Sometimes, yes. Colleges are businesses, and they need to pay their staff and keep the lights on. Very rarely are colleges truly need-blind, and this usually only happens at schools with endowments in the billions of dollars. Most colleges would like to be able to take all qualified applicants regardless of ability to pay, but this isn’t the reality. They need to bring in a certain amount of money to pay the bills, and they have a limited pot of funds to provide financial aid or merit scholarships. Schools tend to have more money earlier in the process, and some will set priority deadlines for scholarship consideration. After that, you might be admitted but without merit or other aid. Also, when deciding who to admit, the ability to pay the “sticker price” can help buoy a student who is maybe on the bubble and earn that person a seat. (Alternatively, they’re more willing to offer money to students who can bring something to the school – grades/scores higher than the average, a specific talent or skill they want, some sort of diversity that they’re looking to increase. In other words, the more they want you, the less important it is if you can pay full tuition!). Schools often will look most favorably upon full-pay students when deciding upon who to pull off a waitlist; since they can only offer minimal aid, if any, to these students during May and June, the full-pay students get the advantage.