Will Your College Waive its Application Fee?

Will Your College Waive its Application Fee?
  • Opening Intro -

    When you apply to college, you will almost always be required to pay an application fee.


Costs vary, but they average about $35 per application according to US News & Word Report. Some colleges and universities, however, charge upwards of $100, an expense that can become especially burdensome when applying to multiple schools. Here is how you can seek a waiver of your college application fee.

1. Apply as a low-income student. When you sign up for either one of the college entrance examinations (SAT or ACT) you will be given the opportunity to apply for a low-income fee waiver. Your high school guidance counselor can manage this step for you and if you qualify you will get four college application fees waived. Most colleges and universities accept these waivers so use them as you get them.

2. Your college may waive your fee directly. Another option is to review your college’s application process to learn if a waiver is offered. Some schools offer a blanket waiver to students that apply online, a process that helps them streamline the application process. Essentially, you’re helping the college reduce its paperwork burden and that assistance is typically rewarded with an application fee waiver.

3. Your guidance counselor can help. Again. Your first attempt to get a fee waiver through your guidance counselor may not have worked out as you had hoped. What you can do is ask your counselor to draft a letter to the college on high school letterhead and request specifically that your fee be waived. Often, that letter is all that is needed to help you obtain a favorable response.

4. Attend a college open house. While fees are important to helping colleges run their operation, they also know that you’re looking at other colleges too. Some schools reward students that make an on-campus visit or attend a remote open house by waiving their application fee. Its a gesture to remind you that the school is interested in you and they’re doing their part to relieve you of a small, but important financial burden.

5. Ask and you shall receive. Perhaps you have exhausted all other methods for obtaining a fee waiver and have nothing to show for it. All hope is not lost: you can appeal directly to the admissions department to explain your plight. If you are a promising student, but a cash-strapped one at that, you may gain the attention of a sympathetic ear who will rule on your behalf. Give this a go, at least you will have tried.

Financial Considerations

If you obtain a waiver, then you have one less cost to concern yourself with as you get ready for college. You will also find that it does pay to speak up and there is nothing wrong with sharing your financial plight with people that can make a difference. College can be expensive, but if you are a good student and a right fit for a particular school, they’ll help you find the money you need to reduce your financial burden.

See AlsoHow to Successfully Navigate the College Application Process


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Categories: College Budgeting