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College Glossary: E

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Early Action – an emerging trend in admissions that allows students to apply early for admission to the college of their choice and receive a decision well in advance of the normal response dates in the spring. Unlike Early Decision, you are not committed to enroll at that particular institution, and you can compare offers from other schools before making a final decision on what college to attend. Note: Applications are due much earlier for early decision requests and require more planning.

Early Decision – a binding agreement between the applicant and the college that basically states that, if accepted, the student agrees to attend the college. While you are still permitted to submit regular decision applications to other colleges, once you have been accepted through early decision, you are asked to withdraw all your other college applications. Early decision is a great idea for students certain of their college choice. Note: Applications are due much earlier for early decision requests and require more planning.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the amount of tuition your family is expected to pay for college; this number determines a student’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid. It is based on family earnings, net assets, savings, size of family, and the number of students in college.