What is an Enrollment Deposit?

When you receive your acceptance letters from colleges, you will generally have to submit your answer on whether or not you’re attending by May 1st. Some schools will also ask for an “enrollment deposit.” Here’s what that means, how much it may cost, and why you may want to delay your answer.

A high school junior visiting a college.

What is an Enrollment Deposit?

An enrollment deposit, or freshman deposit, is an amount you put down to secure your spot at a college or university after you receive your acceptance letter. It’s almost always non-refundable and will confirm your spot in the school, allowing you to start signing up for your orientation, dorm room, and classes. Most colleges will require this deposit to be submitted along with your confirmation of attendance or by May 1st,  and the amount will be put towards your tuition.

How Much is the Enrollment Deposit?

The enrollment deposit amount varies from school to school. They can vary anywhere from $100 to $1,000. LSU and FSU, for example, both have a pre-payment requirement of $200. Arizona State University’s is $300.

In some cases, students may not be able to afford this amount, especially if they’re waiting on financial aid. If you’re in this boat, it’s essential to reach out to the school as soon as possible. Most offer waiver programs for students who have financial hardships, but how to apply for these vary from college to college.

Should You Wait to Submit your Enrollment Deposit?

There are some cases in which you should wait to submit your enrollment deposit as these are almost always non-refundable and you don’t want to waste money. If you’re not sure about which college you’re attending, you’ll definitely want to wait until you make that decision before sending the money in.

Students should also hold off if they’re waiting on their financial aid award letters. If you don’t have your package in hand yet and aren’t 100% sure you can afford attending the college, you need to wait until you receive your answer. If the deadline of May 1st is approaching and you still don’t have your financial aid package, you need to reach out to the university or lenders as quickly as possible.

Can You Pay the Enrollment Deposit at Two Schools?

Technically, you can pay the enrollment deposit at two schools and simply not attend one, but it can be a dangerous game. Paying the enrollment deposit is essentially confirmation you’re attending and may be a waste of money.

The only time you should ever do this if you’re waitlisted by your preferred school. You can pay the deposit to your backup school in addition to your first choice. If you are not accepted off the waitlist, you will receive that deposit back. If you are accepted, you most likely will not receive the money back from your backup school.

Once you accept a college’s offer to attend their school, it’s generally a good idea to send along the enrollment deposit as soon as possible. This will help ensure your ducks are all in a row and your spot is secured, giving you peace of mind for the fall semester. If you have any questions about this deposit, reach out to your intended college.

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