Specifically, how do you break the ED agreement?

<p>I know that you're only allowed out of binding early decision if you can't pay for it. My question is, how is "unable to pay" actually defined? For example, let's say your family needs 30k in aid or something like that. What if the school gives you that aid, but it's all in loans? Are you just screwed?
I'm just wondering what the actual specifics of ending the early decision agreement for financial reasons are- how do you "prove" that you'll be unable to pay?</p>

<p>If money is going to be an issue, then you should not apply ED as one of the biggest drawbacks is that you will not have the opportunity to compare packages. Remember it is the school, not you or your family who determines your financial need and how that need is met. You could find that the ED agreement you turn down may be the best deal offered (how ever you will not know that at the time).</p>

<p>Some schools the (the Ivies for example) will honor any required commitment to matriculate which has been made to another college under this plan.<br>
<a href="http://www.princeton.edu/admission/pdfs/PU_AppInstr_11_12.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.princeton.edu/admission/pdfs/PU_AppInstr_11_12.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>This means for example. if you apply ED to Columbia and back out, HYP, will honor the ED agreement set forth by Columbia and admissions there is off of the table.</p>

<p>In addition, remember it is not only the student who is going into the ED agreement. It is the student the parent and the school as the GC has a responsibility and must sign off that they have explained the ED process to you. </p>

<p>Some GC's (my school specifically) will not allow students to go forward with the RD process, nor will they send out any transcript, recommendation letters, until the student has been released in writing from the ED school. Keep in mind, part of the GC's job is to build professional relationships with colleges so that s/he can be in a position to advocate for their students. If your GC /school becomes known for operating in bad faith, then the fall back will come on your school.</p>

<p>
[quote]
What if the school gives you that aid, but it's all in loans? Are you just screwed?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The best thing is to do the research ahead of time. Asking the finaid office...if the question is not answered on the website....what components a financial package includes is not an unreasonable questions. The college might say: parent contribution, student's savings, student federal loan, work study and grants or some such thing. The maximum loan a student can take out as a freshman is $5500. Understand if the college you are applying to will gap...this is the different between "meets needs" statements and no statement about "meeting need." Secondly, use the calculator on the college website or one of the reputable calculators to get an idea of what your family need might be so that your parents understand roughly how much they might be expected to pay. Also read the ED information on your college website. Some schools specifically say in their websites how you would break your ED agreement and what you need to do. No school is going to twist you or your families arms to get you to attend, but realize that by the time you break an ED agreement you could be in a less than desirable position so plan well and have plans ready to trigger if you are rejected from ED or you find yourself in a position where you need to break the agreement.</p>

<p>Some schools encourage you to apply ED even if you need aid. They say if their package does not allow you to attend, then you can get out of it. Others discourage you to apply if you need aid. You should read the specific information for your college. </p>

<p>Practically speaking, you can get out of the ED agreement if the financial aid package is unacceptable to you. They can't make you borrow money you don't want to borrow. </p>

<p>Most people WANT to attend their ED school and make it work.</p>

<p>* For example, let's say your family needs 30k in aid or something like that.*</p>

<p>First of all, if the FA pkg isn't acceptable, then you just contact the school and decline (your offer will specify how they will want your to accept/decline).</p>

<p>That said, the family doesn't get to determine how much it needs. If a school meets need, then it will determine what that need is. </p>

<p>Keep in mind that many ED schools do not meet need, so have back ups lined up.</p>

<p>I believe that the family has a responsibility to do their due diligence before committing to ED so they do not feel blindsided by their financial aid package. </p>

<p>This includes having a realistic talk with parents regarding how much they are willing to pay or borrow to send the student to college. </p>

<p>Start with the basic premise of<br>
COA-EFC = demonstrated need. </p>

<p>Your parents EFC will be paid out of a combination of monies from the past (savings), present (income) and future (loans).</p>

<p>If the student is part of a blended family, this means talking to their custodial parent + stepparent (if any) and their non custodial parent & step parent (if any) as all of their income/assets will be used to determine institutional need based financial aid. </p>

