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Do college acceptances correlate to one's ability to pay full fare?

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Replies to: Do college acceptances correlate to one's ability to pay full fare?

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35358 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Imo, some here are just being too darned simplistic. It's not as simple as having wealth and advantages. Nor needing natl awards. Since the review is holistic, you want to approach the process that way. Not who's got "better" this or higher/rarer that, which is hierarchical.

    You've got a full app to fill out, 3.5 years to represent, and have to recognize that just submitting doesn't automatically make you a great candidate, no matter the stats and some ECs you think are terrific. It's not about being Top Dawg in your one hs. It's more than that. And realize the *final* competition is among all those kids who do have that full picture the college looks for, after an intense review, a lot of culling. Enough to more than fill a class.

    Kids get deferred for lots of reasons. Sometimes, it's the competition from your area. They like you, but want to see who else shows up in RD. And your deferred app does get fully re-reviewed.

    Top colleges want a range of traits, relevant to them, to college (not just life,) a level of thinking that they feel fits their community. A level of action that goes beyond just what happens in your school. It adds to wanting the right perspective, even sophistication. Again, that's the thinking, the savvy way you approached your app, what you admit vs edit, in your wtiting. As well as your record. What shows.

    Where it's difficult for many kids is when they assume, rather than learning more about what X wants and looks for. Or they rest on their obvious laurels, as well as what they "want" in a college, and forget to learn what the college itself is looking for in candidates. But not all kids who struggle are at lower hs.

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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4406 replies49 threads Senior Member
    @thurpam Did your D apply test optional? Elite test optional schools like Wes or Bowdoin can have a very high bar for test optional applicants. Ie; the balance of the app really must be sterling to get admitted.
    They also use test optional to give kids from disadvantaged schools/backgrounds a leg up in the process.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2223 replies37 threads Senior Member
    For the most elite schools that are genuinely need-blind and meet full need, money isn't a factor in admission itself, unless your parents are willing and able to donate millions or willing to take unlawful shortcuts as the parents in the Varsity Blues scandal did. Money does, however, buy you better preparations, a better resume, and better packaging of your applications. Money also becomes a direct factor to various degrees in admissions to colleges below those most elite schools.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10441 replies574 threads Super Moderator
    OP, your D’s app will be reviewed in the context of what her high school offers. She is not directly competing against Susie Smith from Well Funded Suburban HS with 25 different APs and a full IB diploma program. They don’t expect kids to take classes that aren’t offered and join clubs that don’t exist.

    Top colleges will look at what she did with what was available to her. And also, what did she do outside of that. Did she think outside the box to make some opportunities for herself? Or has she been involved in something of interest in her community? That doesn’t mean she has to start a bunch of clubs and be President of them. Maybe she loves books so she volunteered at the local library, read a bunch of books and wrote reviews for the YA section, helped establish a kids’ reading hour and a teen book club, then set up the library book sale.

    As others have said, yes, being full pay can help at need aware schools.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30249 replies59 threads Senior Member
    To the OP directly: Yes, in your DD’s case, regarding the particular school where she is wait listed, it is very posiible, in fact, highly likely, that not being full pay and needing a lot of financial aid has put her at a disadvantage, at this point , in gaining admissions, and will be a factor in clearing the wait list.

    Wesleyan is one of a small number of schools that are not need blind in admissions for all of its US citizen, main undergraduate freshman residential class. We do not know exactly how the school uses financial need in its metrics for admissions consideration but it states flat out that it does use it in some way. The information is readily available on the internet, as lists of such schools are out there and their decision to go this route is well documented with ample discussion.

    As with most need aware schools, Wesleyan states that most of their admissions decisions are made without regard to financial need but that a minority of those decisions are, due to finding issues. Once they have accepted the students that they want the most and are able to find fully, given their budget, they start waitlisting or declining those students that they cannot offer a a financial aid package commensurate with financial need. That is where your daughter appears to possibly be. It Is not a certainty because there are other possible reasons she is on the waitlist, but that she has not been accepted makes need, in her case, a possible factor. IF that is the case, funds have to open up during the last part of the season, usually from accepted students offered financial declining Wesleyan’s offer,opening up those funds to those on the waitlist.

    If you look at Wesleyan financial aid snapshot on the Common Data set , you can see that there having financial need is not an uncommon thing at the school. Wesleyan is one of very few schools that needed full need of their students so that those they choose to go there are better provided for in terms of meeting need than at the vast majority , like way over 90% of the schools in this country. Also note that Wesleyan is a private school and one of the more expensive schools in this country. All of this information is readily available to those looking at colleges as prospects.

