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Black and Latino student leaders voiced angry opposition yesterday to the possibility that the University may have to drop or change its need-blind admissions policy, saying that future minority enrollment would definitely decrease. Director of Minority Recruiting Pippa Porter-Rex, who said she hopes a policy change does not become necessary, agreed with the student leaders that such a change "would definitely affect our minority applicants and admitted numbers." "It's a scary thought because we would lose some really great kids," she said. "But I hope we are going to hold out." The University currently admits applicants regardless of their ability to pay and then gives financial aid to cover those costs it determines students cannot afford. But Provost Michael Aiken said last week that the University's financial problems have forced administrators to re-evaluate that policy. Aiken said the administration will probably decide by January or February whether to continue need-blind admissions for the class of 1996. But many minority student leaders are not waiting to express their anger and frustration. "A lot of [minority students] here are really successful and wouldn't have had that opportunity if it weren't for financial aid," she said. "Of course the minority applicant pool would drop drastically." Samuel said the UMC plans to send both Aiken and President Sheldon Hackney a letter within the week, urging the administration not to change the need-blind admissions policy. Ileana Garcia, the president of the Latino Students Association ACELA, lashed out at University administrators for considering the change, saying "they preach diversity and they're not following through or supporting it." Garcia predicted fewer minority students -- particularly Latinos -- would be able to afford the University's rising costs, especially given current difficulties in recruiting Latino students. Black Inter-Greek Council President Kathryn Williams said the growing financial burden of a University education, which has led to above-average attrition rates among blacks and Latinos, would prevent students from even attending the University if the need-blind admissions policy were changed. The possibility that the University's Reserve Officer Training Corps program may be kicked off campus in 1993 unless it stops barring gays and lesbians would be a further blow to minorities, according to Williams, because ROTC scholarships provide many minority students with needed financial aid. "We have social barriers to deal with, we have cultural barriers to deal with, we feel like we're under siege from the administration," she said. "And we're supposed to deal with all the regular traumas of being students." Williams said even if the University leaves the need-blind admissions policy intact and instead cuts costs by providing smaller grants, minorities would still be hurt. "It would still cause problems if [the University says] 'We'll give you some financial aid, but not enough,' " she said. "What difference does it make? You still can't go to school." Delaware Valley Regional Admissions Director Eric Furda said he is not sure what the effects of changing the need-blind admissions policy would be because there are many ways it could be changed. According to Furda, the University could adopt a policy similar to the one used by Brown University, where the vast majority of applicants are admitted need-blind, but a small portion is accepted based on various considerations, including ability to pay. Another possibility would be to take the best students of both the financial aid pool and the non-financial aid pool, Furda said.

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