ACT Special Circumstances: Do You Qualify?

There are always special circumstances.

Flickr user John

The test itself may be standardized, but people rarely are. There will always be special circumstances, and so the ACT has addressed some of them and made other options available to qualifying students. The rules are still pretty strict, but there are exceptions.

Fee Waivers

The ACT isn’t free, and if you add the writing portion or retake it, those fees can stack up. However, the ACT recognizes budgets can be tight, and allow fee waivers to students who meet all of the following requirements:

  • Currently a junior or senior
  • A US citizen or testing in the US, US territory, or Puerto Rico
  • Meet one or more economic need categories as listed on the ACT fee waiver form

The fee waiver covers the registration fee and sending your score to 4 colleges, but doesn’t include late registration fees, test date/center changes, or additional score reports. To apply for a fee waiver, talk to your high school counselor.

Unable to Travel to Testing Center

If you’re confined to your house or a hospital or a correctional facility, you can still take the ACT. Known as “homebound” or “confined”, the ACT will accommodate students who meet the criteria by having an arranged testing option. Materials will be shipped to them, and an approved teacher or counselor will serve as the coordinator.

No Testing Nearby

If there’s no testing center within 75 miles of your home (on ANY test date), the ACT can approve an arranged testing option for you. Like the above circumstance, the materials will be mailed and you’ll need an approved test coordinator to administer the test.

Religious Consideration

The ACT is by and large only given on Saturdays. For faiths that prohibit testing or work on Saturdays, there are non-weekend options available. But if there aren’t any available testing centers within 75 miles of your home on a non-Saturday, an arranged testing option might be granted.

If you think you qualify for any of these special circumstances, talk with your high school counselor. Also, be sure to read up on the official rules on the ACT website itself if you have any other questions.

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