right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

How does ED work?

gilliangracegilliangrace 22 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
edited August 8 in Common Application
Hi! I'm applying ED to a particular college. From what I understand about ED, once/if you are accepted to that college, you must attend. However, I'm a little confused about the technicalities.

On Common App, it says "If you are an ED candidate seeking financial aid, you need not withdraw other applications until you have received notification about financial aid from the admitting ED institution." I ~am~ seeking financial aid, but I'm from an upper-middle class family, so most likely will not receive much, if any.

Even if I don't qualify for any financial aid, do I still have to rescind my applications to other colleges until I hear back from my ED college about money? And if they don't end up offering enough for me to afford to attend, is there any way for me to not attend despite it being binding? I don't want to withdraw my applications to other colleges if somehow accepted, and then not end up being able to afford to go & being stuck with zero options.

I'm not sure if this makes any sense, so let me know if I need to clarify. Basically, I'm wondering if holding off on accepting to attend because I'm seeking financial aid will still apply to me, who probably won't end up getting any aid that's non-merit-based.
edited August 8
20 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: How does ED work?

  • skieuropeskieurope 38478 replies6732 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Basically, run the Net Price Calculator for the college. If the number it spits out is unaffordable, don;t apply, because FA won't magically appear. If the NPC says that you will be paying full freight, then while you can get out of the ED agreement in January, it would be disingenuous of you to do so. But if you think you can string along the ED school while you compare FA offers from RD schools with the idea of trying to back out of ED in May, that would not go over well.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you know you don't qualify for need based aid, but need merit to attend college, ED may not be the best choice for you. Generally speaking, awards will be released fairly soon after ED decisions go out, if not at the same time, and there is going to be no way for you to compare merit based offers from other schools.

    · Reply · Share
  • gilliangracegilliangrace 22 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @momofsenior1 @skieurope Thank you both for letting me know. My only conflict is with this particular college I want to apply ED to, I know there's a slim chance I would get in regardless, but my chances are much higher if I apply ED. It is my dream school which is why I want to apply ED and have the best possible chances of getting in, but you both bring up good points - I don't want to appear flaky to the school if somehow I get in but then later say I can't go because I can't afford it. Thank you again!
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It's not just you that will look flaky, but also your HS as a whole if you back out of ED. You, your parents, and your guidance counselor sign that you understand ED is binding.

    Talk to you parents to see if you can afford your ED school. If the answer is 'no' after running the NPC, do not apply there or to any other school that you can't afford. It's a recipe for heartache in the spring if you have acceptances to dream schools that you have no way to pay for.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you get accepted to your ED school and have applied for financial aid, you will also get your aid package with acceptance. If the aid is not enough for you to attend, you let the Admissions office know immediately. You may be directed to financial aid office to see if any adjustments can be made. If the package is way off from the Net Price Calculator on the college website which should have already run to make sure the school was financially feasible for you, or if you have financial issues not addressed by the NPC, you have excellent reason to withdraw from the ED commitment. That failsafe clause is in the contract that you signed.

    The drawback with ED and financial aid is that you cannot compare financial aid packages. You have to decide you can do it with the ED package offered or decline it and take the chance you can get better . Imo , it usually is a very good offer. Colleges want to get as close to 100% yield as they can with ED and the coffers are full early in the admissions season. Come RD they are often running lean , they have so many packages they have to put together, and they are harried for time.

    I suggest running the NPCs on several like schools and see what such colleges are expecting your family to pay. If it’s not affordable, given what your parents are willing and able to pay, ED is not for you, because it’s rare you’ll get any merit notifications early, and merit is often used to coax students to commit— they already have your commitment with ED
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It's not just you that will look flaky, but also your HS as a whole if you back out of ED.
    This is not true. It would have to occur over and over again from one HS for any affect on other high school applicants from the same school.

    To answer your question.
    If you get admitted ED, you may get your FA package with the admittance or some time after. You will get the FA package (usually within a week) before you are required to make a decision on accepting the offer of admittance (usually 2-3 weeks after being accepted). If the FA package is not enough for you to attend then you can reject the offer of admittance.



    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ED back outs are relatively rare and, yes, it can affect the credibility of a GC and high school, particularly the year after. But that’s not the case at all if the reason is that you cannot afford the school with the aid offered. Running NPCs on what you can expect before applying , and then if the cost does not fall into those parameters is good reason and proof that the school did not meet cost expectations
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @cptofthehouse No they don't, talk to a admission person at a top school and they will tell you as much. Seriously do you think they punish innocent students for the bad behavior of another? They don't and this bad info is continually propagated here on CC.
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 9
    NPC has nothing to do with ED (its just an estimation tool and is not at all mentioned in the ED agreement). Situations change, parents minds change, there is no obligation to attend if you feel for whatever reason that the FA is not enough.
    edited August 9
    · Reply · Share
  • brantlybrantly 3873 replies67 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    CU123 wrote: »
    NPC has nothing to do with ED (its just an estimation tool and is not at all mentioned in the ED agreement). Situations change, parents minds change, there is no obligation to attend if you feel for whatever reason that the FA is not enough.
    Well, ED should not be treated quite as cavalierly as that. If a financial situation changes, then the student must speak to financial aid office about it. But if "parents' minds change" or "if you feel for whatever reason that the FA is not enough," that's not taking the ED contract seriously. Obviously, nobody can force you to attend. But it has to be done in good faith. And the NPC is a tool that enables students/parents to embark upon ED in good faith.
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Tons of things are done in good faith that don't work out for many reasons. The top universities really don't care if a few ED's decide not to come, they literally have thousands of applicants who are just as well qualified to take that slot. ED is fairly effective in preventing anyone trying to "game" the system. GC will only allow one ED/SCEA/REA application to go forward and you must commit to your ED acceptance before any RD acceptances come out. IOW you can't get an ED acceptance and then wait for any other acceptances and then choose.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    D's HS GC would not sign/endorse an ED agreement unless the NPC had been run and there was thorough discussion with student and parents.
    · Reply · Share
  • skieuropeskieurope 38478 replies6732 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    CU123 wrote: »
    @cptofthehouse No they don't, talk to a admission person at a top school and they will tell you as much. Seriously do you think they punish innocent students for the bad behavior of another? They don't and this bad info is continually propagated here on CC.

