How to get a waiver of university registration fees

The cost of applying for college can add up quickly, but getting a college fee waiver can help.

Students should expect to pay at least $ 678 to apply, factoring in the cost of online test preparation and various fees, according to a March 2017 Analysis by NerdWallet and Magoosh, an online test preparation service.

It’s just the bare minimum. Many students visit campus and take the ACT and SAT multiple times looking for stellar scores.

“If a student tries to take advantage of each strategic advantage, it will cost a few hundred dollars per university,” says Marie Bigham, director of the university council at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans and board of directors of the National Association. for College Admission Counseling. administrators member.

In many cases, you have to face these costs to apply to colleges. But if you can prove that you have a financial need, there are ways around some of them. Here’s how.

1. Apply for ACT and SAT fee waivers

The costs of applying to college begin with a standardized test fee. It costs $ 47.50 to register for each standard SAT you take and $ 50.50 to register for each ACT test. Both cost more if you want to take the essay portion of the tests in addition to the other sections ($ 64.50 for SAT, $ 67.00 for ACT).

You can receive ACT and SAT fee waived to take up to two of each test for free. To get either one, talk to your high school or guidance counselor. Each testing company only assigns a certain number of waivers to each high school, and it is up to the school counselors to distribute them as needed. There are several ways to qualify; you may be eligible if you:

  • Live in a foster home or public housing, or are homeless.

  • Participate in a free or discounted meal program or qualify for a program based on your family’s income.

  • Get government assistance, including Medicaid or food stamps, or participate in a government program for low-income families, like Upward Bound.

2. Request an exemption from college registration fees

The SAT fee waiver is a gift that never ceases to give you: in addition to allowing you to take the test for free, it also allows you to avoid the application fee for four colleges. If you get a SAT waiver, the College Board will send you an application waiver in the fall of your senior year or when you get your SAT test results.

If you didn’t get a SAT waiver, or if you did, but want to apply for free to more than four schools, there are other ways to potentially get these fees waived. You can request an application fee waiver directly through the college application or complete the NACAC Fee Waiver Request Form and submit it with your application.

Many university applications, including the Common Application (a generic application accepted by over 600 schools) have a field where you can indicate that you wish to be considered for a fee waiver. If a school’s application does not have a fee waiver option, try the NACAC fee waiver request form. In either case, you must qualify based on your financial situation – the requirements are similar to the ACT and SAT exemption requirements. Your high school counselor should also verify that you have a financial need, either electronically or with a signature.

However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain a fee waiver or that a college will honor it if you do; each campus can use its own discretion.

3. Find colleges with no tuition fees

All hope is not lost if you cannot obtain a fee waiver. Some colleges give codes for free application to students who attend certain college fairs or visit the school campus. And many colleges simply don’t charge an application fee. For example, it’s free to apply to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota; Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; and Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The College Board has a list which indicates the colleges without application fees and colleges that accept fee waivers.

4. Ask the quorum to waive the fees

But if all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to just ask the college to waive the fees. Call the admissions office yourself – Bigham says this may be the most effective approach – or ask your high school counselor to help you advocate for you.

“If a student’s high school counselor wrote us a note saying that paying the tuition fee would create financial hardship for the family, we would forgo it,” says Kent Rinehart, dean of admissions at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and a Member of the Board of Directors of NACAC.

Next steps

When thinking about your college applications, start thinking about financial aid as well. Fill out the free application for federal student aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply for grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities and federal student loans.


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