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Macalester changes admissions policy

ST. PAUL -- Macalester College is dropping its long-standing pledge to admit students regardless of their ability to pay.

The change means Macalester admissions officers may consider a student's finances when choosing who to admit. The change applies to freshmen entering in 2006.

Macalester began its "need-blind" admission policy at least 30 years ago, but was the last private Minnesota college to retain it. The change is expected to save Macalester as much as $600,000 per year in financial aid costs, said President Brian Rosenberg.

"I wish that we were in a position to provide a world-class education to everyone who needed and wanted one, absolutely," Rosenberg said. "Of course, that's not the case."

In 2003-04, about 70 percent of Macalester students received $24 million in need-based financial aid, the college said. The average financial aid award for incoming freshmen that year was $20,158. Tuition, board and fees run about $34,000.

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