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How To Get Application Fee Waivers For Colleges

Application Fee Waivers For Colleges

Fees to apply to college can be outrageous these days, especially if you’re an international student and have to pay extra on top of your application fee to apply. 

The good news? Many colleges offer application fee waivers in the form of scholarships, grants, and awards; these are essentially free money, so you should definitely look into them! 

Here’s how to get application fee waivers for colleges!

Why Do Colleges Offer Application Fee Waivers?

Colleges offer fee waivers to boost their application numbers. The more applications they receive, the better their chances of landing some high-caliber students and increasing selectivity. So if you’re wondering why colleges offer application fee waivers, it’s basically because they want you to apply. Some may even ask you in your essay whether or not you have an application fee waiver. That said, there are a lot of other reasons why these fees can be waived as well. 

What Do You Need To Know About Applying With A Fee Waiver?

1) Be Realistic: Many schools that waive application fees will do so for those who fall below a certain income level (for example, low-income families). If you’re close to qualifying for a fee waiver but don’t quite make it, don’t get discouraged just reapply next year. 

2) Know What You Need Before You Apply: Most colleges require an essay explaining why you need an application fee waiver and what your financial situation is like. 

3) Don’t Forget To Ask: If you’re applying to a college that waives fees for students with financial hardship, it’s important to ask if they offer a fee waiver before you fill out any applications or pay any fees.

How Can I Apply for College Application Fee Waivers?

Each college or university you apply to will likely have its own application fee. This is on top of any standardized test fees, which can cost hundreds of dollars as well. 

If your family income is low enough and you’re a United States citizen, it’s possible to be waived from some or all of these application fees. 

In general, universities offer three types of waivers: need-based, merit-based, and athletic scholarships. 

Need-Based – The first step in applying for college fee waivers is figuring out if you qualify for one based on your financial situation. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines whether or not you qualify for need-based fee waivers by looking at your family’s income level compared to the cost of attending each school. 

Merit-Based – Merit-based fee waivers are determined by other factors than just your financial situation. 

Athletic Scholarships – Athletic scholarships are available to students who participate in intercollegiate athletics at their university, but not all schools offer them. 

What Happens After I Apply for College Fee Waivers?

When you’ve completed and submitted a college application fee waiver, you will be notified whether or not you have been granted one, either partially or entirely, usually within two weeks of submission. 

It’s important to note that some colleges and universities don’t allow students to apply for more than one type of waiver. So if you’re applying for a need-based fee waiver from your state, it might disqualify you from applying for an athletic scholarship at that school as well. 

Make sure to read through each school’s website thoroughly so that you know exactly what is required of you before submitting any applications or forms. Also, keep in mind that most colleges will waive only their own application fees so be sure to submit all other applications as normal even if they require fees! 

A Simple Way to Apply for College Application Fee Waivers: 

There are many steps involved in applying for college fee waivers, but there’s one way that makes it much easier than others: College Raptor’s Scholarship Search tool, it is 100% free and takes just a couple of minutes to finish. 

College Raptor helps students find need-based and merit-based scholarship opportunities by searching for over 1 million scholarships and grants worth $3 billion. 

If you have a smartphone, you can even use it to scan barcodes at college fairs and get instant information about each school’s fee waiver policies, as well as any other discounts they offer! 

With College Raptor’s Scholarship Search tool, it can help you save money on your application fees.

What If My Dream School Doesn’t Offer An Application Fee Waiver?

If your dream school doesn’t offer a fee waiver, find out if they have any local or regional programs. Sometimes, schools partner with other institutions in their area to offer application fee waivers to qualified students. 

If they don’t do that, check with local high schools; sometimes local teachers sponsor an application fee waiver program that is available only to students at participating public schools. 

Keep digging and you might discover an opportunity no one else knows about! 

This isn’t just about getting free money it’s also about showing school admissions officers how resourceful you are. And that’s what will make them want to admit you! After all, it takes guts (and smarts) to get a college application fee waiver from somewhere unexpected!

Where Can I Find A List Of Schools That Offer Application Fee Waivers?

A majority of colleges do not have a published list of schools that offer application fee waivers. However, you can use the information found on school websites and college scholarship award websites to make your search easier. 

In most cases, you can expect to find that schools with higher tuition rates will offer more merit-based financial aid opportunities than schools with lower tuition rates. 

If you want to save money on your education, research the best state and private universities in your area before deciding which college to attend. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify schools that provide student aid based on students’ income level or family financial standing.  

While it may seem like a long shot, applying for an application fee waiver is definitely worth your time. The last thing you want is to miss out on a scholarship because of an overlooked application fee!


I hope my post on how to get application fee waivers for colleges has been helpful. Please ask me in the comments section below if you have any other questions. Also, remember that while a fee waiver is an excellent resource and can save you a considerable amount of money, it’s not always possible to get one. 

Additionally, some colleges allow you to submit a request for a waiver after you submit your application; so don’t give up hope if your college says no right away. 

Good luck!

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