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ED- Financial Aid...

Yass1211Yass1211 Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
Im sure this question has been asked before ,but does applying early decision really affect the financial aid package? What about in terms of schools like Yale and UPenn where they have removed student loans and promise to meet 100% of demonstrated need?

And another question: Does financial aid mean that the school will basically pay for your demonstrated need with or without student loans? Or does that depend on the school itself? Can you select/choose not to have loans?
Post edited by Yass1211 on

Replies to: ED- Financial Aid...

  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,231 Super Moderator
    You can always choose not to not to accept loans as part of your financial aid package. However, if loans are given as part of your package and you refuse them, the college will not make up the money.

    Just because the school does not offer you loans does not mean that you won't need loans. You may need loans to make up part or all of your EFC.

    Both schools will meet your demonstrated need with out loans.

    Remember they determine how much you need, which could be a disconnect with how much you/your parents think you need.

    Yale is SCEA, no there is no commitment to attend and you probably will not receive the FA package until regular decision packages go out in March. You cannot apply to Penn or any other school ED.

    If you apply to Penn ED and are accepted, you are stating that in return for an early decision, you commit to attend regardless of the aid package you are given. However, you can back out if the aid is insufficent (but all the other ivies come off the table too).
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    Schools like Yale and UPenn have only need-based aid. They determine what your financial need is, and then in the case of those schools and some other schools like them (well-endowed, private, Ivy or tops LACs, some major private univerisities like Stanford, etc.) they will meet 100% of your need. In the case of schools that have dropped the student loan component from aid packages you will not find loans offered as a means to meet that 100% of need.

    There aren't very many schools like that, but some of the top schools in the country have moved to programs that are roughly similar, although they might vary in the details like what income brackets they will provide this level of financial support for.

    If the school is needs-based only, there isn't really a reason to think their aid offers will be different for ED from what they'd offer you RD.

    Merit-based aid is different, though, and harder to predict.

    Your need will be based on the parents and student's income and assets. Different schools use different formulas for determining how much you can afford, but some are fairly open about this and you can get a pretty good sense of how it will go for you if you happen to have very simple family finances -- such as just income and no assets or investments other than the house you live in.

    No one will force you to take out a loan, but in most cases students are offered loans (talking about schools that are not no-loans schools, here) because they need them.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    If the school is needs-based only, there isn't really a reason to think their aid offers will be different for ED from what they'd offer you RD.

    My daughter attended a school that met 100% of need.
    Need can be met with any combination of loans, grants and work study.
    Her school met her need with small subsidized loans, a large grant and work study.
    Schools that meet need, often use other formulas in addition to FAFSA to determine need. Possibly PROFILE and probably their own forms.
    THis is not just to determine true need ;), but additional resources to use for education.
    She applied RD, and so not only was she able to compare offers, but as it was later in the year, she had more knowledge to know that was what she wanted.
    WHen you apply ED, you are saying " I really want to go here. even if my package consists of 90% loans and 10% work study, I realize that once I am accepted, I will withdraw my applications from all the other colleges"

    They don't really have to have motivation to give you a competitive package, because they have already obtained your commitment.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    But if you look at a school like Yale or UPenn, as the OP mentioned, they meet 100% of need without loans. The OP questioned if there is reason to believe that financial aid at a school with need-based aid, that meets 100% of need, and doesn't package loans in its awards, would be different depending on whether you applied ED or RD. There is no reason to think it is. Those highly endowed no-loans schools have a formula (yes, their own formula) for determining need. They apply it to students the same regardless of whether they are ED or RD applicants.

    So, sure there can be advantages to applying RD, especially when it comes to comparing offers, but there advantages to applying ED too, such better odds of getting accepted in the first place to one of those schools with amazing fnancial aid.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,231 Super Moderator
    As EK stated, the one thing about applying ED is that you lose your ability to compare offers. Even at schools that meet 100% demonstrated need with no loans, does not mean that you will get the same package from both schools.

    Schools that meet 100% demonstrated need with no loans can sill be places that are not financially feasible for some families as "great financial" aid is a relative term.

    I know in our house my D applied to and was accepted at 7 -100% meets demonstrated need school and we received 7 different EFCs.

    There was a total of $12,256 between the Barnard package and the final offer we got from Dartmouth.

    D was admitted to 3 direct competitors all with similar endowments (Dartmouth, Williams & Amherst) and there was still a range in the FA packages of the 3 schools.

    Williams gave more grant money, less loans, less of a student contribution, less work study and the parent contribution amount was less than the Dartmouth package. We were able to ask for a financial review where Dartmouth ended up meeting the Williams package.


    difference between Williams and Amherst

    parent contrib 2251 higher at amherst
    student contribution 975 higher at amherst
    grant money 4906 lower at amherst
    loans 3500 higher at amherst
    Workstudy 100 higher at amherst
    Overall there was an $11,732 difference in the 2 FA packages which would have been at minimum $46,928 over the course of 4 years. Keep in mind that your student contribution and self help aid does increase year over year.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    But that still doesn't address the OP's question of whether they would be offered a different package from the *same* need-based, 100% of need met, no loans school depending on whether they applied ED or RD.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    to even further elaborate- it might change from year to year and schools are often " need aware"
    At my D's school, while I didn't look at her friends financial aid applications, I do remember a couple kids not being able to attend because of the aid package- even though 100% need was met & these were often students with better high school grades and test scores than herself.
    Each school has their own formula- private schools can be very generous, but they also can be just out of reach.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,231 Super Moderator
    I don't think any one can really say for sure. I would recommend that the student & parents contact the FA office to find out about getting an Early Read when they explain their FA situation (even then, the school will not commit to the package, they will just give a ball pack figure)

    Scenario: Student applies and is admitted SCEA at Yale and decides to apply RD at Penn.

    Student is admitted to Penn RD. Receives package from Penn and ultimately decides Penn is the better "fit" for him. However, Yale gives the better FA package. Student can request a FA review and most likely Penn will meet Yale's offer to protect their yeild. Schools do give preferential packages to students that they really want to attract; whether it is a student that helps fulfill their institutional mission, an athlete (we know there are no "athletic" scholarships given) or to say a student from a more cometitive peer school.

    Another student can say that s/he received a better offer from the Joe & Willy College of Widgets and Penn or Yale may end up telling him something to the tune of "go where your $$ can take you".

    This would have never been an option if student applied ED so applying RD did over all net the student a "better" FA package.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    If anyone has any credible information that Yale or UPenn will apply a different formula in determing need-based aid to an ED applicant from the formula they'd use in determining need-based aid to a RD applicant it would be interesting to hear about.

    Arguments for not applying ED because a student wouldn't be able to compare packages or leverage better deals are good points, but are not addressing the same question.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,231 Super Moderator
    For Yale it is a non-issue. Whether you are accepted SCEA or RD you will still receive your package in the spring.

    I have spoken with a lot of college and a lot of FA departments on the behalf of my students and I can unequivocally say that I have never heard a school form the Ivies to the Local State ever go on the record and say that a student will receive a better or worse package if they apply ED vs. RD.

    However, as I stated earlier, int he case of a highly recruitable athlete, the preferential FA package that would be better during ED , because the coach will want to insure that they are locking in the player, where as if the player decides to hedge their bets the recruitment process still goes forward with out them.

    So all of the information you will ever receive will be antecdotal. Also keep in mind that at schools like Yale and Penn, the admissions and FA operate as totally separate entities do not even communicate with each other.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    With all the publicly stated concern over how ED favors the most privileged students at top tier schools (I'm only talking about need-based only/100% need met/no student loans schools), if anyone in admissions *or* financial aid has information that ED students are having less-advantageous FA policies applied to their given financial circumstances, I hope they take that right to the education editor of the New York Times. That would be a major scoop.

    Outside of a very small handful of tip top schools... probably a different story.

    I think ED can make sense in some cases for students with financial need, but the circumstances for that are very narrow. First it needs to be a 100% need met w/o loans situation. Additionally, the student's family financial situation has to be very simple (income only, no investments or assets, no second properties), the school needs to be forthcoming about how their FA policies will apply to those circumstances, and the student needs to be clear that not only is the school their #1 choice, but if the aid they get is workable they would still go there regardless of whether they might get a better deal elsewhere... in other words that it's not all about the money, as long as the money do-able.

    In exchange, there are some schools (not all by any means) where that ED application will give them somewhat better odds of acceptance. If it doesn't work out and they're not accepted, then they're back in RD with everyone else and able to compare offers, etc.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,231 Super Moderator
    With all the publicly stated concern over how ED favors the most privileged students at top tier schools (I'm only talking about need-based only/100% need met/no student loans schools)...

    The reason for the concern about ED favoring the most privileged is that this group will most likely be full freight payers no matter when their child goes into the cycle. With this thought in mind, once they have resolved themeselves to the fact that they are going to write the check for the full amount, and they a can afford to write the check for the full amount, what ever their child gets as far as financial aid is a non-issue. So if their child can get the "advantage" of being accepted because there is a smaller application pool, then they are going to toss their hat into the ED pool.

    However, for the vast majority of college aid students and their parents, this is not a luxury. Many families can't go into the process with the mindset as long as you get accepted we will make the $$ happen, especially in this economy. So even for schools with "great financial aid no loan policies" a family would be remiss not to do their due diligence and have a realistic money talk with their child.

    Also remember at the ivies, there is a joint statement where they agree not to take a student that has been committed to another school ED.

    So when a kid does back out of ED at an ivy/elite school, they are essentially shutting the door on all of them, because there are very few GC's out there who are going to risk their relationships with college admissions officers and the chance of their other students being admitted because someone has not done their due diligence. Remember the GC is also putting themselves and their professional integrity on the line as they have to sign off on the ED application.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    The very affluent and the lower income/low assets students both can have a certain comfort level with ED apps at those Ivy and Ivy-comparable schools.

    The people without unlimited means, but also with more complicated financial situations are in more of a dilemma.

    The problem for low income/low asset students is that they are often not prepared to apply ED, but also that they are told constantly not to apply ED if they have need... which sometimes is not the best advice. Depends on the school and depends on their financial circumstances.
This discussion has been closed.