Columbia ED & Financial Aid

<p>i was told it's not wise to apply ED if money is a factor because that would prevent me from comparing aid packages. i also heard that although the college promises to award 100% of the need, that the college itself would determine what 100% need is. however, i read this statement on the columbia website, which says that the family and the student have the final say if the package is adequate or not. does this mean that a student can simply drop the ED agreement if he/she decides that the aid package given by columbia is not enough?</p>

<p>Columbia's statement on ED policy:
"If you are offered admission under the Early Decision Program (and you are provided with a financial aid package that enables you to attend), you must withdraw any applications to other colleges that you may have already initiated, and you are not allowed to apply to any other colleges. You are not expected to withdraw any applications until you receive a financial aid package that enables you to attend Columbia. The decision whether or not you receive a financial aid package that enables you to attend Columbia is one made by YOU AND YOUR FAMILY."</p>

<p>If you cannot pay for a school, you obviously cannot go to it. So, yes, you can back out of the ED commitment. It does not mean that you can "simply drop" the ED agreement. What happens when you apply ED and are accepted is that your name goes on an ED acceptance list that is available to colleges to peruse. Many colleges use the list and cross check it against their applicant list, dropping those whose name appears. If your name is dropped, it can be a problem getting back into consideration. Once you determine that you cannot go to the college where you have been accepted ED, you need to get a release from them, and if you want to continue to be considered by your other schools, you should let them know what happened--preferably through your school counselor. Since it is common knowledge that you should not be applying ED if you need to compare aid packages or need a certain amount of aid, it is not looked upon favorably when a student backs out of ED unless there is some overriding issue involved. I did see this happen once where a student backed out of ED because her father was undergoing a bone marrow transplant and she decided she should stay at home and go to a local school during this difficult time. It was a tedious process, backing out of the Ed and letting the local colleges know. Sometimes in the confusion of admissions processes things get screwed up and you are taking the chance of being dropped from consideration. The colleges do not necessarily notify you that you are being dropped just as they do not notify you that you are being dropped from acceptance if you do not complete an acceptance of their admittance offer and send your check by May 1. But dropped you are, believe me. It does complicate the situation.</p>

<p>The other thing is that once you let Columbia or any ED school know that you cannot go there, you may find that the other financial offers are not any better or worse. You cannot then go back to Columbia and ask for to reconsider their ED package. For all you know, you may not get accepted any where else you even want to go, much less get the aid package you are hoping to get. So unless this is truly a situation that arose between the application and acceptance, it is not advisable to think you can "simply drop" the commitment. It is a pain in the neck and risky to do even when you have extenuating circumstances.</p>