Applying to colleges is an expensive and confusing process. Luckily, I’m here to tell you what you need to know about paying for college applications. Some schools are more expensive than others. There are also schools that don’t require any fee at all. If you qualify, you can get fee waivers, meaning you won’t have to pay to apply to some of the schools on your list.
Fees aren’t the most difficult part of college applications, but you do need to figure them out and get them out of the way. Nothing should stop you from applying to the colleges that you wish to apply to, especially if you put in the work writing essays and filling out forms.
The cost of applying
Schools like Stanford and Columbia tend to charge the most to apply, around $90. This is more than twice the national average of $41. But every school’s application fees are different. Make sure to double-check the fees of each of the schools on your list. Depending on which schools you apply to, you could be paying very different amounts of money. The fees for each school are definitely some information you should keep in mind.
Three of the biggest suppliers of fee waivers are the College Board, NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling), and the Common Application. There are similar qualifications for fee waivers from each organization. If you’ve received an SAT fee waiver, you’ll also qualify for college application fee waivers. You can also qualify if your family income falls within certain eligibility guidelines.
Because fee waivers are meant to be used for top-choice schools only, you’ll only receive around four from each organization. But if you obtain waivers from many different places, you may be able to waive the fees for all of the schools on your list.
Colleges with no application fees
In efforts to offer access to a greater pool of applicants, some of the schools on your list may not require any fees at all. This means you can apply to more schools without the cost being a problem. Great colleges like Tulane and Oberlin have decided not to charge fees. So you won’t even need to worry about fee waivers for these schools!
Now that you’ve figured out how to deal with college application fees, check out this post to remind yourself what other parts of the process you still need to complete.
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About Nadira Berman
As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.
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