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How to get an extension on tuition deposit fee

Ankit had an admit from Rutgers MS in Data Science program but the school was asking for $1500 tuition deposit fee. Ankit did not want to pay it because he was still waiting for CMU. 

Many applicants face this dilemma. 

Don’t worry, you can get extensions on the deposit payment deadlines. This is how.

What is tuition deposit fee?

Applicants who have been accepted for admission will be required to submit a tuition deposit payment to hold their place in the new incoming class. The tuition deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. Therefore, if an admitted applicant pays the deposit, but fails to enroll for the particular program and term of the admission offer, the deposit will not be returned. After the end of the add/drop registration period tuition deposits paid will be credited to the enrolled student’s account – Columbia Graduate School

Unfortunately, all newly admitted MS students are asked to submit a tuition deposit to accept the offer of admission and secure their place in the class. Earlier, only a few Programs asked for this fee but it is becoming increasingly common for Universities to charge a hefty fee on the name of tuition deposit these days.

Why do universities ask for tuition deposit fee?

First, we need to understand why universities ask t his. Historically, people apply to multiple universities and can accept admissions from multiple schools. Even the I20 is something that you can request from multiple schools. What happens is then the candidate chooses one final school and all other admits are wasted.

What this means for the university is it impacts their yield.

What is the yield?

Let us say university sends out 1000 admits and only 200 people end up accepting their offers. So the yield is 20%. Universities care for their yields because it impacts their rankings. So, they want people whoever they have admitted to accept the offer else their yield goes down. This is why they want to pressurize you and lock you in early.

Even in my days, some universities used to ask for deposits in some of their programs but amount has been increasing ever since. Especially after covid, when 90% of the students deferred their admits, universities were hit badly. So, I have noticed that their deposit fee has increased suddenly after covid.

As I told you before that 1500 USD fee is really high and some schools are also asking 2000 or 4000 dollars. This is why this issue has become especially important now. People just cannot pay a lot of these deposits. So, hopefully our next piece of advice is going to save you some real dollars!

True Story: How Kartik got an extension

Kartik is one of our clients in 2022. He had admits from a few schools and one particular school was asking for 750 dollars deposit fee. This was in end of February and Kartik did not want to commit to a school that fast. In this video, Kartik shares what he did to get an extension.

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Here is the email that Kartik used to get an extension:

Respected admissions committee,
I'd like to extend sincerest thanks for admitting me to your prestigious MS in Computer Science program. I cannot wait to put in all of my sincerest efforts in Boston starting this Fall.

A few days ago, I was diagnosed with covid for the 2nd time, and it's just that for the coming few days, myself and my family won't quite be physically or mentally in a place to finalise such an important career and life decision. It would just be such a big help if there could be any extension at all in the deadline for the tuition deposit. Regardless, this is like a dream come true, and I cannot wait to get started this Fall.


What is the right way to get an extension on tuition deposit fee?

As you can see, universities want you to pay a deposit because they are insecure whether you would join or not. Problem is that unless you have another admit, you don’t want to miss out on something in your hand. What if you lose this admit too and don’t get a better one?

Tell them you are waiting for more admits [BAD]

Some advisors suggest that you tell them that you are waiting for more admits. That may have worked for someone but it seems like a riskier bet to me. This is exactly the reason why universities make you pay because they don’t want you to wait and go to another school! So, they are very likely to reject this request.

Some people even suggest telling them that you have a good offer in hand and you need more time to decide. Again, this approach can antagonize the university (because you are telling them that they are not good enough for you to make a decision) and they are not likely to accept your request. 

Show appreciation + personal reason [GOOD]

I like Kartik’s advice. Why not tell the university how much you appreciate them and want to join them?

Then you give a personal reason (which doesn’t sound fake) as to why you need more time to pay the deposit. This is your best chance to not alienate them and get them to make an exception for you. 

As we see in Kartik’s case, it worked out very nicely.

So, the crux is you can be nice and win too. Isn’t that awesome?

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