I have the opportunity to reject an offer from a University in US. As a follow up email I was asked which university did I choose and what was the reason behind it. Can I simply ignore the follow up mail, or can I divulge the information as a good gesture?

Personally, I do not like to reveal stuff, but is the information where I am going to study or whether or not I received funding from a particular university public? If I reveal it to staff of another university will it not be a problem?

  • 3
    Or you can say directly, "I'd rather not tell you that."
    – JeffE
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:51
  • 2
    Let's assume the discussion is private, but eventually the knowledge that you're at University X will be pretty public and discoverable (webpage, directory, publications etc). So is your concern keeping this secret until after you start, or longer than that (presumably impossible)?
    – smci
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:34
  • I think the University (or more likely department or program) is asking for that information in order to improve themselves in the future. You can ignore them, or you can help them improve themselves. Your choice.
    – GEdgar
    Jun 24, 2016 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


You're not obligated to tell them. Whether you tell them or not would be unlikely to have an impact on your future either.

They're probably not going to track you down and find you, and would mostly use the information to improve recruitment in the future.

Imagine if you told them you chose University X instead because you had family there and it was easier to secure housing. That's a sound reason, and unlikely to cause any sort of mark in the off chance they were tracking you.

I would try to avoid saying anything bad about the school, though.


For public universities in the US, the fact that you are employed at a University and what your salary is (assuming you are a TA or RA) is discoverable via most states' freedom of information laws. These laws run under various names, but they are what allows there to be newspaper sites listing all public employee salaries. However, your conversations with a university's staff members as part of your student application might be student records under FERPA and therefore not disclosable.

So I would say that the university you rejected could eventually discover that you were offered and took a job as a graduate research assistant or teaching assistant at the university you accepted, but they could not find out your reasoning without potential trouble. They are very unlikely to care, though.

  • 1
    Employment and salaries are only discoverable through FOIA if you're working for a public university in the US. Salaries at Harvard and MIT are not discoverable.
    – JeffE
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:52
  • Yes, of course, @JeffE. I assumed a public university due to the nature of the question, but that wasn't actually clear. I have updated my answer!
    – Bill Barth
    Apr 14, 2015 at 17:59
  • @JeffE at MIT you do not even need the FOIA.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:18

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