Need-blind admission is a term in the United States (and increasingly in the rest of the world) denoting a college admission policy in which the admitting institution does not consider an applicant's financial situation when deciding admission. Generally, an increase in students admitted under a need-blind policy and needing financial aid requires the institution to back the policy with an ample endowment or source of funding. Being need-blind is a statutory requirement for institutions to participate in an anti-trust exemption granted by Congress which remains in effect until September 30, 2015. An institution may be need-blind in any given year by policy (de jure) or by circumstances (de facto).
Need-blind admissions systems are rare in the private sector where institutional funds often make up the bulk of financial aid awarded but virtually all public institutions are need-blind. Most private universities cannot afford to offer financial aid to all admitted students and many will admit all students but cannot offer them sufficient aid to meet need. Many schools who admit all U.S. citizens or resident aliens without regard to need do not extend this policy to internationals or to transfer students. Therefore schools, especially private ones, which are need-blind and full-need for all applicants, including internationals, tend to be much more selective as they have relatively more applicants than other similar schools.
Need-blind admission does not necessarily mean a "full-need" financial aid policy—where the school agrees to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all its admitted students. Indeed, the two policies can be in tension because need-blind admissions and full-need financial aid together commit the school to spend an undetermined amount of money regardless of other budgetary constraints. Thus, some need-blind schools will admit students who will nonetheless not be able to attend because of deficient financial aid awards.
U.S. institutions that are need-blind and full-need for all applicants 
There are currently only six U.S. higher learning institutions—four universities and two colleges—which are both need-blind and full-need for all applicants, including international students. These are:
- Amherst College
- Dartmouth College
- Harvard University
- Princeton University
- Yale University
U.S. institutions that are need-blind but do not guarantee to meet full need for international applicants 
Non-U.S. institutions that are need-blind and full-need for all applicants 
- Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
- ECLA of Bard, Berlin, Germany
- National University of Singapore, Singapore
- New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- New York University Shanghai,
U.S. institutions that are need-blind and full-need for U.S. applicants 
A number of U.S. institutions of higher learning state that they offer both need-blind admissions and full-need for U.S. students. The following schools state they are need-blind and full-need:
- Barnard College (need-aware for transfer students)
- Beloit College
- Boston College
- Bowdoin College (need-aware for transfer students)
- Brandeis University(need-aware for transfer students)
- Brown University (need-aware for international and transfer students)
- California Institute of Technology
- Claremont McKenna College
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University (does not meet full-need for transfer students) 
- Cooper Union
- Cornell University
- Davidson College
- Deep Springs College
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Georgetown University
- Grinnell College
- Hamilton College
- Harvard College
- Haverford College
- Harvey Mudd College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Knox College
- Lawrence University
- Middlebury College
- Northwestern University
- Olin College
- Pomona College
- Rice University
- Stanford University
- Swarthmore College
- University of Chicago
- University of Miami
- University of Michigan
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Richmond
- University of Rochester
- University of Southern California
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Wellesley College
- Williams College
Other schools 
Some schools, such as Bard College and Albright College, have a need-blind admissions policy, but do not guarantee to meet the full demonstrated financial need of the students it admits. Still more schools, like Tufts University, are actively pursuing a need-blind admissions policy but have not yet had the resources to fully implement it (in 2009 claiming to have examined 95% of applicants need-blind).
In 2009, only two boarding high schools, Phillips Academy and St. Andrew's School, were need-blind; others stopped the policy due to the economic pressures. Roxbury Latin, a day school outside of Boston, is also need-blind.
Need-sensitive institutions 
Many reputable US institutions that once championed "need-blind" policies in the past have modified their policies due to rising tuition and financial aid costs, as well as less-than-ideal returns on endowments. This largely affects prestigious institutions with vulnerable resources that do not offer merit-based aid but base their financial aid entirely on need and promise to deliver 100% of financial need (composed mostly of grants). These stated institutions refer to themselves as "need-aware" or "need-sensitive," policies that somewhat contradict their call to admit and provide education for all qualified candidates regardless of economic status but allow them to fully fund the needs of all accepted students.
For instance, at Macalester College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, at least 95% of students are admitted without their financial aid need being a factor (i.e., "need-blind"), but a slim percentage (1%–5%), generally students wait-listed or with borderline qualifications, are reviewed in modest consideration of the college's projected financial resources. All of these aforementioned colleges grant all acceptees full financial aid packages meeting 100% need. At Wesleyan University, attempted shifts to a "need-aware" admission policy have resulted in protests by the school's student body. 
See also 
- Schools Awarding International Financial Aid
- Amherst College Need-Blind Admission Policy to International Students
- Dartmouth News - Dartmouth announces new financial aid initiative - 01/22/08
- "Barnard Fin Aid".
- "Bowdoin Financial Aid".
- ZERNIKE, KATE. "Paying in Full as the Ticket Into Colleges". New York Times.
- "Colleges That Claim To Meet Full Financial Need".
- Javetski, Gillian (2009-04-02). "Tufts accepts 26 percent of pool, suspends need-blind admissions". The Tufts Daily. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Seline, Anita M. (1996). "The shift away from need-blind: colleges have started their version of "wallet biopsies." - higher education institutions admit students on economic status criteria". Black Issues in Higher Education.
- The Miscellany News | Since 1866: Financial Aid at Vassar | Crunching the numbers
- "The 1992 Need-Blind Occupation: A Look Back with Ben Foss ’95". Wesleying. Retrieved 15 October 2012.