Tuition Deposit for Waitlist?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by logank622, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. logank622

    logank622 New Member

    Hi all,
    Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I recently applied to the Marymount University DBA program, and received very positive feedback during my admissions interview. I'm really excited about the program and was looking forward to starting in September. I had a call with the admissions advisor this morning, and she said I should be receiving the admission decision within a few weeks. I would then pay a $500 tuition deposit.

    But, she told me that they have a cap on students for Fall, and there's a possibility I might get waitlisted. They decide who gets in for Fall based on how quickly the student accepts and pays the tuition deposit. She said students who don't get in for Fall would have the tuition deposit put toward their tuition in January.

    This just doesn't sit right with me. If I put down a deposit on an apartment, the landlord doesn't get to collect 3 other deposits, pick one tenant, and keep everyone else's money in case another apartment opens up later. It sounds almost shady that a university would accept students, have them pay $500, and then tell them to fly a kite for 4 months before they get anything out of that money.

    Is this a common practice for universities?
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of a school doing this, but it doesn't seem shady to me. The tuition deposit is to hold your place in the September cohort, so if you pay quickly you increase the chances you will get into that cohort. If you end up getting pushed to the January cohort, your money isn't lost and you aren't being denied admission, you're just starting one semester later than anticipated.

    To use your apartment analogy, it's a little bit more like the landlord telling you they have 4 apartments available now, one apartment available in January, and 5 potential tenants. If the other 4 tenants pay first, they will get the apartments available now. You would still be guaranteed an apartment, but you would have to wait until it is available.

    If being waitlisted doesn't guarantee your starting in January, then I would be more concerned.
    JBjunior and SteveFoerster like this.
  3. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I had to pay a $250 deposit when I was accepted to Saint Leo's DCJ program. When I decided to defer my enrolment to the Spring, my deposit rolled to the Spring. However, my situation was a little different since I wasn't waitlisted but voluntarily deferred. However, I do not see an issue with ypur situation if a) you'll be guaranteed admissions in the spring and b) you intend to attend in the spring. You would pay a deposit anyway.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    This isn't that weird, especially since it's a new program at a smaller school and they're still getting their ducks in a row.

    Just think of Spring as your start date, with the possibility of starting in Fall as a potential pleasant surprise.

    (As an aside it's interesting to see this, since I used to work there, although it's been more than a decade.)
  5. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    That's right, this isn't as uncommon as you might think, there are many that are similar in nature as they require this deposit for you to "reserve" or hold a spot, most programs have a cohort of 20-30 or slightly more in that one class per session or term. This also is a measure they take to make sure the student really wants to get into the program and not just "asking and being on the side lines".

    An example of one MBA that does this is the recently talked about HAU MBA, they require a $375 deposit into a program that costs $3000 total... If they mentioned there may be a waitlist, they expect the program to be gaining attention, traction, and without enough "free spots", they'll have to put some prospective students on hold. It really is in your court, do you want in or not?
  6. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    So for what it is worth, if you were to pursue a MBA at a US News Top 50 B-School, if you got waitlisted there is ZERO tuition deposit until you are offered a seat off the wait-list.

    So, I would say this is absolutely not a normal practice from a reputable school...unless it is guaranteed admissions. That changes things completely if so.
    JBjunior likes this.
  7. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Yup, the MBA at HAU is the same, the $ is put towards your tuition and holds your spot, unless you want to defer to another cohort... but still... that's what I meant
  8. logank622

    logank622 New Member

    Thanks everyone. I guess what I reacted to most strongly is that if another student and I pay our deposit on the same day, and he starts in September but I have to wait until January, then he's getting a return on his investment 4 months before I would. And even then, there's no guarantee that I would get to start in January. The deposit doesn't actually hold a spot for me. So now I'm waiting for an admission decision, but that's basically an invitation to pay without knowing when I get to start classes.

    "Shady" was a strong word, and I apologize for that. I know they're not shady. But I still have concerns about committing and paying a deposit without getting a similar commitment from them that I actually have a start date - being "admitted" seems meaningless until they actually allow me to register.
    Dustin likes this.
  9. rhodamine

    rhodamine New Member

    I believe this is a measure of commitment on the part of the student. The students that are absolutely sure of their decision to join the program will ante up faster than those still trying to decide. There's also a timing issue of where your application entered into the cohort formation window. Entries made towards the end of the window have a higher chance of being pushed to the next cohort. As experienced in my situation.

    My doctoral program required a $450 deposit. Even though the deposit was quickly sent on the same day, I was pushed to the next cohort seven months later. The school starts a new cohort every six months.
    Dustin likes this.

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