    Almost all of the colleges in this country are need blind in admissions. Almost none of them make a guarantee to meet full need and very few do , for very few students except for the public commuter type schools. It’s very expensive, particularly for private schools, to waive those high tuition fees AND also cover living expenses of all of the students that they may want to accept. My state has reasonably priced tuition for their state schools and offers many opportunities and programs for state school tuitions to be covered, particularly for those with financial need, but it is very difficult and rare to have penny one of living expenses and other costs funded.

    To me, it’s a very obvious thing that applying to a private school with very high costs means that that are additional issues other than straight up admissions. If you cannot afford the costs of these schools, yes, you are at the mercy of their financial aid and scholarship policies. Most of these schools have gone the route of putting more of their money towards funding as many students as they can with financial aid rather than putting the money towards pure merit awards. Some schools have not, preferring to focus on getting the students they most want, and offering them money , regardless of whether they need it. Wesleyan has chosen to focus more on funding those students with need that they accept, but in doing so, at some point in the admissions cycle, it does take need as a factor.

    So, yes, financial need plays a big role in admissions to colleges , but not so much at school in the very small niche that Wesleyan occupies. Gaining admissions to a school that does not meet need is a very big and prevalent reason why many students do not go to their first choice schools. Financial aid is not offered based on what the student and family are willing and able to pay. Every single year, at the end of the college admissions cycle, affordability issues come into play even for families deemed not needy at all by the schools. I personally know of a number of families over the years that turned down Wesleyan because they simply could not afford it , given their financial situations and priorities. Wesleyan’s definition of need did not mesh with theirs. They ended up at schools not as high on the desirability list, but more affordable either due to lower sticker price or merit money., usually the matter as these kids were a high caliber group, academically. My son’s close friend went to Tulane instead with a half ride and a number his classmates chose to commute to nearby schools which with some scholarships made it less expensive than 4 years away at what is now costing $80k a year. Still others accepted merit money at schools that were not their first choices but more in line with what their family wanted to pay.

    So, absolutely, yes, many student meet her need to a point where yours end up at schools that are not their first choice for monetary reasons. Even if your DD clears the Wesleyan waitlist, and if Wesleyan does offer a financial aid package when that happens , it doesn’t necessarily mean that the aid package will meet family affordability standards, though with a school like Wesleyan, if you have run the NPCs and are willing and able to pay what these schools feel you should be able to afford, the likelihood is high If she should clear the waitlist with zero or otherwise too little aid, it’s likely not going to do her any good in terms of options. So she has to clear the wait list AND get enough financial aid to make attendance there possible.

    Families understand that sending their kids to private school preK-12 is expensive, and that private boarding school costs are crazy expensive, and most do not bother to even consider that route for cost reasons alone. But for some reason when it comes to college, there is that expectation that full need and more are met, not only for tuition but for living expenses like room and board. Very few students are going to get that covered. Private schools do use tuition revenue for their expenses and most need that money. So cost does. play a big time in getting the opportunity to go to a private university and to live away from home. Of course, it does.

    I’m more concerned about students who flat out cannot afford to go to college due to family situations. For some, commuting is even an onerous expense I’m working in an educational desert right now where, jobs are scarce and transportation options limited so that even going to community college is a financial challenge. It’s terribly unfair what the toll is for these kids to get a college education in proportion to their financial profiles. Private schools are a luxury that are not even in the picture because the vast majority of these kids are not considered top college picks. I saw only a few kids going away to college, hardly any to private schools, and only s handful over 5 years going to private chills up in the selectivity ratings. They are not even in the market for these schools unlike my NY suburb where the majority of kids go to private schools with name recognition and high selectivity rankings. No one here goes to Wesleyan (A hardly any to mine schools) that I know; in NY it is a favorite school on college lists. None of this is fair, IMO.

    YOUR DD does have a chance of clearing the Wesleyan waitlist, and there are articles in this forum that give advice that may increase chances in doing so. If she does, knowing this school , she is highly likely to get a financial aid package compatible with the NPC for the school. Hopefully, this happens. My best regards in this matter.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4927 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited February 19
    Wesleyan is one of a small number of schools that are not need blind in admissions for all of its US citizen, main undergraduate freshman residential class.
    Almost all of the colleges in this country are need blind in admissions.

