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How Much Are College Application Fees

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How To Qualify For College Application Fee Waivers

How to get College Application Fee Waivers for International Students | Free Universities

First off, it merits saying that your fee waivers are actually fee waiver requests.Ultimately, each of your colleges must approve your request. For the most part, colleges will approve them if you have your school counselor’s or another designated official’s signature.

If your colleges have any doubts or questions, they might ask you to send along extra information demonstrating that you qualifybut this is rare. Mostly, this fee waiver process is done on the honor system. It’s up to you and your counselor to determine whether you’re eligible, so be sure to take a look at the criteria below.

There are a few criteria that must apply for you to be eligible for fee waivers. They’re actually the same guidelines that apply to getting an SAT or ACT fee waiver. If you already got an SAT or ACT fee waiver, you should automatically be eligible for college application fee waivers. If you’re using the Common Application and/or the Coalition Application, or your admission test of choice was the SAT, then the process should be especially easy.

Let’s go over the qualifying guidelines. If any one of the following is true for you, then you qualify for an application fee waiver:

*For most states, the Income Eligibility Guidelines are as follows:

Members in Household

Note that international students may be eligible for college application fee waivers as well, usually as long as they meet at least one of the criteria above.

A Final Word On The Cost Of Applying To College

At a bare minimum, you’re going to pay at least $100 to take the SAT or ACT and apply to a local college or two. If you’re a high-achieving student applying to 10 highly selective colleges in a wide geographic area, you could easily be looking at $2,000 or more in costs for application fees, exam fees, and travel. It’s not unusual for students to spend more than $10,000 applying to schools because they hire a college consultant, fly to schools for visits, and take numerous standardized tests.

The application process, however, does not need to be prohibitively expensive. Both colleges and the SAT/ACT have fee waivers for low-income students, and things such as consultants and expensive travel are luxuries, not necessities.

Write The Common App Essays

Now it comes time to actually fill out your college applications. When you submit the Common App, you will need to use the essays to showcase who you are and why you stand out from other applicants.

The Common App essay is one of a portfolio of essays that you will send to colleges, but it is arguably the most important. This essay will be seen by every college you apply to using the platform. Good essays are deeply personal and show how you think, solve problems, make decisions, and what youre passionate about.

These essays can take anywhere from 20-30 hours as you need to carefully choose a prompt, brainstorm ideas, organize your thoughts, draft, edit, re-draft, edit again, and so on. You also need to make sure you proofread before you submit for any grammar mistakes and have someone else who knows you proofread as well.

To learn more about the Common Application Essays, the Coalition Application Essays , and receive strategic tips on how to tackle this years prompts, check out:

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Online Colleges With No Application Fees

Learn about our editorial process. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

What Are College Application Fees Used For

543 Colleges with No Application Fees for 2020

As college admissions deadlines approach, the admissions office can be very chaotic. The applications submitted to a college do not review themselves. Even with electronic verification systems, human admissions specialists are still necessary.

Many students ask, Why do you have to pay to apply to colleges?, Why do colleges charge application fees? and Why are application fees so expensive? Fees cover the cost of the selection and admission process. Looking over applications costs the university money. They need to pay an employee to review each one, and this cost is passed on to the student. Unless, of course, you qualify for a fee waiver. This is why college applications cost money.

Some prestigious schools charge application fees to ensure that students are serious about attending. Without a fee, some students would submit hundreds of applications. This seems logical. After all, the goal would be to get accepted to the best school. Yet it is important to remember that colleges are businesses. And the expenses can be high just like any other business.

Some schools offer a fee waiver. Other colleges credit the application fee towards your tuition. There are also some schools that refund the application fee for college if you are not accepted. Check with the schools admissions office to see what happens after you pay.

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Why Is It So Expensive To Apply To College

Top schools receive hundreds of thousands of applications every year and need to review each application to ensure equal opportunities for all applicants. This requires large admissions teams that record and evaluate applications, and then communicate with students regarding their admission status.

Even if everything is done online, theres a team of people working at the back end, who go through the applications and identify the best candidates. High application fees are also a way for schools to discourage students from making large numbers of applications and applying to schools they are not interested in or are very unlikely to get into.

Application Fees And Additional Costs

College application fees cost an average of $43, according to a 2017 survey by U.S. News & World Report. The most common application fee was $50. Generally, the more exclusive the school, the more it costs to apply. But thats not always the case. Some schools completely forego the application fee, and most allow students with financial hardship to apply for a fee waiver. But what about the other fees you incur for different testing requirements needed to submit your applications.

