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Can universities take back offers?


Itai
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A while back, I have accepted an offer from a certain university.  Due to the COVID-19 situation, I was worried they might take back their offer,
so I reached out to the department to check my status. They said that they will send further instructions on the 15th of April and that there is nothing to worry about.

However, as an international student, I am not familiar with the process, and I wonder if they can take back the offer?

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I really don't think so, that's really unheard of. Even though they might be legally allowed to do that, at the postgraduate research level people are aware that the communities are very small, everyone knows each other and the ethical backlash of this would be huge. I think they would be more likely to not make further offers and/or reduce the cohort size for the upcoming year, than to take back the offers they already sent out.

Having said that, I don't want to cause you concern but if you haven't received an official confirmation of funding, but only received an admission, that might be something you might have to worry about. Then again, I think they would make their funding arrangements for further offers, not existing ones.

I do hope it all works out well for you.

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I think it's really nice of you to consider declining your existing offers, given that you have an admission you are set for. If you have 4-5 or more offers you could consider narrowing it down to 2-3 of your top choices and wait until you get a confirmation from your top choice that you are comfortable with.

As someone who was waitlisted myself, I can say that as much as it would help other people a lot if you decline your other offers, you worked this hard to get yourself to where you are and its well within your rights to hold on to your other offers until the end (April 14-15) if that makes you more comfortable.

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So far I only heard of 2 universities in Chicago and 1 school in Louisiana that has rescinded offers for prospective Fall 2020 students. Extremely small schools though, I would not worry about it

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9 hours ago, cropop said:

Did they acknowledge the acceptance of your offer? If so, then it would be much harder for them to back out unless they otherwise found fraud in your application.

They did acknowledge the acceptance, but in an informal e-mail.

 

3 hours ago, EmmaJeanB said:

So far I only heard of 2 universities in Chicago and 1 school in Louisiana that has rescinded offers for prospective Fall 2020 students. Extremely small schools though, I would not worry about it

Thank you. Indeed it is one of the big  ones. 

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6 hours ago, Itai said:

They did acknowledge the acceptance, but in an informal e-mail.

I wouldn't worry about it then. You're good. It's likely the next class (2021) that will be affected if there are any issues with COVID-19 (budget problems, etc). Schools that take too many students one year for their budget tend to take less students the next year.

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I think if you have accepted an offer and they have acknowledged it, then there is very little chance of getting back. You should be more concerned about travelling to US, if you not in the US now.

I have also got admission into an PhD program, my school has sent my I20 as well. My country is locked down for at least next 15 days which may increase depending on the situation. But the US embassy is closed down in my country to ensure social distancing and follow local government law until further notice. So, I am more worried what will happen if I cannot travel. They might take back the offer in that extreme case. I have not talked to my school yet about it. We still have some time. Let's hope for the best and pray for the world. 

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