If you’re planning to go to medical school, chances are that finances are on your mind: how to pay for your studies, and how to support yourself and your family. But one concern that shouldn’t be a factor in your decision is how to pay for the MCAT. The test doesn’t come cheap: as of 2021, it costs $320—and that’s even before you submit your scores to med schools. However, these fees don’t have to be an obstacle to your future plans. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program can help make testing affordable. In this post, we’ll take a look at what the program is, AAMC Fee Assistance eligibility, and what it means to get an “MCAT fee waiver.”
What is the AAMC Fee Assistance Program?
The AAMC Fee Assistance Program helps test-takers afford to take the MCAT more easily. It lowers the cost of the test, allows you to use the American Medical College Application Service once for free, and even gets you free official prep materials. It can also get you free Magoosh MCAT prep—more on this below!
A quick note: the AAMC Fee Assistance Program isn’t the same thing as a medical school fee assistance program. Make sure you look into the benefits and requirements of both types of programs before applying!
What are the benefits of the program?
The AAMC Fee Assistance Program reduces the cost of taking the MCAT and sending your scores. Unfortunately, the test still isn’t free for anyone: it’s more “MCAT fee assistance” and less “MCAT fee waiver.” The lowest registration fee is still $130—but that $190 difference can be a huge help. The biggest difference is in the AMCAS fees: you’ll get a waiver for one application submission, sent to up to 20 medical schools, which would otherwise cost $949.
In addition to the reduced testing fee when you register for the MCAT, you’ll also get access to MCAT’s Official Prep products for free online. This alone is a huge savings, as it costs upwards of $268 otherwise. All of these benefits begin when you’re approved and expire on December 31 of the following year (in most cases, this gives you plenty of time before your MCAT test date!).
Finally, you can also get a stipend for medical or psycho-educational testing if it’s needed to get the MCAT testing accommodations that you need—up to $800.
Summary of FAP Benefits
Overall, you can anticipate the following benefits if you’re approved for the AAMC FAP:
- Reduced MCAT fees (no full MCAT fee waiver exists)
- Fee waiver for one AMCAS application submission for up to 20 schools
- Access to free official MCAT materials
- Potential stipend for testing related to accommodations
- Subscription to the Medical School Admission Requirements database
AAMC Fee Assistance Eligibility
Only specific people are eligible for the program. AAMC Fee Assistance Program eligibility requires that you be one of the following:
- US Citizen
- US national
- Green card holder
- Holder of refugee or asylee status in the US
- Applicant for refugee or asylee status in the US with an EAD card
- Recipient of DACA
Additional Eligibility Requirements for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program
There are a few other AAMC fee assistance eligibility requirements. In addition to your citizenship status, the AAMC will look at your financial information—including that of your parents’, even if you are otherwise financially independent. Currently, the AAMC grants assistance based on your income’s relationship to the federal poverty guidelines. Applicants with a total family income of less than or equal to 400% of the poverty level will be eligible for assistance.
How do I apply for MCAT fee assistance?
Apply for AAMC Fee Assistance on the AAMC website. Note that you can apply once a calendar year and get the waiver up to five times total. The application is all online, though you may need to scan and upload copies of paper documents to your application file.
Application Requirements for AAMC Fee Assistance
Depending on your situation, you may need to submit different types of documentation when applying for the MCAT fee assistance and other benefits associated with the Fee Assistance Program. Reading the AAMC guide can help you figure out what’s needed for your particular situation.
Among the paperwork, you may need to submit:
- Alimony documents
- Child support documents
- Consent and Certification form
- Error Explanation Letter
- Financial Aid Award Letter and Cost of Attendance Info
- Financial Gift Letter
- Foreign Income Letter
- Housing and Food Assistance Letter
- IRS Form 1040, W-2s, and/or 1099s
- Social Security documents
- Welfare statements
However, these will vary by situation. Contact the AAMC if you are unsure which apply to your case.
Fee Assistance Program Contact Info
If you have questions about the AAMC Fee Assistance Program, the easiest way to get in contact is to email them at email@example.com or to call them at 202-828-0600. If you send an email, know that they can’t open attachments; put your name and AAMC ID in the body of the email as well as your query.
If snail-mail is more your style, or you have copies of important documents to share, you can also reach out to the AAMC Fee Assistance Program contact at:
Attn: Fee Assistance Program
655 K Street N.W., Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001
What if I can’t afford MCAT test prep?
There are two pieces of great news if this is the case for you and you qualify for the Fee Assistance Program. First of all, AAMC will give you free online access to their official prep materials. Secondly, so will Magoosh!
How to Get Free Magoosh MCAT Prep
If you’ve qualified for the program, please forward a copy of the award letter AAMC sent you to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email us here if you haven’t qualified for the program but are still struggling to afford Magoosh MCAT prep; we have financial aid options available!
A Final Note
Medical school is expensive—but getting into a great school shouldn’t have to be. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program, while not an MCAT fee waiver as such, is a way to minimize your expenses while ensuring you have the materials you need to get a great score on the exam. While the process does require some planning and preparation, the money you save can be pretty substantial. There’s nothing to lose—and quite a bit to gain!
Have other MCAT questions? Check out Magoosh’s MCAT FAQ!