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Even as the economy improves, colleges lower the ambition of their financial aid programs

METRO - MEDFORD - 16 AUGUST. Rising senior Jaime Morgan gave prospective students and their families a tour of the Tufts University Campus in Medford. Tufts University spent years trying to implement a "need-blind" admissions policy, meaning it would never consider financial need in admissions. It achieved that for only two years before deciding it simply couldn't afford to. Friday, August 16, 2013. Colm O'Molloy for The Boston Globe.
METRO - MEDFORD - 16 AUGUST. Rising senior Jaime Morgan gave prospective students and their families a tour of the Tufts University Campus in Medford. Tufts University spent years trying to implement a "need-blind" admissions policy, meaning it would never consider financial need in admissions. It achieved that for only two years before deciding it simply couldn't afford to. Friday, August 16, 2013. Colm O'Molloy for The Boston Globe.The Boston Globe

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MEDFORD — It was a goal former Tufts University president Lawrence S. Bacow highlighted in his inaugural address more than a decade ago: make admissions decisions without considering any student’s ability to pay.

The university was able to swing two need-blind admissions cycles just before the financial crisis. Then, Tufts put that ambition on the shelf, where it remains.

The economy is improving and endowments are rebounding, but the generosity of many schools’ financial aid policies is not.

In fact, colleges continue to cut back. Wesleyan University in Connecticut ended years of need-blind admissions for this fall’s freshman class. Many more, including MIT, Cornell, and just this month the University of Virginia, have curtailed promises to replace loans with grants for low-income or middle-class families.

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