Enrollment Deposit Issues

May 1 looms. What's so special about May 1? Well, May 1 is the traditional deadline for accepted college applicants to make their enrollment deposit. Most college-bound high school seniors have more than one college acceptance in their arsenal. Of course, those who have applied and been accepted Early Decision (ED) have no other enrollment decisions to make, since they have pledged on their application forms to enroll if accepted. Even those who have been accepted Early Action (EA) have until May 1 to make their enrollment decision.

However, one of the more recent developments within the college admissions arena is a strategy known as “double depositing." Simply put, this is where an applicant (sometimes under the influence of family members) cannot or will not make one enrollment decision by May 1. So, in order to hedge his or her bet, s/he will make an enrollment deposit at more than one college, thus delaying the need to make the ultimate decision of where to attend. Of course, making more than one enrollment deposit means that when that final decision is made, the accepted applicant will lose the other deposit since refundable deposits have not yet become mainstream.

There has been quite a bit of discussion about double depositing. In a related vein, there has also been a lot of talk lately about colleges pressuring accepted applicants to make their enrollment deposits beforethe traditional May 1 deadline. Sometimes the need for a pre-May 1 deposit comes from the need to confirm on-campus housing. Skeptics, though, think that trying to get early deposits is just one way for colleges to firm up incoming class numbers and demographics.

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