I applied Early Decision to Northwestern, and I feel like I have a very reasonable shot at getting accepted.
I know NU claims to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need, the statistics it has released put me in a little doubt. I come from a mid- to low-income family, so net cost is a very significant factor to me.
I still plan on applying to Yale and maybe Duke, basically because Yale has always been my dream (I only recently gave it up for the slightly more realistic goal of NU).
I feel much more confident about Yale's financial aid... simply because it's, well, Yale. On the off-chance that Yale accepts me, how hard would it be to get out of my ED agreement with Northwestern on financial grounds?
For my income level, Northwestern's aid stats suggest I would get around $27,000, which is definitely not 100% of my need. Some of that would probably be loans, which would hamper me down for years to come. The fact that I come from a large-ish family in a rural area might help me out a bit, but still.
By contrast, I would fall comfortably under Yale's margin for a parental contribution of next to zero, which would also be completely loan-free.
In this scenario, would I be able to make a case for breaking my ED agreement?
Please don't take this as an underhanded attempt to break contract. If NU accepts me and gives me the amount of aid I need, I would be perfectly happy to attend it. But I believe I have a legitimate concern.
I'm sure many other applicants are in similar situations, so more broad answers would be great too.
Thanks for your time!