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

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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.

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.

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.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

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

At need sensitive schools, of which there are few, absolutely!

Mr C Coakley
President Academic Coaching Services

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

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.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

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

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.)