Need Sensitive Admission, Sensitive to Students Needs?

While I agree with Bret Matthew’s assertion in his Hoot Op-Ed, that calling Brandeis’ transition to need-sensitive an “affront to social justice” is somewhat sensational, it feels distinctly un-Brandesian to have anything other than achievement go into consideration when determining admission.

In the current admissions system, students are listed based on their “desirability” — a combination of academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and legacy standing. The list is cut off at a certain line and all financial aid money is distributed based on need; financial need is not considered in admissions.

The new policy draws a second line. Above this new line, everything will be the same as the current system with admission granted regardless of need. However, in-between this new line and the bottom line, students’ ability to pay for tuition will go into consideration.

With discomfort at ranking students based on “desirability” put aside, I have a major issue with this newly proposed idea of allowing finances to be considered in the admissions process introducing a factor which prospective students have no control over. The last time that I checked, a student’s acceptance to Brandeis was contingent upon their academic standing and not their financial standing.

Some supporters of this change in policy are praising the fact that it isn’t an act of penny pinching, but rather a re-allocation of money. The school won’t be saving any money on this proposal, rather spending it differently and — in my opinion — less noble way.

In my opinion, this isn’t a cause for praise but rather a cause of disappointment in those calling the shots. Shortages in funding are a legitimate reason for re-assessing an equitable system. The fact that we are changing our system to something blatantly unfair and not saving any money in the process is absurd.

As disappointing as all of these things are, the aspect of this issue that has me the most upset is the complete lack of reaction from Brandeis students about the change. Whether this lack of reaction is due to true apathy or — more likely — a lack of awareness about the change, it’s time now, for us to show that we are paying attention and that we care about the future of Brandeis by raising our voices and making it known that this change to need sensitive admission is unethical and unacceptable.

We have the ability to make our voices heard at the town hall meeting that has been scheduled for Today, 10/21 at 5:30 in Upper Sherman. It will be a chance for us, as a student body to hear some of the facts on the change and show administration that we are against it!


3 thoughts on “Need Sensitive Admission, Sensitive to Students Needs?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post Morgan. I think you captured the essence of the change, and how Brandeis’ standards have been and should continue to be academic. Students have no control over how much money their parents make, and I believe, should not be penalized for that. I really hope many students come to the meeting tonight and learn about the changes.

  2. “With discomfort at ranking students based on “desirability” put aside”
    How else are universities supposed to decide who is admitted? How do you think you got into Brandeis? Because you were ranked more “desirable” than those who did not.

  3. I think more people than you realize share these sentiments. It’s simply a matter of paying the bills-this, like many, university has come under hardish times and it’s time to balance the checkbook, a lesson government could do well to learn. It’s like skipping the family vacation; no one likes it, but sometimes you do what you have to do.

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