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angstyforadmission1angstyforadmission1 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
If you get accepted to UChicago for ED II, but the financial aid package is not enough, can you walk away from the ED offer, or do you have to go even if the aid package is too little/you can't afford it?


  • SupremeRussianSupremeRussian Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    Yes you can walk away. Although you still need to make an effort to negotiate financial aid before the college will let you go.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    There is no clause that says you can walk away. The ED agreement that my daughter and I signed last year stated that if the student is seeking financial aid, then they do not need to withdraw other applications until they have been notified about financial aid from UChicago. I wouldn't read this as a loophole, however - the signed agreement is pretty clear that you must withdraw other applications. The FA kids just get a bit of an extension so they can receive and review their aid first. If you are of a different opinion as to what you should have gotten, that's not going to be enough - in theory - to get you out of the contract.

    The good news is that UChicago has a commitment to meeting your financial needs and you are likely to be satisfied with their FA offer. We certainly were. They do reserve the right to define "need" and the family contribution may or may not correspond to the FAFSA EFC. That's why it's very important to speak to FA and try to get some idea of what you will be expected to contribute. They will not give you a definite amount but they can perhaps give some some ballpark relative to what the online NPC says. One way to proceed would be to plug 2016 tax return info. into the NPC, see what it says, then call up FA and see what they say.

    Good luck to you!

  • exlibris97exlibris97 Registered User Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    @JBStillFlying I disagree with your post, at least in part. You can be released from your ED commitment if your financial aid award is insufficient to enable you to attend. While Chicago does undertake to meet the "full demonstrated need" of candidates, there are cases where families feel they simply cannot afford the EFC. From students I have worked with in the past, Chicago has been willing to release them from their ED commitment when, following discussions with them, their families found the EFC to be too high.

    What you should do is (1) not withdraw any other applications until you have appealed your award and obtained a final decision; (2) if, after these discussions, your family still considers the award too low, contact admissions and set out your situation. Explain why the college is simply unaffordable and ask to be released from your ED commitment. Admissions will contact the FA Office but if nothing can be done, they are likely to release you. Of course, if your EFC is $1,000 they may be unmoved, so you have to be reasonable.

    These situations often occur where custodial parents are involved etc.

    Chicago has a surfeit of applications and so they have flexibility. Contact them. They are very human.

  • okeydokeypokeyokeydokeypokey Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    edited December 2017
    It was the financial aspect that kept my son from applying ED. He was deferred EA and is now not sure what to do. In the CSS they asked what we think we could contribute each year and I said 6000. So if he changed to EDII and they expect more than 6000, can we then be released from the binding decision?

    I think they expect the student to contribute 5000 a year, but he does not have a job in our very small, rural town there are no jobs for him, so he won't have the 5000 either. Very disappointing, as Chicago was his first choice and his only other app so far is for our state University. I do believe FSU will give him cost of attendance as a National Merit in FL.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    It's reasonable to expect good faith discussion of this with UChicago; however that does not mean you can expect them to release you unless you signed something with that clause OR they've conveyed such to you in some way ie over the phone when you call them to discuss the matter before you sign anything. @exlibris97 you may disagree with my post above but there is not one portion of it that is inaccurate or misleading.
  • DunBoyerDunBoyer Registered User Posts: 279 Junior Member

    Does the $5,000 include loans or work-study?

    Stafford loans (especially the subsidized ones - the government pays the interest on those until graduation) are a good deal for most families. Students can borrow $5,500 as first-years, $6,500 as second-years, and $7,500 each year thereafter (including $2,000 in unsubsidized loans each year).

    Work-study jobs also pay decently. AFAIK the U of C is legally required to pay the state minimum wage (though not Chicago's higher minimum), and campus jobs generally offer a higher rate. For example, the NSP (our biggest single employer of work-study students) pays $12/hour.

