A college admissions program called early decision, which allows students to apply to their top-choice school before regular applications are due, may be biased against lower-income applicants. Wealthier students are more likely to apply early to highly selective schools, as they do not need financial aid and see applying early as a competitive advantage. The acceptance rate for early decision applicants is higher than for regular applicants. The early decision process also tends to offer less merit-based aid and creates an information gap that disadvantages students from lower-income backgrounds. The practice of early decision is seen as another form of affirmative action for affluent, predominantly white students. However, some universities offer a restrictive early action application that allows students to apply early without a binding commitment.
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