Does EA lower the amount of merit aid?

<p>My guidance counselor told me that applying early decision to colleges lowers the amount of financial aid that they give you, which makes sense because you are committed to attend (and pay) if you are admitted.</p>

<p>But I forgot to ask him whether applying early (non-binding) will reduce the amount of merit aid too. Can someone please tell me if I applied EA in the fall, will colleges offer less merit aid?</p>

<p>I don't think that applying ED would necessarily reduce the amount of FA, but it does reduce your options. If you are able to see multiple FA packages, you can pick the best one based on the grant to loans ratio. Deciding to apply ED should be because you are absolutely sure which school you want to go to. It shouldn't be an admissions strategy to get into the most prestigious school possible. Some people do apply ED and then have regrets senior year. That said, it is easier to be admitted to the most prestigious schools during ED than it is during RD.</p>

<p>Applying ED does not always reduce financial aid. It may actually give you an advantage as the school usually has more money to give out earlier on and has to be more conservative with it's money RD. That said, it does not give you a choice in case the financial package does not work out so it's always important to be careful going ED if financial aid is a major issue.</p>

<p>I would think EA would help in financial aid rather than hurt for two reasons. The first is the above that there is more money to give out earlier in the year. The second is that the students seems more interested in the school so the school will try a little harder to lure him/her with money.</p>