NYU Email Upsets Waitlisted Applicant

A New York University email sent to waitlisted applicants has upset at least one family, reports The Washington Post.

NYU's admissions office emailed a letter to a waitlisted student with news that the university might have space opening in its College of Arts and Sciences, but then stated funding for grants and scholarships was limited and that the university might not be able to meet student need. The email went on to question if applicants would still be interested in accepting an offer of admission if the university was able to extend such an offer. 

The father of one student told the Post he was outraged. "You either make an offer or you don't make an offer," he said. "It was really like this 'conditional' offer. It struck me like a high school boy asking a girl out where he says, 'If you tell me that you're interested in me, I'll go ahead and ask you out.'"

His said his daughter is sticking with her plans to enroll elsewhere.

NYU spokesman John Beckman confirmed the authenticity of the email (which was sent to a few students on the wait list) and said it should not have been written that way. "The students that we're taking off the wait list are receiving financial aid awards that are the same as the awards that went to people who were admitted initially," he told the Post. The university's budget for undergraduate financial aid was $235 million this year, Beckman said, and average awards for incoming freshmen are up 5 to 10 percent.

Some schools, like Bowdoin College, for example, caution waitlisted students that there may be limited availability of financial aid depending on the admission cycle and current budget.

Beckman told the Post it is common for schools in May and June to "sort out" which students on their wait list are genuinely interested and which are not, and this is typically done via phone. In this case, he told the Post, the language was "suboptimal."

NYU offered admission to 31 percent of 60,000 applicants for the class of 2019. It is seeking to enroll about 5,600 freshmen on its New York campus and a few hundred more in overseas locations. It did not share the size of its wait list.


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