Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?
At need sensitive schools, of which there are few, absolutely!
The answer to this question is that it depends on the college. There are some “need blind” schools that do not weigh ability to pay in the college decision. In general, many colleges do look more favorably on full pay students. This should not discourage you from applying though. If you need aid, you may have to put a bit more strategy into your college list.
Sadly in todays economy the ability for a student to pay full tuition has become a factor in some admissions decisions. A school will post their admissions policy on their website. A school that is “need aware” will consider a student’s need for financial aid as a factor in their admissions decision. A school that is “need blind” will not consider a student’s financial needs when making an admissions decision. A need blind school is not guaranteeing to meet a student’s need for financial aid. The school is simply not factoring financial aid needs into the admissions decision. A student may still be unable to afford that school. Schools that “guarantee to meet a student’s financial aid needs” will provide an aid package that meets a student’s aid needs beyond the families expected financial contribution. This does not mean that a student is being given a scholarship. The aid package may consist of loans, grants and scholarships.
While the bottom line is that we need students to pay tuition to keep the doors open, selections are not being made at reputable institutions on the basis of who can pay and who cannot.
Yes, this is definitely a new trend in college admissions due to the economic down turn and budget cuts facing many universities.
As long as the applicants are well qualified, except for a very small handful of colleges, yes they do generally look more favorably on an applicant who can pay full tuition. This doesn’t mean that full-paying candidates will always get the nod over those needing financial aid, but all other things being equal between two candidates, ability to pay will be a factor.
The best way to answer this question is, depends. There are a large number of schools who have a “Need Blind” policy when it comes to financial need in respect to admissions. This policy indicates that a student’s financial need status has no bearing on their admissions. While there are also schools who are “Need Aware” or “Need Conscious” this policy indicates that while the school does not use an individuals financial need as primary factor it may come into play in the decision process. It is important to take a look at each school’s approach to this sensitive topic so you are aware of their policy prior to admissions.
Sadly, for many private colleges that are struggling financially, yes your ability to pay matters. They ask for this information on their applications and take it into consideration when admitting students. Other colleges are need blind and do not take your family’s finances into consideration. These colleges are fewer and fewer. Public universities do not typically evaluate students based on who can pay full tuition, yet many are admitting larger numbers of international and out of state students who pay significantly more tuition than those in state.
A college could favor a student with the ability to pay full tuition without the need for scholarships and financial aid. To some, this practice seems unfair. Why should one’s ability to pay play a role in admission? Keep in mind, not all schools look at a student’s finances during the admissions process. In fact, many colleges and universities have “need blind” admissions policies where admissions and financial aid are made separately. If you are worried that your ability to pay full tuition could impact your admission, find out if that school has a need blind admission policy.
Like everyone else, colleges have been hit hard by the current economic climate. In some cases, it is to a school’s advantage to take as many highly qualified students who can pay full tuition as possible. This has definitely been the case in the University of California system, which has seen a rise in admitted applicants from out of state (who bring higher priced out of state tuition along with them).
Do some research to find out if the colleges you’re interested in are “need blind”. This means that they consider all applicants equally regardless of ability to pay.
All colleges want to give the greatest amount of opportunity to the most highly qualified candidates no matter what their financial situation. Their ability to do so depends on many factors and is framed by complex revenue streams, which are often out of their control. Don’t be discouraged if you cant pay full tuition, but do be sure you apply broadly enough to include schools where the ability to pay isn’t a major factor in admission.
Each college has their own policy regarding the review of the financial situation of an applicant when making admittance decisions. When researching a school, check whether the school is “need blind” (they DO NOT take an applicant’s financial situation into consideration) or is “need aware” (they DO take an applicant’s financial situation into consideration).
Best of luck!
My experience is “it depends.” Last year a west coast college acknowledged that they had to limit the number of low-income admits, balancing them against those admitted and expected to pay “full freight.”
By far most colleges want to admit students whose academic records document that they can indeed do collegiate level work and are likely to contribute to the college or university community. However, some less well-endowed colleges must respond to fiscal imperatives and admit qualified students who can afford the real cost to leverage expenses. I know that this is almost always a consideration, but in sum my response is some do weigh applicant’s ability to pay in deciding admissions.
The answer is: it depends. When looking at a school’s admission policies it’s important to see if the school is “need-blind” in their admission decisions. If so, then your financial need or lack thereof will have no effect on your opportunities for admission. If a school is “need-aware” then they can take into consideration, and view more favorably, students who can pay full tuition.
It depends on the school. Running a college is not cheap, schools have to pay their bills, and tuition is no small part of how they do it. Consequently, not every incoming student can be on financial aid. Schools with large endowments that can make admissions decisions without any concern to tuition income—a policy known as need blind admissions—are in fact few, and so it can be a factor as they pull together a whole class. Will some wholly unqualified applicants be admitted just because they can pay? It isn’t likely, because they would not be apt to last, but all things being equal a full paying applicant could have an advantage. In the end it is simply another example of a decision being based on what the school needs and what an applicant can bring to the community.