<p>Students must keep in mind that while college is a moral and a social obligation,in the majority of states it is not a legal obligation. It is certainly not a legal obligation to the tune of 50k+ per year.</p>

<p>Families should use the Net price calculators, using the FAFSA 4caster, to get an idea of your federal EFC, running your numbers through the college board using the federal and the institutional methodologies. the college board will also give a breakdown as far as the proportion of grant aid to self help aid.</p>

<p>If parents say that they are only willing to borrow and pay $X for college, the money fairies will not be showing up at your house just because you applied and got accepted to a school which is financially out of range.</p>

<p>2 of the schools that the OP is interested in is Tufts (that meets 100% demonstrated need but is not need blind) and GWU (which meets ~ 95% demonstrated need)</p>

<p><a href="https://npc.collegeboard.org/student/app/tufts%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://npc.collegeboard.org/student/app/tufts&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://www.gwu.edu/apply/costsfinancialplanning/undergraduate/netpricecalculator%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.gwu.edu/apply/costsfinancialplanning/undergraduate/netpricecalculator&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>The actual common ap ED agreement says only that "Should a student who applies for financial aid not be offered an award that makes attendance possible, the student may decline the offer of admission and be released from the Early Decision commitment." (The college website may be more specific, and you should certainly check it.) Whether the award makes attendance possible can only be determined by your family; the school's perception of your need does not trump your own. If you are admitted, your acceptance should be accompanied, or followed closely, by your financial aid offer; until you have received that offer, your acceptance cannot be considered complete. I don't think your guidance counselor has the right to withhold your RD application materials if you have not received your FA package. If you have gotten your FA offer, you should be prepared to make your decision quickly (that means you should already know what financial aid was reasonable to expect, given your situation, as well as what you need in order to attend--the gap would then be quickly apparent once you got the package). There's not a lot of time for maneuvering, though: if you get your decision Dec. 15, and your FA package a couple of days later, you have to be ready to understand it and figure out if it makes your attendance at that school possible within a few days, if you and your school are to submit your other applications by Jan. 1. I don't think your guidance counselor would be out of line to insist that she or he see proof of your decision, in writing, before the other applications are sent out. However, given the shortness of time, to insist that the ED college have acknowledged that decision before sending out RD applications would not be fair dealing by your GC. </p>

<p>Not every school perceives, or answers, need in the same way; some rely much more on loans than others do. It is really important to get as much information as you can ahead of time, but it is also true that sometimes the package is not reasonable. Reasonable is defined by the customer, not the seller.</p>

<p>A student doesn't get to have it both ways. Either you want the pluses of being an early applicant OR you want the best financial aid package possible. Pick one and go from there. </p>

<p>Because money was absolutely a concern for our team, one kid applied Early to a college known for good levels of support and the second kid didn't apply early to any college.</p>

<p>The basic premise of ED is that in exchange for an early decision, if accepted you will attend. </p>

<p>The GC, the student and the parents must sign off on the following (which is bolded on the common app).</p>

<p>
[quote]
**Early Decision (ED) is the application process in which students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll.</p>

<p>If you are accepted under an Early Decision plan, you must promptly withdraw the applications submitted to other colleges and universities and make no additional applications to any other university in any country. **If you are an Early Decision candidate and are seeking financial aid, you need not withdraw other applications until you have received notification about financial aid.</p>

<p>I also understand that with an Early Decision offer of admission, this institution may share my name and my Early Decision Agreement with other institutions.</p>

<p><a href="https://www.commonapp.org/commonapp/downloadforms.aspx%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.commonapp.org/commonapp/downloadforms.aspx&lt;/a>

[/quote]
</p>

<p>
[quote]
However, given the shortness of time, to insist that the ED college have acknowledged that decision before sending out RD applications would not be fair dealing by your GC.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Because the GC evaluation, transcripts and teacher recommendations are not due at the same time the student app is due, the school can certainly withhold the information until getting clearance from the ED school (which can be as easy as the GC picking up the phone and calling the regional rep for confirmation).</p>

