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?

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!

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

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

"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.

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.

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.

Edward LaMeire
CEO LaMeire College Consulting (lameirecollegeconsulting.com)

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

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.

Angela Conley
College Admission Expert VentureForth

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

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.

Yana Geyfman

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

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.

Lisa Carlton
Owner www.collegematchpoint.com

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

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.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

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

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.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents Countdown to College Coach

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

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.