Early Decision Questions Answered: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Admit It!  There’s a lot to consider when applying Early Decision (ED).  Not the least of which is the availability of financial aid and scholarships.  We probably get questions about this more than any other surrounding the ED process so this blog will be dedicated to addressing those questions as they apply to W&M’s Early Decision process.

In deciding to apply to W&M ED, you and your family need to have researched the cost associated with attending W&M given you are committing to enrolling here if admitted.  Students admitted through Early Decision are equally eligible for financial aid and scholarships as those who apply Regular Decision.  Even though ED admission results are made in December, financial aid and scholarship awards aren’t finalized until the spring.

So what does that all mean exactly?  Well, as far as need-based financial aid goes, any student admitted ED will be able to get an estimated financial aid package in December if they submit their CSS Profile to W&M’s Financial Aid Office.  Then, in the spring (usually in March), they will receive a final package once they are able to submit the FAFSA.  Those considering applying ED, can review W&M’s cost of attendance and use the net-price calculator to get an idea of what it will cost to attend W&M, and what if any financial aid they may be eligible for.

As part of the admission process, W&M awards three merit scholarships.  All students are considered for these scholarships by virtue of applying but they are limited in nature.  We do need to review the entire applicant pool before selecting the scholarship recipients.  So anyone admitted ED is reviewed for those awards and notified about receipt of any award in March.

Remember, applying ED means you’re committing to W&M if admitted.  You therefore forego the opportunity to compare financial aid and scholarship packages other institutions might offer you through their application processes.  If being able to consider merit and need-based awards from other universities is a high priority for your family, applying ED probably isn’t the best route for your application to take.  If however you’ve done your research, understand the costs associated with attending W&M and understand what kind of aid may be available to you, and you’re able to make that commitment, then by all means go for it.  We await that November 1 deadline as eagerly as you do.

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission

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