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What Fee Waivers are Available in the College Process?

November 27, 2018

From registering for standardized tests to completing the CSS Profile, the college application process involves several different fees. This can add up over time, especially if you’re applying to a lot of schools. The following article breaks down each part of the college application process, explaining which fee waivers are available.  

Standardized Tests

Eligible students can get a fee waiver for the SAT, which covers two free SATs (with or without the essay), six free SAT Subject Tests, and unlimited score reports to send to colleges. You will also be automatically eligible for college application fee waivers, which you can use at up to four participating colleges and for free CSS Profile applications. For more information, check out The College Board’s web page on SAT fee waivers, which explains how to get a fee waiver, what the fee waiver covers and what it doesn’t, and who is eligible to receive one.   

The ACT also offers fee waivers to eligible students, which cover the registration fee for the ACT (with or without writing), up to six score reports at the time of registration, and up to 20 additional score reports after registration. Students can use a maximum of two separate ACT fee waivers. In addition, students who qualify for an ACT fee waiver are encouraged to send the Request for Waiver or Deferral of College Admission Application Fee Form to the schools to which they’re applying. According to the ACT, there is no limit on how many of these requests you can make, although colleges ultimately have the final say in approving your request. “There is no limit to how many times a student can use this form when applying to schools… Colleges and universities may consider the request but are not obligated to waive or defer their admission fees for any particular applicants.” You can find details on eligibility requirements, as well as the full list of benefits for students who receive the ACT fee waiver on the web page Fee Waiver Eligibility Requirements 2018-2019.


If you received an SAT or ACT fee waiver, you are automatically eligible for college application fee waivers. The process for requesting fee waivers, however, is different depending on which application you’re filling out (if you’re confused by the process, PrepScholar offers a detailed explanation of college application fee waivers on their website). If you’re using the Common Application, for example, all you have to do is indicate on your profile page that you’ll be using a fee waiver and select at least one indicator of economic need from the list provided. Your counselor will be notified and asked to approve your request, and you may have to provide him or her with supporting documents if necessary.

If you’re applying to a school that does not participate in the Common Application, you will need a college application fee waiver form. If you received an SAT fee waiver, you can receive up to four college application fee waivers, which you can access through your CollegeBoard account to use at participating colleges. The process for using these fee waivers usually involves entering a personalized code or uploading a scanned copy of your waiver when you fill out the college’s online application.

If you didn’t take the SAT (or are applying to more than four schools), there are other college application fee waiver forms available. For example, if you received an ACT fee waiver, you are eligible to use their Request for Waiver or Deferral of College Admission Application Fee Form. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) also offers a Request for Application Fee Waiver Form to students with limited financial resources.

Finally, you can also contact prospective colleges and ask for a fee waiver directly. Depending on the college, they might have different requirements, so you should ask their admissions offices for specific details.

CSS Profile Application

Another part of the college application process is filling out the CSS Profile, which costs $25 for the initial CSS Profile and one college or program report and $16 for each additional report. Eligible students can receive a CSS Profile fee waiver, which covers all application and reporting fees. If you received an SAT fee waiver, you are automatically eligible for the CSS Profile fee waiver. Keep in mind that even if you don’t receive an SAT fee waiver, you may still qualify for the CSS Profile fee waiver by meeting other eligibility requirements.