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Average Cost Of Applying To School

Lets take a look at a working example of what a typical student might pay to apply for school. In this example, the undergraduate student is applying to seven different colleges, including a few highly-competitive top schools. For this reason, theyve chosen to take both the SAT and ACT to strengthen their application.

Note that some of the costs, such as application fees, are multiplied by the number of schools theyre applying to, and others, like standardized test fees, only need to pay once.

Heres a breakdown of the costs they can expect to pay to apply for college:

Application fees $395

Additional Choice Fee: $50/choice

Application Fees Waived || No SAT, ACT, TOEFL OR IELTS Required || Rolling Admission ||TFE
  • For each additional program choice beyond your first 3 .
    • There is no fee for replacing a program choice with another program choice at the same university.
    • If you amend your application to withdraw a program choice at 1 university and add a program choice at a different university, you will be charged $50 for the new program choice.
    • You may apply to as many Ontario universities as you wish however, you are limited to a maximum of 3 program choices at any 1 university . Some universities may further limit the number of programs you can apply to.

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Other Ways To Avoid Paying Application Fees

While application fee waivers are definitely the most common ways that students avoid paying fee waiters, there are some other ways that applying students can either remove or reduce fees that are connected to applying to schools. Here are the most common ways to keep in mind.

The reasons for why do colleges have application fees make a lot of sense, but that does not mean that those reasons have to apply for all students. There are other ways to get out of application fees despite qualifying for an application fee waiver.

Strategize Sending Score Reports

You may be able to save money by preparing for the college application process in advance. In addition to avoiding late registration fees for tests, proper planning can help you use the four free reports that come with the SAT or ACT test wisely.

For example, rather than using several of the free reports for state college system schools, you may only need to send the report to one school and it’ll be distributed to the others in the system for free. You can contact the public college you’re considering applying to for more information. You may be given an institutional code that applies to the whole school system, or use a single school’s code and distribute the score later.

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How The Fee Waiver Works

This will depend on the school offering them and the basis for the fee waiver. For example, fee waivers granted on financial need can be obtained directly from the school or from the College Board. Students who are eligible to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests with a fee waiver will automatically be eligible to apply to up to four of the more than 2,000 participating colleges and universities with no application fee. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Who Can Qualify For College Application Fee Waivers

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Students need to meet economic need criteria to receive a college application fee waiver. The criteria may differ from college to college, but most of them will need proof that the applicant is a:

  • Person who lives in a foster home
  • Eight $44,120

    Colleges often accept SAT, ACT, or NACAC fee waivers as well. Some colleges might exempt you from paying the application fee if you are a U.S. military veteran. If you think you can be exempt from paying college application fees, you can request a fee waiver.

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    What Is The Application Fee Used For

    Curious what your application fee is used for? Were a non-profit organization and the fee we collect for your application goes towards providing services to our applicants, including:

    • Online application service available 24/7. Each year we process over 200,000 applications from people like you who want to go to college. All of these applications go through our online application service, which allows you to apply to all 24 of Ontarios public colleges in one place.
    • Centralized transcript and document processing. We receive thousands of electronic and hardcopy transcripts from college applicants every year. Its our job to make sure your transcript is attached to your account and transmitted to every college youve applied to.
    • Centralized posting and confirmation of college admissions offers. Each year, we not only process college applications, we also handle hundreds of thousands of college admissions offers. Offers from your college choices are posted on your application and all thats left for you to do is click the Confirm button.
    • Customer Contact Centre assistance. Our Customer Contact Centre offers support by telephone, email and live chat, with extended hours during peak seasons to guide applicants smoothly through the process.

    Apply Today. Change Tomorrow.

    How To Request A College Application Fee Waiver Via Donotpay

    DoNotPay allows you to make a college fee waiver request fast and easy! With our easy-to-use app, you can submit fee waiver requests for:

    • New student applications
    • Transfer students
    • Enrolment deposit

    When using our app, you wont need to waste time filling out confusing forms. We will complete the necessary forms for you and send them to the admission office of the college of your choosing.

