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We're not near the April 15th date yet, when PhD offers have to be decided on by students.

Could PhD programs, say, in the United States, rescind the offers that are not yet accepted by students?

What about for accepted offers? Could these be undone / voided or postponed?

  • Offers can be rescinded for many reasons: faculty availability, department numbers, funding changes, so Covid 19 is just another to add to the list. – Solar Mike Mar 21 at 17:02
  • You may find this informative: academia.stackexchange.com/q/145653/72855. Or this: academia.stackexchange.com/q/145664/72855 – Solar Mike Mar 21 at 17:04
  • @SolarMike I'm not sure that's true. Some graduate institutions are unionized, and there might be stipulations which require the offer to be legally binding. – 6005 Mar 21 at 22:38
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    Of course offers could be voided. There is a global pandemic, millions could die world wide, the economy is going in the tank, but somehow admissions should be unaffected? – Jon Custer Mar 22 at 0:19
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    @6005: I'd expect rescission to happen only in the event that the university knows it cannot fund those students, or that it will suspend or shut down the program that they would enroll in. In such a case, rescinding an offer seems a lot less unethical than letting a student come and abandoning them midyear. – Nate Eldredge Mar 22 at 2:26
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Yes. If the university is out of money, anything that costs money could be eliminated. This includes PhD offers. Stipends are more likely to be eliminated than enrollment.

Contracts with bankrupt entities cannot be enforced. This effects everyone associated with the entity.

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  • +1 for the yes, but I don't think the universities even have to be bankrupt to rescind the offer. I have no idea how much this has happened this year. Our university, after some discussion, I think in late March, told our department that we would honor existing offers with funding but not be able to make additional offers with funding at this point. Perhaps this depends on the university and how the offer is written (e.g., maybe there is some "pending approval" or "pending funding" phrasing), but my impression our university did have the option to rescind offers. – Kimball May 21 at 14:19

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