<p>"how do you "prove" that you'll be unable to pay?"</p>

<p>You don't have to prove it; you just tell the school you can't afford it. The school already has your pertinent financial data. No school will attempt to force someone to attend who can't afford it. But, if the school admits you ED when you need financial aid, the school really wants you, and is willing to take a "loss" to get you, so they might try to find a way to make it work; both sides usually want it to work. Some schools do share info, and another school may see no point in admitting you with a similar FA package; if you couldn't afford it at ED time, you probably can't at RD time either.</p>

<p>sybbie--you said the GC insists on a response, in writing, from the school before sending out the RD applications. That's what I think is over the top. At this time of year, with the guidance departments and the colleges overwhelmed with the demands of RD applications, that degree of control seems unreasonable to expect. Perhaps the problem of accepted students trying to draw back from their commitment is larger than I know, but without some real evidence that a kid is really reneging for other reasons than financial, I can't see the point of threatening him with screwing up his other applications. After all, if the guidance counselor feels that she/he has been had, she/he can always send a note to the schools to which the student has applied RD informing them of the situation if the kid draws it out too long. The original question was, how do you prove that you can't pay, and the answer is, you don't have to prove it. You just have to tell them. </p>

<p>At my daughter's high school, ED is encouraged for the boost it may give; it seems to me that if a student who needs that boost also needs financial aid, to insist that he not apply Early in order to prevent any chance of having to break the ED commitment is really unfair. Each student is responsible for understanding, ahead of time, what he or she needs to attend the school to which he or she is applying, and she or he needs to be familiar with the general type of FA the school is likely to hand out, but given the unpredictability of FA packages, there will be a real chance that the package is smaller, or different (i.e., higher in loans) than might have been hoped. I would think it would be heartbreaking enough to have to turn down such an acceptance, to one's first choice school, that the gc would not be inclined to be punitive.</p>

<p>We're past the ED deadline, so the "do your homework on what FA a school offers" advice only applies for future years (and for ED2). But it's still great advice. If you know that a school gaps or includes lots of loans, and that would make the school unaffordable, then it's not worth applying there ED. </p>

<p>sybbie, I'm curious. How does your school handle students applying to EA, rolling, and public schools when the student is also submitting an ED application? And, what if the student wants to submit their RD applications at the same time as their ED?</p>

<p>
[quote]
At my daughter's high school, ED is encouraged for the boost it may give; it seems to me that if a student who needs that boost also needs financial aid, to insist that he not apply Early in order to prevent any chance of having to break the ED commitment is really unfair.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No one is saying that anyone is being prevented from applying ED. However, one must weigh the pros and cons of applying ED. </p>

<p>As I stated earlier, one of the biggest cons in applying ED is that you lose the opportunity to compare packages and possibly ask for a financial review based on a package that you received from a peer school. No one is stopping the family from requesting an early review from the ED school before submitting the application. In Op's situation, she ran her numbers she is going into this knowing that they are going to have to pay more for the ED school than the parents are willing to pay for college.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I can't see the point of threatening him with screwing up his other applications.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No one is screwing up the kids application because the school's part of the application (transcript, recommendation leters, GC evaluations) are not due on 12/31 or 1/1 when the student piece of the application is due to the school. In fact most of the school's part of the application is not due until february because at most schools, the first term is not completed at the end of december.</p>

<p>At the end of the day, ED does not benefit the student as much as it benefits the school. At the end of the day it is the student that has chosen to be on the downside of the power dynamic when they apply ED because they do not get to see what is behind door number 2 or door number 3.</p>

<p>
[quote]
sybbie, I'm curious. How does your school handle students applying to EA, rolling, and public schools when the student is also submitting an ED application? And, what if the student wants to submit their RD applications at the same time as their ED? </p>