    To file a fee waiver request, follow these instructions:

  • Set up your DoNotPay account in any web browser
  • Open the College Application Fee Waiver feature
  • Select the fee you want to get waived
  • Choose the college you want to apply to and answer the questions regarding your financial status
  • Indicate whether you need a counselors signature
  • We have an extensive database of U.S. colleges, so you can easily find the ones you want to apply to. Use DoNotPay to request fee waivers from Brandeis, Columbia, Duke University, Auburn University, University of Arizona, and many others.

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    Choose The Schools You Want To Apply To Wisely

    Perhaps the most obvious way to reduce your initial investment is to narrow down your list of schools before you start applying. While the College Board recommends a minimum of six colleges, other experts suggest applying to 14 or more, which could add up quickly. Make sure you research your college choices thoroughly before selecting several “reach,” “match,” and “safety” schools. Only invest in those schools you believe will be a good fit for your goals and preferences.

    Universities And Online Colleges With No Application Fee

    How To Get Every College or University Application Fees Waived (2023)

    Even applying to college can be expensive. Most colleges and universities charge a nonrefundable application fee of $50 to $80, even if the applicant is not accepted to that school. And since most students apply to many schools, application fee costs can add up. Luckily, there are many online colleges with no application fees.

    Students who plan to attend college online can benefit from more program options. Degree-seekers can attend an online program from any school nationwide since they do not need to relocate to enroll.

    Tuition: None

    Berea College is a historically progressive college that provides a full scholarship to every admitted student. However, students must work at least 10 hours per week during school.

    Tuition :$61,040

    A small private school with about 5,000 undergraduates, Case Western is known for its top-notch research. The school offers a variety of graduate programs.

    Tuition Payment Plan Availability: Yes, with three options to choose from.

    Tuition: $57,404

    Located in Portland, Oregon, Lewis and Clark College offers both undergraduate and graduate programs with an extensive study abroad program.

    Tuition Payment Plan Availability: Yes

    Tuition: $44,970

    As Wisconsin’s largest private university, Marquette is a Catholic coeducational institution. It offers students hundreds of degrees to choose from, with many courses now available online.

    Tuition Payment Plan Availability: Yes

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    Ways To Save On Your College Application

    Its possible to avoid some fees when youre applying to college. Before you sign up for test prep or submit your application, consider these options for lowering the cost of applying.

    1. Apply to no-fee schools

    Not all schools charge an application fee its possible one youve had your eye on doesnt. Colleges dont always advertise that they dont have an application fee. If you cant find one listed on their website, give their admissions office a call to make sure theres no fee to apply.

    Schools that rely on the Common App often dont charge an application fee, though you might have to pay one if the school requires any supplementary forms.

    2. Apply early decision to your top choice

    Applying early decision can potentially cut down on costs in a few ways. If you get in, you can save on the following fees:

    • Application fees to additional colleges
    • Extra score report fees
    • Transcript fees

    3. Be thoughtful about your choices

    The more schools you apply to, the more application, score report and transcript fees you have to pay. Think about what you really want out of a school and where you can realistically get in.

    Even if youre at the top of your class, it might not be worth applying to every Ivy League school you can only attend one, after all. Experts also recommend you apply to at least one safety school, a school of your choice that you have a chance of getting into.

    4. Request a fee waiver

    What Other Costs Should I Consider

    Even if you only apply to Ivy League school, the application fee might not be the most expensive part of the college admissions process. How much you fork over depends on how much you want to invest in your college application.

    SAT and ACT fees

    Most colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores when they apply. Some states allow students to take these tests for free the first time. Otherwise you have to pay, unless you qualify for a fee waiver.

    In fact, the cost of registering for the SAT can be more expensive than some college application fees. If you take it more than once to try to increase your scores, youll end up paying even more.

    ACT score report by phone $15 per call, in addition to the cost of each rush order

    AP exam fees

    • Regular AP exam: $94 per exam
    • AP Capstone: $142 per exam

    Taking AP courses strengthens your college application and helps you save on tuition by allowing you to earn credits for the fraction of the cost of an actual class. But it does increase the upfront cost of applying to college. Like with the SAT and ACT, low-income students might be able to qualify for a fee waiver.

    Test prep courses

    Test prep courses could be worth the investment if they can boost your score enough to get you into your dream school. But they can easily top $1,000 when you sign up.

    Magoosh $79 per month of access to online resources

    College essay tutoring

    • Cost: $100 to $500 per hour

    High school transcript fees

    • Cost: Varies by school

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