Why double depositing is wrong

JLV College Counseling Blog | Why Double Depositing is Wrong

Patrick O’Connor posted a fictitious conversation about double depositing in the Huffington Post recently. The gist of the conversation is that the new college freshman is not happy at his selected college because the college had to make cuts due to double depositing, or summer melt. Read the full conversation here.

Double depositing is the act of sending a tuition deposit to two (or more) colleges. Typically this double depositing happens on or before May 1, the National College Enrollment Deposit Day. However, double depositing is unethical. For one thing, most students signed a document saying they would not double deposit. For example, the Common Application requires students to check a box that says, “I affirm that I will send an enrollment deposit (or equivalent) to only one institution; sending multiple deposits (or equivalent) may result in the withdrawal of my admission offers from all institutions.” If students do not mark the box affirming the above statement, they will not be able to submit the Common Application.

There are some college admissions “experts” out there who encourage students to double deposit. The reason these “experts” give is that colleges have had an edge throughout the admissions process and double depositing finally gives students the edge. Plus, it gives students extra time to decide what college they will attend in the fall.

In addition to it being unethical, the reason O’Connor gives in his Huffington Post article for not double depositing is real. As a former Admissions Director, I experienced the downside of double depositing. When tuition deposits arrive, we count those students as individuals who will be enrolled in the fall. We build our budgets and schedule classes based on the tuition deposits that arrive. However, as those students cancel their enrollment late in the summer, or just don’t show up for classes in the fall, the institutions can be in trouble.

Many might think, “Who cares if the institution is in trouble? They have enough money.” While that is true for many of the big name colleges, that is not the case for the majority of smaller, lesser known colleges and universities. Many colleges and universities are tuition driven, meaning if tuition money is not coming in through grants, scholarships, loans, and payments made directly from the student or parents, they will have trouble paying for operating costs.

The year we had a large summer melt (students who paid tuition deposits but did not end up enrolling), the institution had to make major cuts. While we did our best to make sure students were not affected, the students felt it. Office hours of administrative offices were cut, student activities were decreased, and some student services were eliminated. It wasn’t fair to the students who did end up enrolling, but it was what the institution had to do to be able to continue operating. Unfortunately this story is not exclusive to the institution in which I worked. It has happened all over the country.

Moral of the story: Do your research prior to sending in your tuition deposit. Make sure when you send in that one tuition deposit, you are happy and content with your decision. For many students, having an extra few months to make their decision will not change their minds about the college they will be attending. Double depositing hurts more than just the institution. Double depositing can affect the students. It can cause cuts that the students who do enroll will feel. It also does not open up a spot for students who are waiting on waitlists. Do the right thing and only send in one tuition deposit.

If you did double deposit, contact the school now and cancel your spot at the college you are not planning on attending. And, if you those waitlist decisions come back with a spot for you and you are planning on taking that spot, cancel with the other school as soon as possible. Don’t keep the colleges hanging. By doing so, you’re not only helping the colleges, but also the students who will be attending those institutions in the fall!


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