Skip To Main Content

College Application Fee Waivers

Guide to Fee Waivers

College application fees can really add up, but there’s good news for students. Every income-eligible student who takes the SAT with a fee waiver or as part of a district or state program while in high school, can choose from over 2,000 participating colleges and apply for free. These waivers will be delivered online to eligible students.

This is a general guide to how fee waivers work. Different schools have different policies, so if you’re not sure how a specific school uses fee waivers, check with an admissions representative or your counseling staff and college adviser to make sure you won’t pay any fees!

You’ll generally be eligible for a fee waiver* if you fulfill one of the following guidelines:

  • You’re enrolled in or eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program.
  • Your family income meets the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • You’re enrolled in a program that aids students from low-income families, like Upward Bound.
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless.
  • You’re a ward of the state or an orphan.
  • You can provide a supporting statement from an official of your financial eligibility.

There are several types of fee waivers.  Below is information about many of them.  When in doubt, contact the school to which you are applying and ask.

* Every college or university will not necessarily accept a fee waiver.  If you’re unsure, check out a university’s website, contact admissions, or ask a counselor to help you determine if you’ll be able to use a fee waiver.


How it works

Common Application

When filling out an application on the Common App, you’ll be asked if you fit one of the above criteria (free/reduced lunch will cover it). You’ll sign electronically, and the counselor you put on your app will confirm this. If you received any other form of waiver to apply to this school, you should indicate it here.

College Board

If you registered for the SAT with a fee waiver, you will automatically receive 4 fee waivers once you receive your SAT score from the test you registered for.


Mark down on an application that you will be paying with a check. You will then need to inform your counselor that you need a waiver sent to that school. You can use up to 4 NACAC waivers.


You will have to use a specific code either in the Common App or on the school’s online website to waive your fee for the month of October.


Some schools have a specific website that you can use in order to have your fee waived. You will need to send your application through this specific URL.

College Rep

You your counselor will have to contact a college representative to either get your fee waived or see if you qualify for a waiver.

No Fee

Some schools already have a free application. There is no need to pay any application fee.