Need-blind admissions for international students? Not yet for Penn.
With Dartmouth College's announcement last month that they would extend need-blind admissions to international students, Penn now stands in the minority of Ivy League schools without such a financial-aid commitment.
Cornell and Columbia Universities are the only other Ivies that have not made the financial leap.
Although Penn is currently need-blind for all North Americans, including Canadians and Mexicans, there is no word yet on when it will extend this policy to all international student applicants.
"Obviously the University wants to increase the number of aided international students," financial-aid director Bill Schilling said. "We are moving in that direction gradually."
According to Schilling, extending need-blind admissions to international applicants would have "significant financial implications."
With the recent expansion to its domestic financial-aid program, Penn cannot afford to take this costly step just yet.
"We have to wait for the dust to settle in terms of cost and resources available before we do anything else really significant," he said.
Currently the admissions office turns down non-citizens due to financial need requests whom they would otherwise normally admit.
Although it hasn't turned need-blind yet, Penn officials continually stress the importance of attracting a diverse international student body.
"Penn has a very strong commitment to international students," Associate Dean for Transfer and International Admissions Elisabeth O'Connell said.
As part of its international development, the University recruited its first group of Penn World Scholars. The international scholarship program - which currently includes only eight students - offers financial aid to international students from developing countries.
These accomplished and academically distinguished youth leaders in their respective countries come from Ecuador, South Africa, Palestine, Latvia, Pakistan, Bolivia, Bulgaria and Brazil.
Penn World Scholar and College freshman Ignacio Crespo said that he had a 'pretty good' financial-aid package as a member of the program.
"There's not a lot of financial aid for international students [in the United States]," he said.
"[Penn World Scholars] helps students from emerging countries to have a good education."
Rob Nelson, associate director of the Provost's office, helps manage the program. He said that it will eventually expand each year, but it will remain smaller for the moment to form a "core of student leaders."
While Nelson said the program was "running out of our back pocket right now," program directors intend to provide it with more concrete infrastructure in the coming years.
"[World scholars] are supposed to be the students who are going to build bridges between international and domestic students," Crespo said. "The University seems focused on working on international development."Comments powered by Disqus
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