    I'm quite sure that users are going to express their PoV without feeling the need to engage in debate, which violates ToS, right?
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It depends upon the schools involved. There are schools where the GCs and AOs know each other for years. The AOs visit the high schools, personally talk to the kids there and to the GC there.

    It’s not a pro quid pro game. Absolutely not. But, yes, it colors the reputation and feel of a school when a kid that the GC advocates drips ED for spurious reasons. There is good reason for the GC to sign that contract. High school GCs with a lot of their students applying ED take that contract very seriously as it impacts their reputation. In fact, at such schools, students often get more pushback from the GC than the college about reneging on ED

    There are many scenarios where the GC might not even notice or care. But if you are in a situation where it’s very important to have your GC as a strong advocate for you, especially for those RD applications you are sending out, it’s not a good idea to back out of ED without a very. Very good reason. Insufficient financial aid is one of those reasons. No, the NP c is not required to be run—I never said items. It is highly recommended do that student and family gets a good idea up front if the school might be affordable abc if the numbers don’t pan out, with fin aid it’s a good point of discussion, to get it possibly increased. It also serves as an early warning. If Swarthmore’s NPC and package do not match closely enough at ED, and the review confirms it, do you really think Amherst, Middlebury and like school are going to come up with better in their aid vs NPC?

    Most important in all of this is that the student, the parent and the GC are signing a contract. Not a good way to start adult hood renting on it.

    Do not get me wrong here, there are very good reasons to back out of ED. The failsafe clause is very simple—insufficient financial aid. No verification needed. If the aid package is deemed insufficient, you can opt out of ED and that school is off your list.
    · Reply · Share
  • CU123CU123 3434 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 9
    Do not get me wrong here, there are very good reasons to back out of ED. The failsafe clause is very simple—insufficient financial aid. No verification needed. If the aid package is deemed insufficient, you can opt out of ED and that school is off your list.

    This is accurate. Frankly this whole thread is a non issue for universities as 98%+ honor the agreement and commit. Really, why else would you apply ED?
    edited August 9
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It does happen that an ED acceptance comes and the student simply changes his mind about going there. Some of students are really just kids, and buyers remorse is real. Or the parents change their mind. Suddenly State U at 1/3 the price, honors college, big merit looks might good. My youngest’s ED acceptance was preceded by a 1/2 cost merit award of about $38k per year from his second choice school that he really liked just fine. With a shot for a full ride to be announced in the spring. That’s a mighty tempting morsel there, enough to motivate many to break that ED contract. There was no financial aid application in the picture.

    There is also misunderstanding and panic involved. I know several cases where the parents somehow got into their heads that they could do better with financial aid or their kid could do better in choice of schools. Yes, I’ve personally seen and heard of cases where the kid turned down ED legitimately—aid package the reason, and did not get better offers RD from other schools, or even getting accepted to peer schools. If it was because the aid was unaffordable, then none of those schools was affordable anyways. But if it was for the quest of more money for similar type school, it’s usually not going to happen because most of the time that ED package going to be the best a kid is gonna get from that category of school. Some colleges out and out say that they will guarantee to meet full need for ED, and they do not for RD applicants.

    There are also valid reasons to break ED contracts. I personally know of a heart wrenching case of a student whose father needed a bone marrow transplant. She decided she would stay local for college and commute.

    Sometimes there is a misunderstanding or miscommunication of a program or situation at the ED school. Who wants to pay $80k a year for a school that doesn’t have a crucial piece of what the student wants?

    Then there are those gaming the system, still according to the letter of the rules but not in the spirit of it.

    The high school GC is the one who has to give any breaking of such contracts the sniff test. Yes, his/her integrity along with the school’s can be on the line.
    · Reply · Share
  • gilliangracegilliangrace 22 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you all for replying but I'll no longer be applying ED to this school because I don't want to break any contracts or appear flaky or like a bad student to the university in question. I'll just be applying RD to all my universities. Thanks again!
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you and your parents can establish what they are willing and able to pay, and the NPC for that school looks good to cover it, applying ED might be the way to go, if you really are committed to that school and would attend, finances making it possible.

    But ED doesn’t let you compare offers. If you want to see the best deals, ED not for you.
    · Reply · Share
  • brantlybrantly 3873 replies67 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you are already thinking about breaking the ED contract, then I think you made the right decision.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity