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Double Depositing is NOT a good idea


Replies to: Double Depositing is NOT a good idea

  • HImomHImom 33856 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,243 Senior Member
    Housing deposits have policies clearly set out by each U. For example, at USoCal, they encouraged students to submit them promptly, even before they were positive they'd enroll because housing is assigned based on when deposits are received. The deposit is a nominal $30. At some other Us, you have to send in your commitment deposit before or at the same time as your housing deposit. Amounts of deposits vary as well.

    It does seem far more prudent to take the course suggested by Carolyn, of getting an extension rather than putting in two deposits. Speaking with the schools involved about the situation and asking for an extension seems the reasonable approach.

    One of the problems is that there are schools who are still adjusting FAid & merit packages, so the "bottom line" is still not set. May 1 is Monday, so how are informed, intelligent choices supposed to be made? My friend has told her daughter to decline the school that hasn't finished the FAid package (who will TRY to get the package together by May 5) & accept the one who has given her a written FAid package the family can live with. Not an ideal situation, but that is what some kids & families are currently facing.
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  • aj888aj888 11 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 New Member
    From the standpoint that by double-depositing you are causing someone on the waitlist to further agonize over his or her position, I agree that it is unethical. But on the whole I have very little sympathy for the college.

    Posts here and on another double-depositing thread have talked about colleges "deciding" to do things like recind your spot. I don't know much about the technicalities of college admissions statute, but in the greater scheme of contracts in the U.S. this seems intentionally ambiguous and unethical on their part. Of the two colleges I will decide between in the next 24 hours, one is a large state school and the other is small and private. The state school mentions that deposits are non-refundable should the student decide not to attend... I can't imagine how that would prohibit accepting somewhere else. It allows for it. The private school, big surprise, mentions nothing of it either in their acceptance packet or online. They obviously know that this will cross the mind of a large number of their accepted students, so why make them guess? I would prefer several pages of legal explanation to the colorful and unclear reply card they sent.

    A large part of the confusion, it seems to me, comes from the word "deposit". When buying a house or boat, it's generally accepted that putting down a deposit is for the purpose of showing some commitment and real interest. It's so that the seller knows he has a likely customer, and so that the buyer knows she is certain of being sold the item in question should she definatively decide she wants it. If putting down a deposit were equivalent to purchasing something, deposits wouldn't exist; you would just pay for it all at once when you knew you wanted it for sure. It's no surprise that deposits are often unrefundable. But putting down a thousand dollars on a house or car or boat and then being legally bound to buy it? It would defeat the purpose of a deposit.

    By extrapolation, a deposit on a place at a college would seem to be similar. That is, if not for the wording on most reply cards being "I will attend". Thus, there is a strange hybrid of a deposit and a 100% commitment. If it's legally binding, why the $250 up front? They can stick you for +/- $30,000. This is why I fail to see putting down two deposits as unethical the way the system is now. When buying a regular consumer product in the $5,000 to $45,000 range, and making a deposit, you almost always are faced with at least one full page of legal specifics so that you are sure of what the deposit entails. Why not the same with a college decision, which is much bigger than a car in someone's life anyway?

    As the intermediary between accepted student and waitlisted student, the college is charged with making the obligations of both clear. When it fails to do so, I do not think either party above can be faulted. Of all the people in this thread and others who have dropped multiple deposits in the mail, only to find out it's "unethical" and could kick them out of college altogether, I say it's not at all their fault. If a counselor or other experienced person didn't warn them, and the colleges themselves didn't mention what a deposit really meant, I find it ridiculous to say they should have known better. Isn't one of the first rules of ethics that people and organizations, to avoid misunderstandings, should be clear in communicating with one another?
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  • avwhavwh 125 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    Why is it called a Statement of INTENT to Register?
    Shouldn't it be called an Irrevocable Binding Commitment to Register, if it's at all unethical to change your mind after submitting the SIR?

    The only SIR we've submitted, BTW, we HAD to, in order to get a housing deposit accepted to be sure our S would have on-campus housing. (He has another month until his SIR is due for his other acceptance, b/c he was admitted late.)
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  • chocoholicchocoholic 2898 replies97 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,995 Senior Member
    NACAC does have dot.com in its suffix. Not dot.org or dot.edu

    I am one of those who advised momnipotent to send in a deposit to BU even though they have committed to OSU, and the reason was very simple..........BU made a very late improvement in their financial aid offer, and that certainly requires more thought. MP seems to be genuinely and financially torn, and it's not just a case of "I don't know where I want to go".

    If the kid is simply vacillating, and sends in 2 deposits and sits on 2 admissions until July, that would not be good. But what if you sent in 1 deposit last week, and then on April 28 comes this unexpected financial aid package that makes another school affordable.
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  • twinmomtwinmom 2703 replies123 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,826 Senior Member
    "By extrapolation, a deposit on a place at a college would seem to be similar. That is, if not for the wording on most reply cards being "I will attend". Thus, there is a strange hybrid of a deposit and a 100% commitment. If it's legally binding, why the $250 up front?"

