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How to Request a College Application Fee Wavier

How to Request a College Application Fee Wavier


You already know that applying to college takes time and effort. But it also takes money. Many application fees are upwards of 50 dollars, and if you plan on applying to several different colleges those fees add up quickly!

Fortunately, many colleges and universities are willing to dismiss their application fees for students who can demonstrate financial hardship. This article will outline the different methods available for requesting and filing a college application fee waiver, as well as help define “financial hardship.”


Understanding Financial Hardship

“Financial hardship” is a pretty simple concept: it means that that it is difficult for you or your family to pay the cost of going to college.

The hardest part of the financial hardship rule is trying to prove to colleges that you qualify. The four most common things a college will look for to prove financial hardship are the following:

  • Your parents’ income compared to your family size falling under a specific dollar amount
  • You participate in federal programs like Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch
  • You are enrolled in a TRIO or Upward Bound program
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing

If one or more of these four criteria fits you, then you should definitely apply for a application fee waiver! Here are three ways to do it:


Fee Waiver Option #1: The NACAC Request Form

NACAC, which stands for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, is an organization of counselors and experts in the college search and application process from all over the country. The organization has developed an easy-to-use fee waiver request form that is accepted by the majority of college and universities. Click below to access the NACAC Application Fee Waiver:

Download the NACAC Application Fee Waiver.

After downloading and printing the form, you will notice two sections that must be filled out. The first section requires you to write your name, address, and signature. The second section, which must be reviewed and signed by your high school guidance or admissions counselor, or your after-school program or community organization counselor, requires that you indicate your financial need.

Talk with your counselor or a parent about which of the indicators of financial need apply to you. You only need to include one of the eight different choices listed on the form to be considered for a fee waiver.

If you are having a high school counselor fill out the form, make sure they include your high school’s official seal in the white box on the bottom right-hand side of the form. If your after-school program or community organization counselor is helping you, they do not need to include a seal.


Fee Wavier Option #2: The SAT Fee Waiver 

The second method to applying for a college application fee waiver is connected to your SATs.

If you are eligible for an SAT fee wavier and you take your SATs, then you are given four college applications fee waivers (CAFWs) from the College Board automatically. These fee waivers are accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, and can be found in your online profile with the College Board. 

If you have not yet taken your SAT test, click here for more information on applying for a fee waiver.


Fee Waiver Option #3: Check with the College or University 

The final method for applying for a fee waiver is the most self-explanatory. Just ask the college! Call the admissions office of the college or university you plan on applying to and ask what their fee waiver policy is. Many schools have very simple processes in place for fee waivers, and might just request you send in a letter from your guidance counselor or mentor that explains your financial situation. Remember that you can find the contact information for any college in the country on Cappex.


In Conclusion

Remember, quality colleges want quality students. They want to make sure that every student who is academically and personally qualified isn’t stopped by a fee.

If you have worked hard in high school and are serious about getting into college, take advantage of programs like fee-waivers, fly-ins, scholarships, financial-aid, and more!

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