Most colleges proudly claim to be need-blind, meaning they will not take financial need into consideration when determining admission. A better student may receive a more attractive financial aid package but a lesser student will not be rejected based on financial need.
Need-aware schools such as Tufts, Trinity and Lafayette will admit a majority of students based on academics without regard to financial need. For the last 10-20% of slots, however, the school may start looking at the family’s financial ability to pay. Wealthier students in this marginal category can be accepted and the financial needy can be rejected. Need-aware schools will argue that their policy is better than the “admit/deny” policy where the need-blind school may admit the student but deny sufficient financial aid for the student to attend.
Most importantly, you want the college your student chooses to be a good fit. It is imperative for the student and parents to have a good understanding of what they can afford and the school’s admission policy before getting their heart set on a particular school.