    Good point. It is interesting to note that accepting admittance to Harvard requires no deposit.
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  • ncephnceph 787 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 810 Member
    Maybe someone has already noted this, but on Harvard's reply card, they reserve the right to withdraw their offer of admission for several conditions, including "if you are holding beyond May 1 a place in the freshman class of more than one college." If a student accepts a place at two schools that have such a clause, he could possibly end up with 0 colleges, rather than a choice. I would suggest that asking for an extension is the safest way to proceed.
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  • evitajr1evitajr1 926 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 943 Member
    My understanding is that you cannot change your mind other than for waitlist notification at another school or for emergency reasons. Some student will defer for one year, as well.
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  • chocoholicchocoholic 2898 replies97 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,995 Senior Member
    Read the fine print on each acceptance, and make a phonecall. You could get responses as varied as:

    1. Sure, you can respond by May 8. (which we actually got)

    2. If you change your mind, you will lose your deposit.

    3. Sorry, no extensions.

    Some acceptance letters will have boxes to check off, and it could possibly say,"By sending in my deposit I assert that I will attend the U of xyz and will not deposit elsewhere."
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  • AnnAnn 1436 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,477 Senior Member
    It's interesting to note that by sending in the "yes , I will attend" card, and paying the deposit, the university is not bound to accept you. Many will confirm receipt with a reminder that the admission is not final until 8th semester grades are received and approved. Unlike most deposits, It would seem that a college deposit is not binding to either party.
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  • overseasoverseas 2872 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,925 Senior Member
    For those few of you who will be applying from abroad, my son did not receive all his financial information from schools he applied to until mid-May because of delayed mail service. Thankfully, he contacted the school he was most interested in and took care of business online via email and by telephone. He had to be proactive in this process. He continued to get various offers and a constant trickle of mail for several weeks beyond May 1st. So when in doubt, use whatever means available to speed the process up.
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  • Nora_88Nora_88 154 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 155 Junior Member
    But doing so is their own, good right. The college has accepted a student upon the knowledge of a certain academic performance; if it turns out that the student starts slacking as soon as his college acceptance does not seem at stake anymore, then he has been accepted under false pretences, and it would be quite rightful to revoke the student.
    And anyway, if a straight-A student suddenly starts to get all Cs, it would be quite probable that both schools decide to take back their admission. If it happens at all, I mean, of which I am not quite convinced. When I called my future college to ask if they received my deposit and the card, I also asked them if it was really absolutely definite that I would also be able to attend, and they said that there was no way that they would take their decision back now.
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  • asteriskeaasteriskea 938 replies272 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,210 Senior Member
    It seems to me entirely logical and even ethical for parents and students to do all in their power to ensure the best outcome in the admissions game. Obviously, colleges want to get their ducks all in a row as soon as possible and that includes reducing the "wiggle-room"that we have to decide - or else the game of musical chairs that drags on into the summer would never end.

    The amount of the deposit each school requires varies greatly - from nothing to several hundred dollars. In most cases, the "non-refundable" signal of intent to attend - and reserve a place at the school - acts as a built-in deterrent not to enroll at more than one institution at the same time. Once the card and check are sent in you are telling the school that you have made a choice. If new circumstances arise that lead to a change of heart - fine. Make the phone calls and then sort it all out. As Overseas just pointed out - be proactive and responsible.

    The issue here is not if the decision to attend is legally binding or not, rather the consequences and problems that arise when some people try to game the game and hold more than one spot at different schools. Or that is what I always thought double depositing meant.
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  • northeastmomnortheastmom 11939 replies440 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    In some circumstances musical chairs can drag on. My son has a friend who applied to an out of state public. He checked to make sure that they received all materials by phone. He was assured that everything was complete. When decision time came, he did not hear from the school. He contacted them and found out that they did not have his transcript. His hs quickly faxed it. He still has not heard from this school. He was promised a decision last week, and it was not received. Today is May 1. He must deposit at another school, although this oos school is his first choice. He will place a deposit with a private U today, but he is still hoping to get into that oos public university. He is not double depositing, but he is not certain that he will go to the private school either. The private school has become his fall-back school, if he is not admitted to the state school.
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  • AnnAnn 1436 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,477 Senior Member
    Nora-88: I agree that the college has the right to withdraw an admission if a student slacks off. My point was that under the current system, it would seem that students also have the right to change their minds if circumstances dictate. I find it hard to believe that there are thousands of students out there double depositing just for the fun of it. Maybe I am wrong. Anyone have statistics on this?
    That being said, thanks for the post caroline.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4597 replies184 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,781 Senior Member
    Most of the double-depositing dilemma could be avoided if colleges would get their admissions and financial aid offers out to the students in a timely manner. They have the applications for 6 months or more before they send decisions, often expecting replies withing two weeks or less. It is really unfair to families who need to compare or appeal financial aid packages. I'd like to see students and their families have more time to make this important decision.
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