Getting out of Early Decision

How exactly do you tell a college that you’re not financially able to fulfill the ed contract? Like, can you just say you can’t do it or do you have to provide papers of your financial situation?

You should run the Net Price Calculator for the school before deciding to apply ED, and save all the information you entered and the result. Some schools will do a more detailed financial aid pre-read for students who are considering an ED application.

Given the best possible estimate of your net costs, should you be accepted, applying ED constitutes and agreement that you are willing and able to pay what the estimate shows. If your actual net cost, post-acceptance, is higher than what you were led to anticipate, then you can show the disparity as a reason to decline the ED offer.

If the costs really are as projected, but you cannot pay them, then you’ve either had a significant change of circumstances OR you shouldn’t have applied ED in the first place. If it’s the former, then appeal the aid offer and indicate that you won’t be able to attend unless your revised need is met. If it’s the latter… that’s trickier, because the college has held up their end of the bargain.