Getting a college education is expensive and that starts right at the application stage. If you are looking at ways to lower your overall cost of college education (and you should be), start today by exploring ways to minimize your college app fees.
Narrow Down Your College Choices
It’s tempting to want to apply to as many schools as possible to increase the odds in your favor, but sending applications costs money. The average application fee is around $38 but that can go as high as $90. Depending on how many colleges you apply to, you could potentially add as much as $500 to your total college app fees. This could be more if you are applying to several top tier schools.
Narrowing down your shortlist of colleges to apply to will cut down the total cost of your college application fees. Go over your shortlist several times. Be objective and ruthless about which schools should stay on the list and which should go. Does your list feature a couple of safety colleges that do not really align with your personal values and academic goals? If the thought of attending those schools does not excite you, take them off your list.
Applying only to a select few schools is the single best way to minimize your college application fees.
Get a College Application Fee Waiver
If you cannot afford the application fees, you can request a fee waiver. Many colleges will approve your application fee waiver request if it is accompanied by your school counselor’s signature. Start by speaking to your high school counselor about app fee waivers.
It doesn’t hurt to also call colleges’ financial office and ask if they have any provision for waiving application fees. If they do, ask about the requirements and the procedure. The worst that can happen is they will say they don’t offer waivers. But if they do, it will save you a few dollars.
Get an ACT/SAT Fee waiver
Completing the ACT/SAT is an integral part of your college application process. That will set you back $50 right there. Taking the SAT Subject Test can cost you an additional $35 to $45 per test. If these fees are unaffordable, your counselor may be able to help you get a fee waiver.
Choose Which Colleges to Send Your Free ACT/SAT Scores To
When you register for the ACT/SAT, you can choose several colleges to send your scores to at no charge. For any additional college that you want to send your score to, they’ll charge. This can add up considerably if you are applying to multiple schools. Be smart when choosing the schools to send your free scores.
Take some time to research each school’s preferred application process. Most colleges today waive the application fee if you apply online. This is because online applications save the college the trouble and cost of hiring additional staff to physically enter the application information into their database. They pass on the savings to you in the form of an application fee waiver.
Lowering the Cost of College Education
Every little bit helps when it comes to lowering the overall cost of college as well as your potential for student loan debt. Fee waivers are one such way to do just that.