<p>

[/quote]
</p>

<p>We submit paperwork for the EA/Rolling admissions schools, that are done before the ED decision date. We so have the student inform the school the EA/rolling school that a student has been accepted ED. IF they do not inform the school, then we inform the school asking for their advice on how to proceed.</p>

<p>You would be suprised at how many students want to hold on to the EA admission even though they have been accepted somewhere else ED because now they feel that they like the EA school better. Yes, we have been burnt and it has put a ding in some of our relationships with our peers in admissions. Keep in mind, we are advocating for a couple of hundred kids applying to college so we cannot afford the luxury of a couple kids/families not doing their due diligence, or trying to game the system make it bad for other students (especially if those students are applying in the RD round).</p>

<p>We do not do anything with RD admissios because the paperwork from the school is usually not due until mid feb. If the withdraw happens quickly, then we send the paperwork. Otherwise the paperwork is in an envelope ready to go or we can upload in a matter of minutes once we receive the withdrawl from ED.</p>

<p>I agree with Olymom:</p>

<p>A student doesn't get to have it both ways. Either you want the pluses of being an early applicant OR you want the best financial aid package possible. Pick one and go from there.</p>

<p>My kids were in the same situation and applied only regular decision or early action. They ended up with several great choices and a wide variety of financial packages that ranged by over $30,000 in yearly out of pocket expenses. I had heard from other parents of multiple children who found that the early decision financial packages were not always the best. With so many choices of colleges out there, why lock yourself in to one without even knowng what the financial package will be --- unless money is no object for you -- which for most people is at least a consideration in the mix.</p>

<p>There's another case: the student has that one dream school above all others, the parents agree that it's a perfect match, and the only question is: can we afford it? If ED confers an admission advantage, they can conclude there's no disadvantage to ED.</p>

<p>I was talking to a student a couple days ago who has an older sibling who graduated HS last June. The sib was accepted ED and felt the aid award was not sufficient. She evidently just sent an email to the admissions office and cc'd the financial aid office. She got a email in return just saying they were sorry they couldn't provide sufficient aid, that if she wanted to submit an appeal for more aid she could, but they understood she probably needed to move on to her RD applications and so released her from the ED agreement... just by email.</p>

<p>She applied to more schools RD and got several acceptances, including one with better (merit) aid. She decided to go there.</p>

<p>I agree with the poster above who said, check with the college. Spell it out -- what if I apply ED and I don't get enough aid, what if the aid is too heavy with loans -- ask all those questions.</p>

<p>The student I mentioned above, could have gotten that release from her ED agreement, and then <em>not</em> gotten a better offer elsewhere -- then she would have felt pretty bad about turning down the ED school. Also talk to your guidance counselor at your high school so you understand any policies they have with regard to ED releases and getting your RD applications out.</p>

<p>The release itself, however, was not difficult in the case of this student.</p>

<p>My son applied ED a few years ago, and I asked a couple schools if a release would be a problem in case of insufficient aid, they all said no.</p>

<p>Make sure you have a financial safety in your list of schools -- a place you know you can afford -- always a good idea regardless of ED/EA/RD.</p>

<p>Older S applied ED to his first choice school. We really didn't know much back then - his guidance counselor encouraged his ED application.</p>

<p>We did look at the College Board site, and assumed that when it said that it met (on average) 85% of need that he would receive an award close to meeting 85% of our FAFSA EFC.</p>

<p>That didn't happen, and there was no way we could afford the balance due with what he was offered.</p>

<p>We didn't have to "prove" anything. We just wrote a letter to the school, asking to be released. He was.</p>

<p>Younger D did apply ED when it was her turn, but she chose a school with an excellent financial aid program, so if she had been accepted we were much more confident that the award would be doable. </p>

<p>The biggest problem, though, was that he didn't apply to other schools, so it was Christmas of his senior year and we were scrambling to find schools that had deadlines after January 15 (to give the school time to send transcripts after the break). Luckily there were a few.</p>

<p>Obviously we hadn't found College Confidential back then...</p>