Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?

Melissa Kunes
Senior Director, Office of Student Aid Penn State University

Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ainsley Parker
Regional Director of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?

Here is my video response to the question.

Peter Silberman
Assistant Dean of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Colleges and Full Payment of Tuition

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.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Without a doubt!

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!

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

For high school students seeking admission to college, does a fat wallet equal a fat envelope?

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.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Ability to pay

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.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Yes, but does not apply to all schools

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.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Full Pay

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.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

"Need sensitive colleges"

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.