    If the aid office expects a student with a UChicago workload and no job/significant savings to contribute $5,000 above and beyond loans and work-study, I'll have whatever they're smoking.
  • marlowe1marlowe1 Registered User Posts: 536 Member
    @okeydokeypokey I was rooting for your son, who you described in a previous message and whose situation I identified with. He seemed like a good fit for Chicago and that the experience of being there would have been transformative for him. I'm sorry he didn't make it on the first round, but there are lots of anecdotal success stories on this board of kids who were deferred EA but accepted EDII. Going that way does appear to substantially enhance the chances. I understand the financial worry in this. I and my family had similar constraints once upon a time. There's always a way to make these things happen if it truly means enough to your son and you. I myself worked part-time consistently while at Chicago and also summers, and I also rolled up some debt. I have no hesitation many years after in saying it was all worth it. These small deprivations and burdens, which didn't seem at all small at the time, have faded to insignificance. There are of course many schools in which a kid can flourish, including state schools, but there's only one University of Chicago!
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    My daughters financial aid award included $3000 from work-study and an additional $2000 from summer earnings so that $5000 total student contribution sounds about right. She is able to contribute the $2000 because she worked throughout high school and had cash in the bank from that. However her courseload does not allow her any extra time for a work-study job. Fortunately, her national merit scholarship compensates for most of that work study amount. If it did not, we Might have opted for Stafford loans, unsubsidized in our case.
  • angstyforadmission1angstyforadmission1 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    thank you so much for all of your help!! :)
  • exlibris97exlibris97 Registered User Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    @JBStillFlying I didn't say your comments were misleading. What I said, and what is very true, is that University of Chicago is flexible in working with families and most definitely does release students from their ED commitments when families find they cannot meet their EFC. That is simply a fact.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    @exlibris97 - have no doubt you are correct. But it's probably not a great idea to rely on the goodwill of an institution when there might well be a wide discrepancy between what a family expects to pay and what Fin. Aid. comes up with. In the case of UChicago, they say they meet all demonstrated need, so the family at minimum would have to show how UChicago's numbers are incorrect (you had alluded to this as well). Universities don't want to appear 'mean' nor is it worth the hassle to hose a kid when a simple release under the premise that apparently it's "not possible" for the family will do instead. But these are case-by-case situations and are clearly no substitute for up-front preparation. There is no blanket "walk away" statement either in the ED guidelines or in the instructions of the agreement. Many posts are way too casual about the ability to get out of these agreements and it was that error I was originally addressing.

    The Fin. Aid. office will provide guidance, clarity and, most likely, assurance about expected costs. If someone has done their homework both in terms of the NPC and calling Fin. Aid they will have the info. they need to decide whether to switch to ED.
  • exlibris97exlibris97 Registered User Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    @JBStillFlying Agree but it needs to be recognized that from the university's perspective, it is better to release a student and then give the place to someone who will attend, than have the student drop out late in the summer or enrol and then withdraw. And while it is true that you have to depend on the goodwill of the university, my experience is that they didn't ask for much "evidence".
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    @exlibris97 - it's a messy business either way. All the more reason to do your research and talk to Fin. Aid. before you sign the agreement. Guess I'd rather get my questions answered up front than worry about some complicated mess during the time I could be picking out my dorm or perusing core classes.
  • okeydokeypokeyokeydokeypokey Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    I spoke to someone in FA yesterday. He said that what you see on the NPC is pretty accurate to the offer you will get. I explained that what is on the NPC will not work for my family without my son having to take out loans each year. He told me that they do NOT notify other institutions of your student's agreement to go ED and that nobody will come to your door to make them go to Chicago. LOL.

    It sounds like if an appeal to FA still doesn't make the offer work in your favor, then you can decline to offer.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,520 Senior Member
    @okeydokeypokey did you actually speak to one of the directors? We’ve found that FA help is a hit or miss at times depending on who’s answering the phone. Fortunately, the time I called specifically to discuss the financial implications of EDII they put me through to a director who could pull up our financial profile as we were speaking. He informed me that NPC is a DOE-mandated tool that typically generates a higher end of the estimated range (online availability means potential headaches for FA offices despite all the disclaimers). What he said turned out to be true for us. However, even taking that into consideration, loans won’t be a zero probability- especially if the work study / summer earnings can’t quite happen as specified or outside scholarships don’t offset.
This discussion has been closed.