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"Attend without funding" questions


schoolpsych_hopeful

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I've seen this on a few applications, and I'm not quite sure how to respond:

- "Would you accept an offer of admission if no financial aid were available?"

Honestly, probably not if I had funded offers from other schools. But does it hurt my admission chances to say "no" to this question?

- "If you do not get a Graduate Assistantship or Fellowship, can you finance your education?"

This one's a little different. Yes, I could burden myself with loans, but I really don't want to.

Anyone else encountering questions like these?

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I think it probably helps if you are able to attend without funding, since that would mean that they could give financial aid to someone else they also want and offer you both admission. However, I don't think it hurts your application if you answer no. In either case you should go with what your financial situation allows, since you don't want to say you can go without funding (and it would be a struggle) and they offer you an admit without funding, expecting you to be able to pay.

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  • 6 months later...

Schoolpsych_hopeful, which did you end up answering? I'm also coming across these questions, and am torn as to how I will answer.

The way I see it, I am not planning on financing my own education. If I get no funding, but get accepted, I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it. I'm aiming for a non-profit management master's, which means I'm not expecting to make much money in the future, and so paying back grad school loans would mess me up for a good long while. I don't want to say I'll go no matter what, and have them give money that might have gone to me to someone else that said they can't attend without funding, when I also need it pretty darn badly.

At the same time, my ego needs to know if I can get accepted into these programs, and so I'd hate not knowing if I got rejected simply because they couldn't offer me funding.

I'm leaning towards saying "no" because I am pretty sure I won't go if I have to pay full price (at least for two of the schools I'm applying to - Duke is pretty rough on the wallet)

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I encountered these questions on only one or two of my applications. However, I was not prepared to go anywhere without funding and answered accordingly. At one of the schools, I was waitlisted. I imagine if I had said I would consider an unfunded offer, they would have admitted me without funding. I already had a better offer so I took myself off the waitlist immediately. Therefore, I don't know how it would have turned out. If you're not willing to pay for your degree with loans (and almost no one should be), just answer the questions honestly. By answering "no," I imagine it may force the committee to consider you a bit more fully because they can't just give you an unfunded admission.

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Geez @ those questions!!!! It wasn't *that* long ago that I applied to Ph.D. programs (2003) and I got in... but they weren't able to extend funding.... so I didn't get in, lol. They had a policy of offering funding to every new student. I actually applied again the very next year and got in with funding. I think its crazy that they are asking these questions in the first place. Has anyone else seen these questions on applications? Is it becoming more commonplace?

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  • 4 months later...

such a hard question. It is on the Texas A&M app via applytexas.com. To be honest, the funding is playing a huge role in which school I select as I am not going with any safety schools, only schools that are exact fits for what I want to do. That being said, attending georgetown with minimal scholarship is still more expensive than TAMU with none. Because of this, I am answering the questions different by school. Georgetown, GW, Tufts... no way I am going there without financial aid.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suppose it depends on the program you are applying to. I think in the sciences it is unusual to not receive funding of some sort whereas for a lot of other degrees you might expect to be paying for it yourself.

But the way I see it, you shouldn't need to be paying off your degree for the rest of your life. If I got an offer with no funding I would think it unwise to attend (especially straight out of undergrad when I have no money in the first place), and it would basically be the same as a rejection. I have gotten some of these types of questions and I'm unconcerned about answering honestly.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm bumping this thread to see if anyone else has any information; however, my concern is that I consider myself to be an at least somewhat competitive applicant, having graduated summa cum laude with additional honors and paper presentations at the undergraduate level. I'm applying to programs that are asking this question, but I fear that answering that I don't have to be offered financial aid in order to enroll with decrease my chances for being funded, in part or whole.

Like many others, I don't by any means have the money lying around for financing school and would be forced into loans if not offered funding, and my degree is in the Humanities, so regardless of placement, I'll not be "rolling in it" any time soon.

I'd be grateful for any additional input.

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You should reflect on what you really think about this question, not just how the adcomms will react. I know that I personally would not have attended grad school without funding, and in fact think it would have really affected me psychologically if I had entered without funding knowing that others do get funding.

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I received some really great advice for answering questions like this.

If you can't afford it, answer no. In the comment section briefly explain your current financial situation (loans from undergrad, if you have dependent children, etc). Be sure to emphasize that you're absolutely interested in the program and want to pursue a TA-ship, GA-ship, etc. Then note that if you aren't awarded funding you would commit to taking out loans in order to make it work because this is what you really want.

(Additionally, I believe that schools can't legally deny you admission based on your financial situation.)

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If you can't afford it, answer no. In the comment section briefly explain your current financial situation (loans from undergrad, if you have dependent children, etc). Be sure to emphasize that you're absolutely interested in the program and want to pursue a TA-ship, GA-ship, etc. Then note that if you aren't awarded funding you would commit to taking out loans in order to make it work because this is what you really want.

I agree with everything except for the last part - that really depends on whether or not you are, of course. For a professional master's degree program, I would, but definitely not for PhD programs.

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If you can't afford it, answer no. In the comment section briefly explain your current financial situation (loans from undergrad, if you have dependent children, etc). Be sure to emphasize that you're absolutely interested in the program and want to pursue a TA-ship, GA-ship, etc. Then note that if you aren't awarded funding you would commit to taking out loans in order to make it work because this is what you really want.

I agree with everything except for the last part - that really depends on whether or not you are, of course. For a professional master's degree program, I would, but definitely not for PhD programs.

I wasn't sure about PhD programs, so thank you for that clarification. I'm applying to M.S. programs and about three of them gave me that advice. I really hate these types of questions, it seems like such a Catch-22!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I decided to go ahead and say I wouldn't be able to attend if I didn't receive funding. I feel like I was just reading too much into it before, and so I simply went with my honest answer on the forms. I am not going to go to a school without funding unless it's absolutely necessary. I have an in-state backup school, so hopefully I'll at least get in there and if funding doesn't come through elsewhere, I could at least afford that option. I want this degree badly, but I really can't justify paying for a degree then to work for non-profits.

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I did kind of the opposite of most people here. I definitely will have to take out loans if I don't get funding from the university or an external source, but I figured I'd be honest: I want the offer of admittance the most. I'd rather be accepted and have to reject the offer than get wait-listed because of funding, is I guess where my logic went on that one, though it's far from sound. I'm mostly applying to MAs though, which I've heard tend to be only partially funded anyway.

Retrospectively, however, I know I will be going where the funding is (unless it's nowhere at which point I'll have a different decision I suppose) so perhaps my response of become retroactively dishonest.

*shrugs* they're all in now so ultimately it doesn't matter!

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