability to pay and provide
them with financial aid to attend, a practice known as need-blind
Many of these colleges and universities charge more than $30,000
a year for tuition, room and board, and give substantial financial
Duke, in Durham, will charge $34,416 a year starting this fall.
Davidson will charge $30,823, and Wake Forest, in Winston-Salem,
estimates its fees at $30,280.
Hunter Rawlings III, the president of Cornell University, who led
the effort to develop the new principles, said he expected other
colleges and universities to sign on over the next few months,
although he could not predict how many.
The new guidelines are part of a broad agreement by the 28
schools to continue to endorse need-based aid at a time when many
states and colleges are increasingly offering scholarships to the
students they want most - including athletes, those with the highest
grades and underrepresented minorities - rather than those who most
require financial aid to attend college. This approach is known as
"There has been a gradual and accelerating erosion in the
commitment to need-based aid," Rawlings said.
"Our group is trying to stop that erosion."
He said two factors behind the erosion were the strong
competition for top students and a "lessened commitment to enabling
low-income students to attend private universities."
The 28 colleges and universities also pledged to carry out the
new policies consistently, so that there will be less confusion
about the process and less suspicion about its equity.