Applying to college can be pricey. Between the fees for standardized tests and those for submitting applications, costs add up quickly! But did you know that you might be able to get a few of these fees waived and that some colleges don’t even require application fees?
If you’re taking the SAT, talk to your high school’s college/guidance counselor to determine whether you’re eligible for an SAT Fee Waiver. This waives fees for testing and score reports (up to a cap) and up to four applications to participating colleges.
There’s also a fee waiver for the ACT. Similar to the College Board’s SAT Fee Waiver, it waives fees for testing and score reports (up to a cap), but it does not waive college application fees. For this waiver, too, talk to your high school’s college/guidance counselor to determine your eligibility.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling offers an application fee waiver as well. This is a fee waiver request form to be completed with your high school’s college/guidance counselor and submitted to up to four colleges for consideration. Good news: If you’ve already had application fees waived for four colleges through your SAT Fee Waiver, for example, you’re permitted to use this for an additional four applications.
If you’re applying to a college that doesn’t accept one of the fee waivers above or you are applying to a larger number of schools, you can check colleges’ websites and/or contact the admissions offices to find out whether they have their own fee waivers to ease the financial burden of applying.
Finally, the same College Board resource that lists colleges that participate in their fee waiver program also includes colleges that don’t require fees at all, so be sure to check it out!
Some colleges proactively send application fee waivers to prospective students. There are mixed observations about the reasons for this practice. Some sources claim that this is a way for colleges to boost application numbers (thereby decreasing their acceptance rate). Others say that it is designed to remove the barrier for entry for students who might not otherwise apply due to financial constraints. Last, some sources believe that this is simply a marketing tool. However, if you take advantage of this sort of waiver, be aware that although this should not be construed as a guarantee of acceptance, it can still be helpful!
Of course, don’t spend time on the school’s application if you would not attend if accepted. Instead, focus on schools that you think would be good fits for you.