Early Decision, or "ED," as it is often called, is a special candidate pool for students seeking admission and who have formally designated Franklin & Marshall as their clear number one choice. Students in the Early Decision applicant pool complete a signed agreement stating that if they are admitted to Franklin & Marshall they will enroll and withdraw their applications to other colleges or universities.
For many students, this level of commitment means serious consideration of the cost of education and the possibility of receiving need-based financial aid. Before applying for Early Decision, consider your likely out-of-pocket expenses carefully. Explore possibilities of need-based financial aid with the Office of Financial Aid.
With Early Decision, the financial aid process begins in the mid-fall with our first round of ED candidates applying before a November 15 admission application deadline. Because the process begins early and prior to the January 1 release of the FAFSA, the College bases a student's Early Decision aid award package upon information submitted by the family via the PROFILE application as well as their most recent federal income tax and W-2 information. Families complete the PROFILE at this early point using estimates of income and assets for the upcoming year. The best way for families to estimate for the upcoming year is to use prior year tax information and adjust accordingly.
If, according to the PROFILE, an Early Decision applicant qualifies for need-based aid, the College will estimate and package both federal need-based aid as well as institutional need-based aid according to that need. The financial aid award letter including all of these elements will arrive two weeks following the letter of admission. The process for Early Decision students in the second round is much the same, but with different deadlines.
After the new year, ED Round 1 students as well as ED Round 2 students will have the opportunity to apply for federal need-based aid using the FAFSA. They will also be able to submit updates to their PROFILE information with their most current tax year information at a later date.