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Stanford GSB Announces Next Steps in Financial Aid Controversy

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Stanford Graduate School of Business has announced some of the steps it will take to improve transparency and move forward from a controversy surrounding its financial aid process that became public in late 2017.

Last November, it emerged that between the years 2008 and 2016, Stanford GSB had been distributing financial aid based on criteria other than financial need, despite the school’s claims that it was following a purely need-based policy.

Now, in a letter posted on the school’s website, assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid Kirsten Moss has outlined steps the school is taking to address the situation.

First, the school is creating a full-time position for managing upcoming changes to the financial aid policy, and they are currently interviewing candidates for the role.

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According to the school, the person in this role will coordinate a wider process of gathering input from the community and from experts in order to “fully understand the opportunities for improvement.”

This feedback will then be used to “align financial aid with the values of our institution, needs of our students, and realities of the marketplace.”

It’s unclear when Stanford will complete the review of its financial aid process. In the meantime, the school has a more pressing task: assigning financial aid to its incoming Class of 2020.

According to Moss’s letter, the school has finished its first round of admissions decisions. And she says that Stanford GSB has made it clear to all incoming students that they will receive financial aid only the basis of financial aid this year.

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In other words, it appears that while the school may have a new financial aid policy in the works, it intends to assign financial aid based solely on need until that new policy is announced.

Poets & Quants summarized the situation by saying that Stanford GSB is now assigning financial aid “in line with the school’s earlier publicly disclosed policy that had been secretly violated.”

From this perspective, it remains to be seen whether Stanford’s new process will defuse controversy surrounding the school’s financial aid policies.

However, it does appear that the school is taking steps to make its financial aid policies more transparent. In her letter, Moss says that “over the next few months, my objective is to earn your trust by facilitating an open and inclusive dialogue.”

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This situation is just an example of how complex the world of MBA admissions can be. Which is why, when it comes time to submit your own application, you want people on your team who know how B-school admissions work inside and out.

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