Legality of accepting an offer

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karlweierstrass
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:15 pm

Legality of accepting an offer

Post by karlweierstrass » Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:17 am

Hi! As we all know the deadline to accept an offer in the US is 15th April. I have an offer from the US for a funded master's. But I applied to some very good European schools for master's too. I won't get a decision from them before June 2020. Although predicting an outcome is really difficult, I would definitely choose these schools over the US one I have gotten into. But if I reject my only offer and don't get into any of these European schools, I would have to take a gap year which I really don't wanna do.

Do you guys think an extension to accept the offer is possible? In case no, can I accept the offer and then decline depending on whether I get into my priority schools or not? (There's no waitlist in the course I have gotten into so I won't be hurting anyone's chances). In short, does accepting an offer have any legal consequences if one decides not to attend that school?

What do you guys suggest?

Thanks!
Last edited by karlweierstrass on Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gleuschk
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:03 am

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by gleuschk » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:14 pm

Cancelling an accepted offer after April 15 puts the department in a very hard position. They may have to fill your slot in order to make sure they can staff their classes, and they will not be able to find an excellent student to fill it, because most excellent students will have accepted other offers by April 15.

The same agreement that protects students from having to commit to a grad school before April 15 also protects departments from late cancellations. It says
an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an insti­tution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer.
https://cgsnet.org/april-15-resolution

bayessays
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:20 pm

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by bayessays » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:29 pm

The CGS resolution is an agreement between a group of US schools - it is not a legally binding document and schools in Europe are not held to it. As the above user says, the only real issue moral issue is whether you're taking a spot from someone else, which you aren't. Even if you were, it is not reasonable to reject your funded offer just in case you get the European ones, and it is not reasonable for you to turn down the European schools out of some sense of moral duty. Things happen - departments aren't going to sue you for not coming to their school. If you get into the European schools, just tell the US department that circumstances have changed and you're not going to be able to attend in the fall.

karlweierstrass
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:15 pm

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by karlweierstrass » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:53 pm

bayessays wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:29 pm
The CGS resolution is an agreement between a group of US schools - it is not a legally binding document and schools in Europe are not held to it. As the above user says, the only real issue moral issue is whether you're taking a spot from someone else, which you aren't. Even if you were, it is not reasonable to reject your funded offer just in case you get the European ones, and it is not reasonable for you to turn down the European schools out of some sense of moral duty. Things happen - departments aren't going to sue you for not coming to their school. If you get into the European schools, just tell the US department that circumstances have changed and you're not going to be able to attend in the fall.
Yeah, I understand that. But the only solution without hurting my chances is to accept the offer on 15th April and cancel if I get into these schools by June. But that would be too late as it says on the website that students can cancel after 15th April only after getting a written statement of release from the university where they committed initially. What happens if the University refuses to issue such a statement of release? Even if non-US schools are not bounded by CGS, does not getting such a statement of release poses any legal constraints?

bayessays
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:20 pm

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by bayessays » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:04 pm

Right, I am suggesting that you accept your current offer and then if you get into the European school, you email the US school and tell them things have changed and that you're no longer able to attend. The resolution is not a legally binding thing - it's something schools agree to generally adhere to in order to create some standard of not screwing each other over. It is not a legally binding thing. You, as an individual, are allowed to drop out of a school whenever you want for any reason. If the European institution were a CGS member, then according to the agreement, you would have to get a release from the former school, but even this is not a legally binding thing and if you didn't tell the schools about the other, they would have no way of knowing. Since European schools are not CGS members, they will not care.

finite
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:11 am

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by finite » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:00 pm

How about being upfront with the US school about this? Tell them you like their department but prefer the European schools more, and ask for their advice. I think they may appreciate your honesty. In any case, this is not something for which they can rescind your offer (just my hunch). They may be able to suggest how big a deal it is for them if you decline a few months after accepting.

ponchan
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by ponchan » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:11 pm

If a program is seriously hindered by a single student dropping out, then simply put, it's not a very good program. The functioning of a department should not be contingent on whether one mere graduate student decides not to attend after the April 15 deadline.

That said, of course you should avoid doing this at all costs.

complexcat
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Legality of accepting an offer

Post by complexcat » Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:01 pm

finite wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:00 pm
How about being upfront with the US school about this? Tell them you like their department but prefer the European schools more, and ask for their advice. I think they may appreciate your honesty. In any case, this is not something for which they can rescind your offer (just my hunch). They may be able to suggest how big a deal it is for them if you decline a few months after accepting.
Agreed. Even if it's awkward, honesty is best.



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