Paying for College

Can a College Ask for My Deposit Before May 1?

Question: I received my first college acceptance during the first week of February and was told by the school that I must send a deposit within 30 days. That freaks me out because thought I had until May 1 to decide. My guidance counselor says that the deposit is just to make sure I get housing and that it's refundable if I change my mind by May 1. I really don't think I will attend this college (it's my safety school), but I don't want to lose out on housing, just in case. Should I send the deposit even though I probably won't go there? Is the college allowed to ask me for one?

This is a confusing issue that raises hackles throughout the admissions world. Yes, technically, colleges that subscribe to the May 1 candidates' reply date can, nonetheless, demand a deposit, as long as they give it back, should the student withdraw by May 1.

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