It's come to this: need blind is dead. Some colleges today are more likely to accept students who can afford the college. I don't think we're at the money-trumps-qualifications stage yet, but it seems to me it's a slippery slope.
Here's a news report that looks at the latest admissions angst.
Williams has begun admitting more international students able to pay the full cost of tuition, and this year it will once again include loans as part of financial aid packages. The article also says Middlebury and Wake Forest have begun to look at the financial aid status of wait-listed students when they consider admission. Tufts University, which used to admit all students on a "need-blind" basis (students were admitted regardless of ability to pay in 2007 and 2008), is once again "need-aware" for some applicants, which means it looks at the applicant's financial status. some noted schools that still have need-blind admissions are raising costs for higher-income families.
From the article: "Mark Kantrowitz, founder of FinAid.org, a financial-aid Web site, estimates that about 5% of the application pool may increase their chances of being admitted by not applying for aid—with international and wait-listed students seeing the greatest benefit. If the school does practice need-blind admissions, he says, ask if that policy also applies to international or wait-listed students."
It's possible we may be facing a new era of admissions. The view isn't pretty.