05/08/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Colleges Shift Admissions Policies

Two prominent liberal arts colleges are reshaping their admissions policies in drastic yet opposite ways -- one despite the economy, and one because of it.

Bucking trends, Hamilton College in upstate New York announced today that it will begin to admit students without taking into account their financial need. The New York Times reports that seed contributions from six trustees, amounting to $3 million, will enable the school to adopt a need-blind policy. Tuition at Hamilton averages to $50,000 a year.

Meanwhile, Williams College, one of the top-ranked liberal arts schools in the country, decided last month to end its need-blind admissions program for international students. In a letter to the student body, Interim President Bill Wagner wrote that because of the school's shrunken endowment, the college could either admit fewer international students or rescind need-blind admissions.

Williams similarly ended its no-loan student aid policy last month, as did Dartmouth.