College doing pre-read wants to know if my athlete will be applying for aid? Yay or Nay?

My Class of 22 athlete player submitted info for seven pre-reads today, July 1. Two of them are NESCACs. The rest are similar in selectivity and one (non-NESCAC) has told us it will be about a two-week process.

A few of the schools have asked whether we would be applying for financial aid. We don’t know the answer to this yet, except that we don’t believe we will qualify to receive much, if any, aid. The schools in question are all between 25%-6% selectivity, so I don’t imagine there is merit aid to be awarded.

Is there a potential disadvantage to saying in the pre-read process, “yes we are applying for aid” or is there an advantage to NOT applying for aid? What would you suggest?

I answered this in another thread too, but a few comments:

-Look on each school’s website and/or common data set to see if they award merit and need based aid, or need based aid only. This is knowable information, and you should know it.

-Answer the coach honestly…either you will or won’t be applying for FA. It doesn’t matter if it’s an advantage or not to be full pay, if you need FA tell that to the coach. Run the NPCs which will tell you if you will get FA at that school, and how much. Be upfront with the coaches about how much FA you would need to make it work. Ask for a financial aid pre-read if your kid passes the academic pre-read. Don’t verbally accept a coach’s full support for a slot at a school that won’t be affordable.

-IMO at some, maybe many, D3 schools it is an advantage to be full pay. I have had two kids go thru the recruiting process and every coach (DI and D3) asked if were applying for FA. When we said no, they all said something to the effect of ‘that’s good’. We didn’t ask what they meant by that.


@DebsGallagher - you would use your 2020 taxes for the aid estimate for the 2022-23 school year. Some schools that didn’t ask you may be need blind - but it is 100% up to you to do the homework and figure out if the school is affordable for 4 years.

The information is out there and you need to take the time to calculate for each school of interest. At that point, if it looks like you may get aid - that is when you ask for a financial aid pre read to confirm your findings. Also pay attention if the school also requires the Profile - guessing yet and that will require more information.


If you can afford it without, you should say no. If you need it, you’ll be between a rock and a hard place if he has an offer and can’t afford to go.

You should not spring this on the school after the fact though. That can create friction for the coach.

If you don’t need a lot of FA, it’s unlikely to be a problem for admissions. (When schools report that 50% of their students receive FA, that 50% includes students receiving full tuition as well as $10,000/year. Having lower need students in the FA mix is fine.)


Just answer honestly.

Yes, there is an advantage to stating that applicant will be a full pay / non-financial aid applicant otherwise the question would not have been asked at the D-III level.

Thank you all–very useful and helpful. Just want to be clear, I wasn’t trying to answer dishonestly, but had not yet made the final decision and this caught us by surprise! Useful info and he is replying that no, we will not be applying. Thank you all!


I agree with what’s been stated so far wrt D3s. I’ll just add that the same is not the case for Ivies. That might not be relevant to this particular athlete but I thought it worth mentioning if other recruits are worried about this issue and looking at Ivies.

Yes. There is a disadvantage to saying you will apply for aid if the school is not need blind.

I think it could be a coach, or athletic department, asking in case you’d also like a financial aid pre-read. Many schools have a lot of money to give. You also might meet a diversity spot they want to fill (geography, male/female, race).

I had one coach who not only didn’t ask but who didn’t want to know anything about it (D3 school) and when I asked she told me to take it up with financial aid office.

I don’t think there is only one answer and I don’t think it always helps or hurts to need financial aid. Coaches know that $70-$80k is a lot for almost all families to pay.

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