Application Fee Waiver: A Complete Guide

Application Fee Waiver: A Complete Guide

What exactly is an application fee waiver? Is it necessary? Does it ease the fee burden? The answer to all these questions is YES!

Apart from tuition fees, there are certain other fees that a student pay to get admission to colleges. These are application costs, lab charges, sports fees, Library fees, and much more. All these charges collectively cost you a ton.

So, in order to lessen the burden, many colleges grant the applicant permission to partially pay the application fees. In simple words, many colleges allow a student to either not pay or partially pay the application fees.

But there are certain criteria laid down by colleges or universities regarding the application fee waiver which we will be discussing in the upcoming part.

Application cost and need for fee waiver:

The application fee depends upon the individual college, some colleges charge you around $30 while some may charge you around $90. So, on average the fees is around $40-$50 which is very high for a low-income student.

Moreover, if you are applying to more than 1 school then the application fee is separate for each school and the overall expense becomes worrisome. For instance, if the application fee of one school is $40 and if you apply to a total of 5 schools, then total fees become $200. Therefore, if you are from a low-income family then this is a huge amount for you.

To help the needy students, some colleges have a system of exempting those from paying application fees. This step helps the applicant to apply without worrying about the application cost.

Eligibility for College application fee waiver:

Though it is a huge savior for students yet it cannot be accessed by each and every student. In order to be able to qualify for it, the applicant must pass certain parameters. Mostly, it is given to students having ver low-income families. In addition to this, if a student has qualified for SAT/ACT fee waiver, then he is eligible for a college application fee waiver.

Generally, a student requests a college for a fee waiver and then the college decides to deny or accept the request. But to raise a request, a student must qualify some conditions which are-

  • A student must be eligible for Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program
  • Family income must meet the income eligible guidelines set up by USD food and Nutrition service.
  • You live in a small house or are homeless.
  • You are an orphan.

Getting an Application fee waiver:

If you satisfy the above criteria or hold an SAT/ACT fee waiver, then you can request for application fee waiver via the following methods-

  1. Common Application system– Common app allows you to apply to many schools altogether. Now what you have to do is to go to common app and select for fee waiver on your profile page and give a reason. After that, you wait for your counselor to approve your request.
    Note: The college has a right to ask for documents for verification if they are in a doubt, although such chances are rare.
  2. Coalition Application system– It requires you to set up Mycoalition account which can be accessed from Coalition for college . After that in Profile page, select fee waiver and check all the options that are applicable for you. The college list will then be shown according to your selection. Your counselor will now accept your request and you are all set.
    Note: Here also, verification can be done by colleges if they are not satisfied.
  3. SAT fee waiver– If you have qualified for SAT fee waiver then you are naturally eligible for application fee waiver. However, you need to check for colleges if they are allowing application fee waiver or not.
    Now there is something more to it. There are two conditions to be able to grab the waiver.
    (a) If you have given SAT as a senior- wait for scores to come and then apply
    (b) If you have given SAT as a junior – wait till you get to your senior year (fall season).
  4. Alternative forms– This is for those who cannot apply from either of the above systems. Your counselor will provide you two forms : the ACT waiver or the NACAC waiver.
    ACT – The ACT website provides you with the fee waiver form from here. You need to give your basic information like Name, School and most importantly your counselor’s sign. However, it is not clear weather only ACT test qualified students can avail this or any student who is in a need for waiver.
    NACAC– It also provides you with request form here and asks for basic information. But in this, you need to justify your economic need.

Points to Remember:

  • The application fee waiver can only be requested by students whose family has low income or by satisfying the standard parameter.
  • A student must follow the guidelines laid by the colleges for the fee waiver process. If a student is sending out emails then it should be well-phrased with necessary information and politeness.
  • It is up-to college if they will give you fee waiver or not.
  • Also check if the college is giving fee waiver to only the residents of that state or also to the International student.