    Most 4 year colleges are need aware...out of roughly 3,000 4 year colleges, there are somewhere between 100-150 that are need blind for domestic students.
    edited February 19
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2605 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The issue with “need blind” schools is that most of them don’t meet full need, so it’s only one factor and not necessarily the most important for someone who needs aid. Is it worse to be rejected from a need aware school, or accepted to a need blind one but without enough aid to make it feasible? At the end of the day it’s the same outcome ...kid has to go elsewhere.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4927 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited February 19
    SJ2727 wrote: »
    The issue with “need blind” schools is that most of them don’t meet full need, so it’s only one factor and not necessarily the most important for someone who needs aid. Is it worse to be rejected from a need aware school, or accepted to a need blind one but without enough aid to make it feasible? At the end of the day it’s the same outcome ...kid has to go elsewhere.

    Agreed. And only a subset of the need blind schools meet full need.

    OTOH, many schools that don't meet full need for all, do meet full need for some highly desirable students (based on the school's definition of desirability).
    edited February 19
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13438 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited February 19
    @Mwfan1921, actually, most colleges are need-blind, but most of those don't meet full need for all. That would be most publics, for instance.
    edited February 19
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 498 replies5 threads Member
    I made a comment earlier about schools needing to keep an eye on the tuition revenue as they round out a class, and I feel like I left an important part out. Schools can also get near the end and realize they have room to take a lot of applicants that need aid. A school like Wesleyan is run by smart people and I'm sure they often find plenty of room for students that need aid.
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  • jzducoljzducol 809 replies15 threads Member
    Full pay always enjoys some advantage at most schools where there are not billions in endowment, but suffer a disadvantage at tippy tops where attracting first gen/low income is a priority.
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  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG 1020 replies11 threads Senior Member
    If you believe that enrollment is a reflection of acceptances, then probably.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/22/college-applicants-from-families-in-the-1-percent-have-a-big-edge.html
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  • momzilla2Dmomzilla2D 1205 replies28 threads Senior Member
    If you believe that enrollment is a reflection of acceptances, then probably.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/22/college-applicants-from-families-in-the-1-percent-have-a-big-edge.html

    The article focuses on the Ivies and other elite private schools, which tend to have the most expensive COA. Even if accepted, enrollment depends on affordability.

    “Less than 5 percent of students at Ivy League and other elite colleges come from families in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution. More than 14 percent of their students hail from the 1 percent, according to a 2017 study.”

    To me, that’s like saying most of the people that buy (designer clothes, luxury cars, $million+ houses) are wealthy.

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  • NearlyDone2024NearlyDone2024 40 replies0 threads Junior Member
    One often overlooked aspect of elite admissions is how colleges choose which financial aid candidates to select. To get the best bang for their rankings buck, they prioritize first generation and Pell grant kids. Lower and middle income kids are out of luck.

    Want the details? See Stanford and UVA research on this. Get ready to have your eyes opened wide.
    "Two prominent researchers say some selective colleges have responded to pressure to hit national benchmarks for enrolling low-income students -- in ways that hurt other needy students who are equally academically worthy."
    https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/01/28/study-pressure-enroll-more-pell-eligible-students-has-skewed-colleges
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  • NearlyDone2024NearlyDone2024 40 replies0 threads Junior Member
    No disadvantage for full pay kids. But the advantage is mitigated at the very top schools by their desire to enroll Pell grant and first gen kids.

    "Full pay always enjoys some advantage at most schools where there are not billions in endowment, but suffer a disadvantage at tippy tops where attracting first gen/low income is a priority." - jzducl
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    edited February 21
    Schools often look for bang for the buck, so a first gen. URM recruited athlete allows them to check off multiple boxes.
    edited February 21
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2605 replies10 threads Senior Member
    "Two prominent researchers say some selective colleges have responded to pressure to hit national benchmarks for enrolling low-income students -- in ways that hurt other needy students who are equally academically worthy."

    That makes perfect sense for the college of course, given that the students are “equally academically worthy”, even as it might prejudice other low income applicants, or applicants that are not first gen but are not legacy either, etc. Schools need some way to choose one academically worthy kid over another, and they will respond to the existing incentives. Not at all saying it’s right - just that it’s understandable.
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  • foobar1foobar1 236 replies2 threads Junior Member
    If a student or parent can't figure out whether a school is "need-aware" or "need-blind" from google then one can probably figure it out by checking the school's economic diversity.

    Raj Chetty in the New York Times identified 38 schools that have more students from the top 1% of parental income than in the bottom 60% of parental income.

    Most of these wealthy colleges were need-aware.

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