We all know about the expenses of attending college, but we don’t always talk about the cost associated with filling out an application (or applications). The average application fee rings in at about $50 per school with some prices climbing up to $90 for more expensive universities. Fee waivers are there to alleviate the cost of tests and applications. Here are some ways you can obtain a fee waiver:
1. Apply through ACT or SAT
You are likely eligible for College Board’s SAT testing fee waivers if you fall into any of these categories:
- Your family’s income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines.
- You’re enrolled in a government program for students with low-income.
- Your family receives public assistance.
- You live in federally subsidized housing or foster home.
- You’re a student experiencing homelessness.
The ACT’s fee waiver requirements are similar to that of the SAT. When acquiring these testing fee waivers, they will also include fee waivers for up to six college applications.
2. Request directly from the school
Each school has different college application fee waiver procedures. Typically, you will need to fill out a separate form demonstrating your financial need. If your family meets income qualifications, but still can’t afford the application fee, you should write a letter to the admissions office explaining your special circumstances or go for an in-person interview if the college is local. There are some schools that will even waive the application fee if you make an official on-campus visit.
3. If you have special interests, inquire about fee waivers
When attending college fairs, be sure to give out your contact information to schools that you wish to express special interest. A lot of times, recruiters are equipped with fee waivers for students they feel would make a great fit at the school. If you are hoping to play sports in college, you can also receive fee waivers from NCAA.
4. Look into the NACAC fee waiver
NACAC stands for National Association for College Admission Counseling. If you meet the requirements for an ACT/SAT fee waivers, you will qualify for NACAC waivers as well! With these waivers, you can apply to up to four colleges without paying the application fee. Be sure to check if your schools of interest allow the NACAC fee waiver. Though most colleges accept them, not all do.
5. Apply to schools that don’t have an application fee
One of the easiest ways to avoid college application fees is to choose schools that don’t have any!
No matter if you can obtain a fee waiver or not, do not be discouraged. The cost of school is intimidating, but you DO have options!