Double depositing is the act of sending a tuition deposit to two (or more) colleges. It is the act of telling more than one school that you will be attending the institution in the fall. While the majority of college counselors will tell you it is wrong to double deposit, there are some that say it is okay. Before sending in more than one deposit, take these things into consideration:
- You said you wouldn’t do it. You might not remember, but many college applications require you to affirm you will only choose one college in the end. For example, the Common Application requires all applicants to sign the following statement: “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.“ You may not remember signing this pledge, but if you sent in the application, you said you would not deposit at more than one college.
- Your school counselor also encourages only one deposit. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice says counselors should, “counsel students not to submit more than one admission deposit.” For many counselors, they will only send one final transcript and a final transcript is required by most colleges after you send in the tuition deposit. In addition, they may notify the colleges you sent multiple deposits.
- Colleges can repeal admissions decisions. There could be a number of ways colleges find out you double deposited. No matter how they find out, they could find out. Since you said you would not double deposit on your application, you broke the contract with the college. Therefore, there is a possibility they could rescind your admissions decision. They may not rescind the offer, but there still is a possibility they will.
- You could take a spot away from another deserving student. Many colleges receive so many applications and they just don’t have enough space for all of the deserving students. For some of the students, they are placed on the waitlist. Colleges typically base their budgets on the number of students who will be attending and admit students accordingly. When May 1 comes along and they do not reach the expected number of students, they will start offering admission to those students on the waitlist. However, when students double deposit and don’t tell the colleges they will not be attending until late summer (or fall), one of those deserving students won’t get a chance at the college.
- It can give a disadvantage to the students at the college. As stated above, colleges base their budgets on the number of deposits they receive. A deposit is believed to be a student who will be attending in the fall. For smaller colleges that are tuition driven (they don’t have large endowments), “losing” students in the summer will probably affect many things on campus, and these things typically affect the students attending the college. Colleges may have to cut classes, cut student activities, and/or cut office hours.
As a college counselor, I do not recommend double depositing because of all of the reasons above. However, I know there are some reasons you may be considering it and here are my recommendations:
- You just don’t know what college you want to attend. It makes sense; the college you choose will be a place you’ll probably be attending for at least four years. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision. However, will having a few more months really make a difference? Probably not. Instead, it allows students to procrastinate in choosing the college they will attend. Deep down, many students already know the college they want to attend. If the financial piece comes together, I recommend making the commitment to the college.
- Financial issues or questions. You may not have been offered enough financial aid and you are appealing the offer. If cost is the thing that is stopping you from fully committing, you can ask for an extension until the appeal process is complete. I also recommend asking for the extension approval in writing to ensure the college will accept your later deposit.
- Waitlisted at another college. It is okay to deposit at one college by May 1 while staying on the waitlist of another college. However, if the waitlist college offers admission and you are going to take it, let the other college know you are withdrawing your future enrollment as soon as your deposit is in at the waitlist school.
Narrowing your list of colleges down to one can be stressful because you want to make sure you are making the right decision. However, double depositing is not the answer. Instead, take this time we have before May 1 and weigh your options. Once you send in that one tuition deposit, you’re going to feel a tremendous weight lifted and you can start envisioning yourself on campus in the fall.