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Honors College requiring enrollment & housing deposits by January 31

momof2inscmomof2insc Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited January 11 in Parents Forum
Hello all,

This is my first post, but I have been reading for a while. My daughter was just accepted to an honors program at one of our state university regional campuses with a significant scholarship offer. The letter she received is requiring her to commit to the school, accept the scholarship, and also submit enrollment and housing deposits by January 31 if she wishes to participate in this program. While she is very interested in this program, she is also in the middle of the application process for another competitive scholarship program that would be more beneficial to her if she is chosen. This scholarship would not be able to be used at this particular campus as only some schools in the state participate in the program. This particular regional campus is not one of them. She will not likely receive a decision for this program until March. We are also low income and need complete financial aid packages before she can truly make a final decision.

My question is - can they actually require her to commit and submit these deposits by January 31st rather than the national May 1 deadline since this is an honors college program? This school and the honors program is high up on her list and we do not want to lose the guaranteed scholarship. However, we feel it is unfair to be forced to commit without a complete financial picture of what she may receive at the other colleges she has been accepted to. When I called the school to ask about the January 31st date, I was told it was because the honors program currently has a wait list.

Please offer any advice possible as we are in a dilemma and don't know how to proceed from here.

Replies to: Honors College requiring enrollment & housing deposits by January 31

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,739 Senior Member
    The short answer is yes, schools can make their own rules about when they require deposits. IMO though, II don't like the practice.

    Is it a refundable deposit?

    Who did you speak to at the university? You may get a different response or a waiver, if you speak to the financial aid office .
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,753 Senior Member
    edited January 11
    What uni? I wouldn't buy into any of that, some popular schools have a housing deposit. which in buys you a time slot. State schools can't make up the rules as they go along. The housing deposits for the time slots method is usually affordable if you walk away (like under $50).
    You can look through the scholarship's details an the honors college details to clarify yourself. This hurry up approach is very common, probably more so from less selective schools. Honors college wait list is not a reason to deposit at all. Smells like BS.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,081 Senior Member
    edited January 11
    It's against NACAC ethical rules that all their members agree to. Early Decision is the only exception.
    All postsecondary members agree they will:

    -permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admission and institutionally-affiliated financial aid and scholarships until May 1, and state this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission, and not establish policies nor engage in practices whose effect is to manipulate commitments prior to May 1.

    -colleges will neither retract nor adversely alter their offers of admission and/or financial aid prior to May 1 for candidates who choose not to reply until that date, nor will they state or imply that candidates might incur such a penalty by waiting until May 1 (including time zone) to submit an enrollment deposit;

    -the May 1 deadline also applies to any academic major or special program to which the candidate has been offered admission. Examples of special programs can include, but are not limited to, honors programs, dual-enrollment master’s, or professional-degree programs;

  • momof2inscmomof2insc Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thank you! That is the information I was looking for. I will be addressing this with them when we go to campus next week.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 16,589 Senior Member
    The NACAC recommendations often come up and it is worth using their recommendation to get an extension on the offer for your D but the bottom line is colleges can and do incentivize students to sign the deal quicker than May 1. If the school won’t budge then you just put it in the risk decision column. It isn’t BS as we see this every year..colleges guaranteeing this or that if kids sign up. Consider it a signing bonus with the risk bring it might not be there in 3 months. Some of all of the money might be refundable so worth asking that question in case the #2 choice doesn’t happen. If it is refundable and this is one of the final choice colleges it might be worth tying up the money for a couple months.
  • momof2inscmomof2insc Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    We more than likely will be putting the deposits down to hold her place by January 31st as they are requiring. I have called again this afternoon and confirmed that they are refundable if she chooses to attend another school as long as the decision is made by May 1. You are correct that the amount of money required as a deposit is well worth securing her spot with a guaranteed scholarship. My main concern was not that the deposit money would be tied up, but if accepting this offer would somehow prevent her from taking advantage of the other scholarship offer were she to receive it and need to attend a different school. That does not appear to be the case, so I am feeling much better about the situation at this time. My child will be considered a first generation college student so this process is all new to us. I do want to mention the NACAC ethics information when we are there in-person just because I feel that it is important to discuss with them and get clarity on all aspects of this situation. We are not asking for special treatment at all. I just want to make sure that she is given the opportunity to consider all her options. I was not aware of how she could do that in this situation, but it seems there is indeed a solution. As long.as she can withdraw and accept another offer by May 1 if needed, then we can move forward without feeling like the Jan 31 date is unfair.
  • GloriaVaughnGloriaVaughn Registered User Posts: 474 Member
    @momof2inca Make sure you find out the proper way and forms to get the deposit refunded. Sometimes that can be hidden in the website and by the time you find it, oops, to late.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,489 Senior Member
    edited January 12
    Whew, problem solved regarding schools. Be sure to look at the fine print for deposit refunds. Housing and school deposits may require letting each know separately- one does not always communicate with the other. Thank goodness for that uniform May 1st deadline!
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 16,589 Senior Member
    I don’t recall any poster saying that early deposits were not refundable to some degree and if there was a thread where it was not refundable I must have missed it so I think most colleges at least practice the “spirit” of the NACAC recommendations. But I also have no problem with colleges incentivizing early commitments to students.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 10,759 Senior Member
    I agree, pay the deposit if it's affordable, to hold the spot and guaranteed scholarship. It should be refundable, especially since you don't have all financial aid information yet.

    Have you submitted the FAFSA? You can ask the financial aid office to give you an estimate of other aid (Pell, state aid) you might receive.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,081 Senior Member
    My main concern was not that the deposit money would be tied up, but if accepting this offer would somehow prevent her from taking advantage of the other scholarship offer were she to receive it and need to attend a different school.

    You can definitely take the other offer if it comes. Glad to hear the deposit is refundable and affordable.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,210 Forum Champion
    Colleges want to encourage you to pick their college. SO the early deposit is a way for them to get you to "anchor" that decision in your mind.

    Pay the deposit, and then get it refunded if you like the other one better. Only have deposits on one school at a time.
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