No, when an admissions officer reviews an applicant’s information, their decision are based on academic achievement, involvement in school, SAT/ACT scores, a personal statement, etc. not whether the family can pay full tuition- since admissions officers are not allowed to make a decision based on the student’s financial information and never see that information during the admissions process.
Unfortunately, in the current economy, the answer is yes for most colleges. Colleges with significant financial aid budgets and large endowments may have the luxury of admitting students without considering their ability to pay (need-blind). However, the list of need-blind colleges is fairly small. Other colleges certainly have to consider financial need in their decisions (need-aware) but they way they do so may vary. Some may admit only those students for whom they can meet all of their demonstrated need, placing needy applicants in a more competitive pool. Other colleges may admit more students but offer them financial aid packages that do not cover their full demonstrated need (“gapping”). The College Board website provides information on the average percentage of need met by colleges, but it may vary from year to year. It can often be difficult to find information on the college website about whether they are need-blind or need-aware, but families can always call the admission office to find out.
Although no one will admit to it, quite a few schools do. Whether they weigh full-pays differently than other kids – and the extent to which they do – depends entirely on the college.
In my experience, the higher a school’s ranking and the fatter its endowment, the less likely a school will be to consider a student’s ability to pay; for schools like the Ivies, tuition is pocket change.
You start getting into the mid- and low-level private schools, though, and things change dramatically. At these schools, admissions officers are public relations/sales figures as much as they are educational professionals.
This is not to say that ability to pay will be a tipping point across the board at every stage of the admissions process. When it comes down to it, though, admissions offices have a budget, a target tuition number, a target student quota, and so forth. When scholarship funds are tight and you have one more seat that you can offer a student, you’ll choose the student with the investment banker father over the small shop owner every day of the week.
If a college is ‘need-blind’ it means that they do not look at your ability to pay when you apply at all, so they don’t favor you either way. Colleges that are not need blind do look at your ability to pay, however, and if you cannot pay full tuition that might factor into their decision. When you apply to colleges look up each of your schools to see if they are need blind or not. This is easily discoverable, as schools that are need blind advertise this fact. This isn’t to say you won’t get accepted by a non-need blind school if you would require financial aid, but it’s a good thing to know going in. Also, if you are on the waitlist, it is definitely more advantageous to be able to pay full tuition than to need financial aid.
If a college is ‘need-blind’ it means that they do not look at your ability to pay when you apply at all, so they don’t favor you either way. Colleges that are not need blind do look at your ability to pay, however, and if you cannot pay full tuition that might factor into their decision. When you apply to colleges look up each of your schools to see if they are need blind or not. This is easily discoverable, as schools that are need blind advertise this fact. This isn’t to say you won’t get accepted at a non-need blind school if you would require financial aid, but it’s a good thing to know going in.
I used to think that for many schools, the answer to this question was “No”, but I have since learned that this economy is causing many schools to change from Need-blind to Need-aware. With the exception of schools with huge endowments, college financial aid budgets are limited. If you truly can afford to pay full tuition, then you should consider telling the school that you will not be applying for financial aid. This will not allow an unqualified applicant to get in, but if there are two candidates, and one is high need and the other is not, all other things being equal, the full pay student may be the one getting that fat envelope.
Need sensitive colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition. Need blind colleges look at students who need financial aid the same as those who can pay full tuition.
Some colleges want lots of contacts, while others – usually the most highly selective – might interpret frequent contact as annoying. The rule of thumb is that contact with a college should have a purpose. In other words, if you contact a college – especially an admission officer – you should have a reason for being in touch and not just to keep up friendly banter.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
1) Respond to communications initiated by the college, if invited to do so. For example, if you receive a postcard that requests a reply, do so.
2) Open e-mail messages and follow the links. Colleges that are interested in assessing your interest will track if you open their e-mails, when you open the e-mail, and if you follow the embedded links.
3) If you initiate contact with a college admission office, keep in mind that this is a professional relationship. This means that you should address the admission officer professionally, using a title: “Dear Dean Smith,” or “Dear Ms. Jones.” You should never use a first name, regardless of how friendly you feel with the admission officer.
“Need blind” do not take into consider a student’s ability to pay while “need aware” colleges do. Check the website of the specific colleges you are considering to see in which category they fall.
I have to say yes, being able to pay full tuition can sometimes help you get in, especially in the economy of the past 5-10 years. Not all colleges will prefer a student who is a full pay, but many of them do.
Some colleges do. The most prestigious colleges tend to also be the wealthiest and have need blind admissions policies. Being a paying customer will not cause many of these colleges to look at you more favorably unless you are also donating much more. Colleges with smaller endowments, many of which are very good, may on the other hand consider the amount of need when evaluating students and putting together their class.
