Paying for College

Changing Application Status from "Needs Financial Aid" to "No Need"

Question: In the Common Application Future Plans section, we checked the box indicating we plan to apply for financial aid and submitted the applications. After more research, we may decide not to apply and to instead look for other ways to cover college costs. Is it a problem not applying for aid if we checked yes on the application? Should we call admission offices to let them know not to expect the forms, or just not file and not contact the schools at all? Thanks!

I recommend that you do contact admission offices, whether by phone, snail-mail or e-mail, to explain your change in status. At the "need-conscious" institutions (those that take financial need into consideration when making admission decisions) it can be helpful to you to have the admission committees approach the application from the get-go with a "this kid doesn't need any dough from us" mind-set.

Moreover, as you suggest, if you checked the "YES" box on the application and do not follow up with forms, you will be precipitating some unnecessary correspondence between admission officials and aid officials and between aid officials and you.

Note, however, that if a student applies as a "no-need" freshman applicant, there is usually a waiting period (two years is common) before the student can apply for aid down the road. So make sure you are comfortable with your change of heart before you commit to it.