As if college weren’t expensive enough already, most colleges charge application fees. Yes, that’s right: before you can have the privelege of attending a college (and paying tuition), you have to pay to be considered. The average application fee is about $38, but the highest is $100, so if you’re applying to several schools, those fees can add up quickly.
However, there are ways to avoid paying application fees. Some colleges will waive the fee for students who apply online or apply early. Others will offer fee waivers to students who visit campus or speak to an admissions officer at a college fair. If you have a family member who attended a college to which you’re applying, you may qualify for a fee waiver. Colleges won’t necessarily advertise these fee waivers, so you may need to inquire about them.
Additionally, if you and your family cannot afford application fees, you may be able to get fee waivers. Students who receive free or reduced price lunch, have gotten fee waivers for the ACT/SAT, or meet other criteria are eligible for application fee waivers. You can get a fee waiver from the college or can download one from the National Association for College Admission Counseling‘s website. Some colleges don’t have a fee waiver form but will instead ask for a letter from your high school counselor that supports your inability to pay the application fee.
As expensive as college is these days, you might as well save on application fees if you can. If a college doesn’t offer a fee waiver, ask for one! The worst that can happen is that the college will say no.