How to Avoid College Application Fees
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College applications can get pricey after submitting several that cost between $35 and $50, but many universities offer a free way to apply. Here are some ways to save the application fee.
Be Web-savvy: Many colleges offer free application submissions to students who apply online. Often, schools advertise the fact that they waive application fees for online applicants. As you are exploring the websites of colleges you are considering, keep your eyes open for a money-saving application option.
Have a connection: At some schools, being a relative or friend of a graduate can get you a free application. If a relative’s or friend’s alma mater sounds like it might be a good fit for you, check to see if their backing will allow you a free application.
Take a road trip: Sometimes, just showing up can mean applying for free. But don’t just drop by campus hoping to pick up an application fee waiver. Some schools require students to schedule and complete an official college visit through the Office of Admissions before taking home a free pass. When planning your college visits, do some research beforehand to make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity to get a waiver.
Financial need: Do not let tight finances keep you from your college dreams. Of the 1,800 colleges U.S. News surveyed in 2012, 1,300 reported that they will waive the application fee for students who demonstrate financial need.
With proof of financial need, students may be able to secure fee waivers from the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and students who have received an SAT/ACT fee waiver can apply for free passes from the College Board. Students can also go to guidance counselors at their high schools for help; at some schools, a fee waiver signed by a counselor grants a free application.
Simply ask: It’s not too early to begin communication with college officials at your top-choice schools. It might be worthwhile to reach out and inquire about a fee waiver.