Ask Test Masters: Is the CAP Program Binding?

University of Texas Coordinated Admission Program (CAP)
University of Texas Coordinated Admission Program (CAP)

Ask Test Masters is a free information service offered by the college admission experts at Test Masters. Reader Obinna has a question about the University of Texas’ Coordinated Admission Program (CAP). She writes,

“Is the University of Texas CAP Program binding? By signing the agreement and paying the fee, does it act as intent of enrollment?”

Dear Obinna,

It is unclear from your question whether or not you have already signed the CAP agreement and paid the enrollment or application fee associated with registering as a CAP student, or whether you are posing this question as a hypothetical. Our advice to you would depend on whether or not you have already done this.

If you have not yet signed any agreement or paid any fees, then do not do so until you are sure that you want to enroll as a CAP student. It would be a waste of your time and money to do otherwise.

If you have already signed the CAP agreement and paid the application/enrollment fees but are now considering accepting an admission offer from another university, then we have good news and bad news.

We’ll start with the bad news. Signing the CAP agreement is considered demonstrating intent to enroll. More importantly, perhaps, the enrollment or application fee you’ve paid is non-refundable.

Now the good news – signing the CAP agreement is not binding in the sense that you are now legally obligated to attend the satellite school you have selected or been assigned to. You may have been accepted for enrollment, even demonstrated an intent to enroll by signing the CAP agreement, but that does not mean you actually have to register for or attend any classes.

To answer your question, we contacted admission officers from both the University of Texas and the University of Texas San Antonio, one of the more popular landing spots for CAP students. (For future reference – you can contact the University of Texas at Austin undergraduate admission department here and the University of Texas San Antonio undergraduate admission department here.)

The University of Texas considers CAP students to be transfer students. Essentially, until you actually transfer to UT, you are not bound to any agreement with UT outside of the basic parameters of the CAP, which state that if you maintain a certain GPA, and meet the other requirements, then you will be automatically accepted as a transfer. You are not obligated to participate in the Coordinated Admission Program if you do not want to. As far as the University of Texas is concerned, according to the admission officer I spoke with, the university really has no interest in you until you successfully transfer between campuses. However, the admission officer did advise me that the specific policies for declining to enroll or attend classes at a satellite school depend on the specific satellite school you attend (or initially agreed to attend).

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Following this conversation, I contacted an undergraduate admission officer at the University of Texas San Antonio, who informed me that while any fees you might have already paid are non-refundable, the university would not take any action against you if you decline to enroll for any classes.

It is never a good idea to go back on a pledge or promise, but in this case if you think it is in your best interest to attend college elsewhere or pursue an alternate undergraduate plan of action, then you absolutely should.

Hope this helps!

**Obligatory Disclaimer** This article is not intended to be taken as indicative of the official policies of the universities mentioned above. If you are uncertain or unsure of your enrollment status with a particular university, do yourself a favor and contact them directly.

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