Saturday, 2:15 PM
In search of talented foreign students, Amherst College takes rare step
By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff
Amherst College has extended its need-blind admission policy to international students, an unusual step designed to attract strong applicants from around the world.
Beginning with next year's admission cycle, the liberal arts college will now evaluate foreign applicants without regard to their ability to pay. Amherst already agrees to meet the financial need of all admitted students.
Many top-tier schools have need-blind policies for American students. But just seven others have adopted such policies for international students, Amherst officials said. Foreign students are also ineligible for federal grants.
In recent years, some colleges and universities have taken advantage of the strong worldwide desire for a US education, admitting a growing number of full-tuition students from overseas.
"By making the admission process need-blind for all applicants—including those from other countries — we hope that we are only reinforcing the message that we welcome all students to apply, regardless of financial standing," Anthony W. Marx, the Amherst president, said in a statement. "It is in everyone's best interest that we are doing what we can to educate the best mix of future leaders."
College officials said they expected the move would drive up interest among foreign students, who now make up about 8 percent of the student body.
"Now, everyone will be compared with everyone else," said Tom Parker, the dean of admission and financial aid. "It's a level playing field."
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