Free to Apply: How to Get a College Application Fee Waiver

Did you know college application fees can range from $50-$90 per school? If you’re applying to multiple schools, that cost can add up quickly! Since many colleges don’t want application fees to be an obstacle, you can apply for fee waivers to help with test and application costs. 

Here are some ways you can apply for a fee waiver:

Apply through ACT or SAT 

If you fall into any of the following categories, you’re likely eligible for College Board’s SAT testing fee waivers:

  • 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 a foster home
  • You’re a student experiencing homelessness

ACT’s fee waiver requirements are similar to the SAT requirements. You can apply for up to six colleges with a testing fee waiver.

Request fee waivers directly from schools

Each college has its own process for fee waivers. Usually, you’ll fill out a form demonstrating your financial need. If your family meets income qualifications but still can’t afford the application fee, consider writing a letter explaining your circumstances or arranging an in-person interview. Some schools waive the fee if you visit their campus or attend an online event.

Inquire about fee waivers based on your unique interests 

When you attend college fairs or interact with recruiters, share your contact information with schools you’re genuinely interested in. Many recruiters offer fee waivers to students they believe would fit their campus culture. Aspiring college athletes can get fee waivers from the NCAA.

Explore NACAC fee waivers 

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), offers fee waivers if you qualify for ACT/SAT fee waivers. With NACAC waivers, you can apply to up to four colleges without paying the application fee. Since not all colleges participate, check if your top schools accept the NACAC fee waiver.

Consider schools with no application fee

One of the simplest ways to avoid application fees is to apply to schools that don’t charge a fee. Many schools understand the financial strain on students and have chosen to make the application process free.

Fee waivers can help with the cost of college applications, but even if you don’t get one, you still have options! Explore scholarships, financial aid, and other resources to help make your college dreams a reality. You’ve got this!