Does it REALLY matter when enrollment deposit is paid?

I have heard the popular sentiment that paying the enrollment deposit early creates the perception in the school that they need not worry about awarding financial aid since the student is “going there anyway.” I have actually posed this question to a financial aid officer at my child’s top choice, and it has been strongly denied, stating that “we pursue aid for all students regardless of the enrollment deposit status.” At this school in particular, prospective, accepted students are asked to fill out a more detailed “Scholarship Profile” describing aspects of themselves which may potentially make them candidates for specific scholarships, and this Profile can only be completed after the student has paid the deposit and is considered “matriculated.” While I used to be a believer in the rumored suggestion not to pay early, I’m now of the belief that many schools offer aid on a first-come-first-served basis and that a student’s display of commitment to attend (via early payment of the deposit) would actually benefit the student. I am concerned only with merit-based aid/scholarships. The deposit is non-refundable, and if we receive no award whatsoever, we will pay in full for my child to attend. Any opinions? Thanks!

What is the rush? Unless this is an Early Decision acceptance with a timeline for accepting, just wait. You know…seniors in high school can change a lot in the next few months.

Just wait.

The scholarship issue is the rush

At some schools the Enrollment Deposit could give the student advantage in early Orientation dates which can give earlier class selection choices and housing assignments that could give preferable housing choices.

As for scholarships, most pure merit awards are given by the Admissions Office, not financial aid. In many schools, those offices are separate and don’t have a lot to do with each other that doesn’t have to do with exchange of necessary info. The Enrollment Deposit and info generally goes to the Admissions Office, not to Fin AId. Who knows what is going through any one Admission’s Officer’s mind when allocating out the merit awards? Think about it. Your job is to ensure you get the top kids to come to that school and that you have a good yield, and are given a pot of money to “buy” the best student and to get those numbers as well as possible> You have a group of kids who have paid down money and signed an Enrollment Deposit which past experience tells you that the likelihood of that group coming is higher than those who haven’t gotten back to you yet. You have money to give out. How would you spend that money to best get the goals you have career wise and for the university?

I can tell you that here is no set procedure at schools that spells out that those putting down their enrollment deposits are less likely to get merit awards. But think of the psychological and pragmatic issues. Many of these awards are given on holistic factors and judgement of the grantors, (usually admissions officers), not by who has the highest test scores, grades, points to get admitted.

It is my opinion that for financial aid it would not matter when a student deposited. It is “possible” that for some smaller colleges that tuition discounting in the form of merit might be evaluated based on whether the student has committed or not. I also believe that it is probably first-come, first-served with publics who have far less “merit money tuition discounting” in their pockets. I was a believer in first-come, first served.

Duplicate thread

Threads have been merged
ED - Mod

Thanks for all of the opinions. In my thinking, if there is even a remote chance that committing early via a deposit will be seen favorably, then it’s worth it. And the fact that this school in particular REQUIRES the deposit before the student can submit his/her “Scholarship Profile” makes this a no brainer for me. Incidentally, this is a public university whose aid is awarded by the Financial Aid Office, not Admissions, and the early deposit has no bearing on housing, registration, etc.

If the school says it wants the application as early as possible, and that the school may award merit based on that early application for financial aid, would you really believe the people on CC to know more than the school?

Very true. I use this app for opinions, not to replace my decisionmaking

There opposite could be true. If you commit early, there might be no reason at all to give your student a scholarship. She has already indicated she would attend…wothout one.

Exactly how my original post began!

There is absolutely no reason to commit to a college early unless your child really wants to be all done with the process.

But if you are seeking merit aid, why wouldn’t you wait until all of the offers are in, and go from there.

It’s unusual that the finanical aid office is giving out pure merit awards, when they are not tied in with Admissions, from what I have seen. Financial aid is a whole other thing and they often go on a first come, first served basis with not enough money, especially grants to give out to all the students with need. In a case where the money is so distributed and enrollment is needed for an award to be given, then, yes, it behooves you to get that enrollment in early to get optimal consideration.

It looks like the OPs daughter has applied to the BSN Direct admit nursing program at Michigan. Don’t get me wrong here…its a great program. But there are BSN programs in every state at one public university, I believe. If the OP really is concerned about the finances, I hope his daughter has also applied to a public university in her state with a BSN program.

Seems like waiting to compare all financial aid offers is a good idea as well.