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Guide to college application fee waivers

There are several different types of fee waivers that come up throughout the college application process. The two main types of fee waivers that you may encounter during your college application process are:

  • Exam Fee Waivers* — These allow you to have the fee associated with registering to take an ACT or SAT waived.
  • Application Fee Waivers* —These refer to the waivers that are provided by individual schools, the ACT or SAT, or other organizations to students in order for them to submit college applications without paying a fee.

*Take note that each of these forms is a request for the application fees to be waived and that colleges may deny your request to waive the fee.


ACT or SAT request for application fee waivers

After using an exam fee waiver to take the SAT or ACT, you will be eligible to request a waiver or deferral of the college admissions application fee.

  • To receive SAT or ACT fee waivers, you must have used an exam waiver to register for and complete the SAT or ACT.
  • Some schools will allow you to submit your application fee waiver request through your online student portal, but others will require you to mail your application fee waiver request.

Pro Tip: try searching “school name + freshman fee waiver” or calling the school’s office of admissions to get the most updated information.

  • Ask questions like, “What kind of fee waiver do you accept?” Or “What is the best way to send it?”
  • Remember that schools will not process your application until they receive payment or a waiver to cover the application fee.


What you need to know about ACT request for application fee waiver

  • The ACT provides this form to Request for Waiver or Deferral of College Admission Application Fees.
  • There is no limit on how many you can use, but you must get the form signed by your counselor or another high school official.
  • You can only use it after taking the ACT and using an exam fee waiver.
  • Not all schools accept the ACT admissions fee waiver, so check with the Office of Admissions to determine if your school will accept it.
  • Sending the form:
    • You will need to mail the form to the College’s Admissions Office or
    • You may be able to scan and upload the form via your online applicant portal.


What you need to know about SAT request for application fee waiver

  • You can find the form by logging on to the College Board SAT portal, and you are able to print the form from there.

Pro Tip: Use the College Board search field in the top right of the page to search for “college application fee waivers” after logging in to your account.

  • If you used an SAT exam fee waiver, then after taking the test, admission fee waivers show up in your College Board account for you to use.
  • SAT Application Fee Waivers do not need to be signed by your high school counselor.
  • SAT fee waivers are commonly accepted by most colleges or universities.
  • You can find more information on SAT College Application Fee Waivers from the College Board.
  • Sending the form:
    • You will need to mail the form to the College’s Admissions Office or
    • You may be able to scan and upload the form via your online applicant portal.


NACAC request for admission application fee waiver

The National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, also provides an application fee waiver that is available to students who have limited financial resources, including:

  • Being eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver.
  • Being enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (FRPL).
  • Having an annual family income falls within the income Eligibility Guidelines* set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • Being enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., Upward Bound or College Possible).
  • Receiving public assistance.
  • Living in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or is homeless.
  • Being a ward of the state or an orphan.
  • Another request from a high school principal, high school counselor, financial aid officer, community advisor/leader, or other officials who can attest to the student’s circumstances.

Learn more about the NACAC application fee waiver.


Completing the NACAC Form

You may complete the NACAC Request for Admission Application Fee Waiver form without needing to print it.

  • You may download and complete the PDF and use the “Fill and Sign” button prior to saving and sending the form to your school’s Office of Admissions or uploading it to your applicant portal.
  • NACAC recommends using no more than 4 NACAC Application Fee Waivers, but you may also use ACT and/or SAT application fee waivers at other schools.
  • Check out these FAQs for more information.

School-specific application fee waivers

There are a few colleges in Texas that also have their own application fee waiver form. They may require additional documentation for approval. For example, an institution might request a copy of your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript, or your original College Board (SAT) test fee waiver form. Check with your school’s Office of Admissions for more information about what you will need to submit in order to receive a fee waiver.

Refer back to your College Matrix and research which fee waivers each school will accept because some schools may not accept all three kinds, or they may have their own fee waiver application. CollegeBoard makes it easy to find out which fee waivers schools will accept.


Next Steps

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