Ask! Colleges typically have a fee-waiver policy. Search the college’s web site or contact the admissions office for details regarding qualification. Since application fees range from $25-$75 per school, the cost to apply can add up especially if you’re applying to more than one college. It does not hurt to ask about a fee-waiver and having the application fee waived will not impact review of your application.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling provides a form students who meet the criteria can use to apply to any college. The criteria and form can be found here: NACAC Request for Admission Applicaiton Fee Waiver.
Application fees can be waived for many reasons and policies will vary from school to school. Here are a some examples:
- Need-based/you have limited financial resources, are applying for financial aid, or the cost of the application fee presents a hardship for your family
- First-Gen/you are the first in your family to apply to college
- Child of an alum (also known as a legacy applicant)/your parents graduated from the college to which you are applying
- Special offer/the college may run a fee-waiver promotion for a limited time
- In-State or Out-of-State applicant/some colleges waive fees depending on where you live
- Military/you’re applying for ROTC or Corps of Cadets
Note there may be additional forms or deadlines related to applying for a fee-waiver, so be sure to contact the admissions office, seek help from your guidance counselor and search online for information for each college that interests you.
If you’re just getting started with the college admissions process, don’t hesitate to ask about fee-waivers when you visit college or when the college rep visits your high school.