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    College Enrollment Deposit: What You Need to Know

    By Cece Gilmore

    Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 6th, 2024
    College Enrollment Deposit: What You Need to Know

    You have finally been admitted to the university of your dreams–congratulations! To make your relationship status with your dream school “official,” you’ll need to submit a college enrollment deposit. What does this mean? Luckily for you, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about sending in your college enrollment deposit!

    What is a college enrollment deposit? 

    A college enrollment deposit is a non-refundable payment made to the university or college that you have been accepted to and wish to attend. Sending in the sum will guarantee “your spot” at that particular college. 

    The amount of money to send in depends on the university or college you are anticipating attending. Typically, the amount ranges anywhere from $100-$400. However, some schools require that the deposit be up to $1,000. 

    The money is typically non-refundable, but it does count towards your tuition. Therefore, if you end up not attending the school you sent a deposit  to, you will most likely lose out on your deposit. With that in mind, you want to be sure about your decision to attend.

    When is the enrollment deposit due? 

    Typically, the enrollment deposit is due on May 1st, which is also known as “Decision Day.”  Submitting your payment prior to May 1st typically has no benefit. Some schools may link their enrollment deposit to campus housing. Sometimes, if you enroll earlier, there’s a better chance of being assigned to a top-choice dorm room assignment. You can always call the school and ask directly if this is something you want to know more about. 

    Therefore, take your time deciding between what schools you were accepted to. Make sure you are thinking about finances, location, programs, and proximity to home! These factors are crucial for helping you choose the right college

    Are college enrollment deposits binding? 

    No! The fee simply holds a spot for you at their school and is not legally binding. However, if you decide to not enroll at a school that you sent an enrollment deposit to, most schools will keep your money since they are typically non-refundable. 

    How do I submit my enrollment deposit? 

    The way to submit your enrollment deposit depends upon the school itself. At most universities or colleges, admitted students need to fill out a form and submit their deposit electronically. Students can usually submit a hard copy of the form along with a check or cash directly to the school.

    Prior to the deadline, make sure you know what methods of payment your school will accept. Double check with an admissions officer or counselor at the school right away  if you run into any issues. In general, it’s always a good idea to follow up and make sure everything is in order and your place on campus is reserved. 

    Also see: How to plan a college campus tour

    What if I cannot afford the enrollment deposit fee? 

    Luckily, there are two options for applicants who cannot afford the enrollment deposit. You can either defer your payment or request a fee waiver. 

    Defer the enrollment deposit

    Many universities and colleges allow applicants to defer the enrollment deposit. This means that an applicant can wait for financial aid to go through before submitting the money. While waiting for financial aid to come through, the school will save their spot. 

    Different schools have different processes when requesting deferment for the enrollment fee. Some schools offer the form automatically, and for others, you need to request a form and show proof of financial need as shown on your FAFSA. So, reach out to your school to find out their requirements. 

    Request an enrollment deposit fee waiver

    If deferring the fee would not work out financially, students can request an enrollment deposit fee waiver. To qualify for the waiver, most students will need to show proof of financial need. This usually includes sharing financial documents such as the FAFSA to show your demonstrated financial need. Students who need a waiver should contact their schools as soon as possible to ensure that their documents are filled out prior to the enrollment deadline. 

    Also see: When do college decisions come out?

    Can I put an enrollment deposit down at two schools?

    Yes, you can, but that does not mean you should! Putting down an enrollment deposit at two schools is a very tempting idea. It means that you are guaranteed a spot at two different schools, which sounds ideal if you are conflicted about which school you want to attend. So, technically, you can put an enrollment deposit down at two different schools. However, it is strongly recommended that you do your research and decide which school you want to put a deposit on to “hold your spot.” 

    Enrollment deposits and the waitlist

    There is one exception to this “no double deposit” rule. If you have been placed on the waitlist for a school, you should submit an enrollment deposit at a different school. Doing so ensures that you have a spot at a school in case you are not taken off the waitlist. However, keep in mind that if you get off the waitlist and want to attend that school, you most likely will not receive a refund of your deposit at the other school. 

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • The enrollment deposit is a sum that students must pay the school they hope to attend in order to secure their spot
    • It is typically due on May 1, aka “Decision Day,” but the deadline can vary by college, so be sure to check in with your school in order to be sure
    • The money goes towards your tuition payments or room and board, but you will typically lose the money if you decide not to attend the school
    • If you have a spot on the waitlist at one school, make sure to put down a deposit in another school that accepted you before decision day to ensure that you have somewhere to go in the fall

    Frequently asked questions about college enrollment deposits 

    Are college enrollment deposits legally binding?

    College enrollment deposits are not legally binding (meaning you have to pay the full amount to attend that semester). However, some schools will not refund the deposit if a student does change their mind.

    Can you deposit to more than one college?

    While students can “double deposit” (or triple, quadruple, etc.), doing so is considered unethical. For starters, a student who accepts admission and puts down deposits on multiple schools is denying another student who might truly to attend a place. Make sure to reach out as soon as possible to check on the possibility of a refund since receiving one may depend on a certain deadline.

    Can you change your mind after paying the college enrollment deposit?

    Yes, students do and often will change their minds about attending a particular college after putting down the deposit. Students are not legally bound to attend a college after putting down a deposit.

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