A need-blind school will not consider your parents ability to pay when they consider your application. Need-blind indicates that there is a “fire-wall” between the admissions office and the financial aid office. A college that is need-aware, does take into consideration your parents financial resources.
most elite colleges are more focused on the list of seats to be filled more than the finacial aid needs. the so called needs blind policy will not consider student’s financial aid needs until student accepted first without the details for financial aid.
in today marketplace, more and more schools are paying great attention to full paid tuition applicants, that explained why so many campuses are packed by international students. I think our domestic students should also consider carefully about selecting the right school that has the financial strenghts and less financial signs of needing for more full paid international students.
If you might be on the “application bubble” your ability to pay full tuition, especially now, will make the difference! It will move you possibly off the top of the wait-list and into the accepted pile. Yet, no school wants to accept any student who might not be capable of succeeding at their institution, so poor grades will still restrict your options!
While colleges are not publicly stating plan to cut their financial aid programs as a result of continually decreasing endowments, financial status will begin to play an increasingly more important role this year.
The economy foretells that more students than usual will apply for financial aid as a result of family incomes and unemployment. Put simply, the students who pay the full amount will not only pay their own tuition, but also the fees for students from less affluent families.
The economic realities will eventually manifest in other wide reaching ways: one way or another, less affluent students will most likely be left with choices that include less prestigious and more inexpensive colleges.
No matter what, schools will be cutting back on the amount of aid they can offer. The trend offsets the goal of elite universities to maintain a socio-economically diverse student body (see upcoming article on “need-blind” admissions.
Some strategic parents are keeping a close eye on the festering economic issues that plague colleges and believe that by NOT applying for financial aid, their child stands a better chance of gaining entrance into more elite colleges. Wealthy parents intend to capitalize on their status; many will apply earlier since it binds a student to a school regardless of financial aid offers, and traditionally that group tends to be wealthier.
In response, schools may accept more students who apply early decision and find other ways to insure the school’s economic viability while maintaining their elite status and – to some degree – diversity among students.
It really depends on the mission or focus of the university. Many institutions love to give their money away, especially for the right student, and have no issues if a student is able to pay full tuition or not. One caveat to this is that international students are certainly helping many public institutions by off-setting their financial aid funds given out and coming to the campus paying full tuition. (Remember, no federal or state financial aid, including federal student loans for international students.)
This boils down to whether a college is need-blind or need-aware, and this policy is stated quite clearly on a college’s website. Colleges that are need-blind – and others for that matter – keep a separate institutional entity to handle financials not the admissions office. The reason is so that the admissions people can assess only the candidate, not his or her family’s financial status. Still, need aware means that a college can take the financial picture into account when making a decision. This may well be a factor even for some elite schools when they are making decisions about transfer applicants.
This is a very loaded question as most schools would like to consider themselves blind to ability to pay, but it is a fact of life in all schools, (public and private, high school and college), that full paying students are necessary to a healthy financial situation. That isn’t to say only full paying students get in, but it is something to be aware of. Short of saying yes to this question, i would answer that is only one ingredient in the application process and will vary in importance from school to school.
There is also the ethical dimension to this, namely, should I, the student, not apply for financial aid because I want to get in, but apply later after my acceptance. I do not recommend this approach as it is sneaky and schools look upon this as being dishonest. If anything, it only hurts the student in the long term. Be upfront and honest, apply for financial aid, and see where the chips fall.
At some colleges, yes. Reduced appropriations, rising costs and budget crunches have forced many institutions to increasingly rely on tuition revenue to meet expenses. This is especially so at private institutions, many of which don’t have access to the government aid that is made available to public colleges and universities. Less selective and less resourced colleges are also more likely to favor full-paying students, since they are less able to diversify their revenue streams via endowment earnings, federal research grants, corporate partnerships, etc. That being said, full-paying students still need to meet a minimum “academic threshold” to earn acceptance. In other words, most institutions will favor a needy student with stratospheric grades and test scores over a full-paying student with less than average marks; however, in the case of two students with similar credentials, many colleges are likely to give preference to the student who is able to pay more out-of-pocket.
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.
Please understand that each of the departments view individual parts of the application, therefore financial services, will not determine admission, and admissions with not determine or know about financial decisions.
Depends….Most colleges have need blind admissions which means that they do not look at financial information when making admissions decisions. There are two typically caveats, which are that waitlists are usually NOT need blind and international students as well, even if all other students are looked need blind. Unfortunately as the economy has worsened more colleges are looking at student financial need or are expressing that they will likely not be need blind forever. This is an important question to ask college admissions officers during your info session on campus or when a representative comes to your school!
The colleges will tell you no. But the simple fact is that a student who can pay tuition on their own is appealing because they don’t have to provide any financial aid. There are need blind colleges but it’s much like test optional colleges. The information influences their decision whether they admit it or not.
Here is my video response to the question.
If the question is whether or not one’s ability to pay can overcome deficiencies in one’s transcript, the answer is “usually” no. Most of the more selective colleges/universities are “need blind” with regards to admissions, which means whether a student/family can pay or not does not enter into the deliberations until after an admissions decision on the student is reached. Surely, at some schools, admissions decisions can be influenced by one’s ability to pay, but this should not be one’s only basis for applying.
Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.
Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!
EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features. The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.