<p>What's the difference betwene early action and early decision?</p>
<p>EA is non-binding.
ED is binding, unless you cannot afford to attend with the aid offered (if any).</p>
<p>In other words, EA only commits the school to act early on your application, but ED also commits you to make a decision as soon as you are accepted.</p>
<p>so ED is when you HAVE to attend the school, right?</p>
<p>Right, if you get accepted ED, you HAVE to attend the school.</p>
<p>Almost. As tk posted above, at most schools if you apply ED AND you apply for financial aid, you can turn down the ED offer if the financial aid doesn't make the school affordable for your family. If you didn't apply for FA and you are accepted then yes, you agree to attend. </p>
<p>There are a few ED schools where you must attend regardless of the FA offer. If you need good FA to attend, you wouldn't want to apply to those schools.</p>
There are a few ED schools where you must attend regardless of the FA offer
ST, I've never heard of that. Which schools are those? I know all common app schools use the affordable FA language.</p>
<p>Another difference I noted (and it may not be the case at every school -- but this is my experience) is that because ED is binding, there can be a competitive advantage at some schools to applying ED. From what I saw, EA schools are more likely to defer candidates that are not clearly in/above their averages. </p>
<p>And I also thought that every school has an out for ED accepted students who cannot afford to attend, but if it is an issue it is certainly worth confirming that is the case for any school you apply to.</p>
<p>Erin's Dad, I was surprised by this too--some other CC posters noted a few of these schools in a thread a few months back. William and Mary was one such school. IIRC so is Elon. I know, these schools also use the Common App. It's very odd! If nothing else, it's a very good idea for anyone who really needs the safety of knowing they can turn down the ED if it's unaffordable to check carefully to make sure that yes, there is a safety escape.</p>
There are a few ED schools where you must attend regardless of the FA offer.
There are a few ED schools that SAY this, but it's more to get one's attention, to make applying ED a serious consideration. Imagine if they somehow COULD compel attendance, the bill can't be paid (i.e., the family really can't afford it), and the student were expelled. Imagine the horrible publicity for the school. Ask any of these schools (like W&M) what they actually DO when their ED FA offer is unaffordable.</p>