The Crowe's Nest

From the Inbox: How Financial Aid Works for ED Applicants

Jennifer Delahunty
December 17, 2015

’Tis the season for Early Decision — and so we wanted to answer some of the frequently asked questions about financial aid that we receive from those who either applied by our Nov. 15 ED 1 deadline or will apply by our Jan. 15 ED 2 deadline.

Will I receive the same aid package that I would have received in Regular Decision if I apply Early Decision?

Yes! Need-based and merit aid at Kenyon are awarded in an identical fashion to Early Decision (ED) and Regular Decision (RD) candidates. There is no advantage, or disadvantage, either way. The only limiting factor in applying ED is that if you’re admitted, you won’t be able to compare aid packages from other colleges. But if you’re eligible for need-based aid at Kenyon, like 45 percent of students in our most recent class, you may find Kenyon very affordable since we meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.   

Why does Kenyon require my family to complete the CSS Profile during ED?

To be eligible for need-based aid during ED, we require your family to complete the CSS Financial Aid Profile (often just called the CSS Profile), which is available online. Eventually, we ask that your family also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We require the CSS Profile for two reasons. First, this form collects different financial factors, giving us a more complete profile of your family’s ability to pay for college. Second, the FAFSA is not available until January. Without a method for collecting financial data, we wouldn’t be able to give you an aid estimate before the ED deposit deadline. For ED 1, the CSS Profile was due Nov. 15.  For ED 2 applicants, it is due Jan. 15. 

How does financial aid work during ED since the FAFSA is not available until January?

Completing the CSS Profile with data from 2014 will allow Kenyon to give you an estimate of your aid eligibility for either round of ED. When your and your parents’ 2015 taxes are complete, update the FAFSA if necessary. A final financial aid package will follow shortly after you submit the 2015 final tax data. 

What happens if I apply Early Decision but can’t afford Kenyon?

This happens in only a small handful of cases each year. First, we’d like to have a conversation with your family to make sure no mistakes were made on the CSS Profile (this can happen!). Kenyon does not “negotiate” financial aid packages, but we are happy to help you explore loans and other funding options. And if the figures still don’t work, then you must write to the Dean of Admissions and asked to be released from the binding arrangement of ED. You will not be considered for regular decision admission to Kenyon, and you are then free to apply to other institutions.  

If I apply Early Decision, will I be eligible for merit and/or talent scholarships?

All students are considered for our academic merit scholarships, and about 15 percent of students in each incoming class are selected to receive merit. Academic merit scholarships are awarded in ED just as they would be in RD.  However, full- and half-tuition scholarships, as well as our talent scholarships (music, art and writing), are awarded after the entire class has applied and been evaluated.  Notifications of these awards are made by April 1. 

How can I figure out my costs in advance of applying ED or RD? 

We have just the tool. Our Net Price Calculator will enable you to get a feel for what need-based aid might be available.  It does not estimate your eligibility for merit aid.