If you are getting ready to go through the college application process, you should know that, on average, the fees charged by schools just to submit your application, is $41.00. Obviously, fees vary by institutions, and this figure is only an average.
If you are looking to find colleges without application fees, you will be looking a bit. Among pretty prestigious schools, Carleton, Colby and Reed charge no application fee; none of the military academies charge application fees; and you can conduct a Google search to find others that do not as well.
The Range of Fees
The most prestigious public and private universities have application fees that range from $75 - $90. If you apply to a minimum of 5, which is most often recommended, your costs just to apply, then, will run between $375 and $450. Below these higher fee schools, costs will range from $60 all the way down to $10. And, of course, if you can find schools with no application fee in which you have an interest, apply to them all – you have nothing to lose!
Lowering the Application Fee Costs
There are some steps you can take to get those costs down, if you learn to “work the system”
- Decide upon 5 schools that are your top choices. Most if not all will charge an application fee, but we’ll return to this shortly.
- Locate all schools within your price range and for which you meet the admissions requirements that are free colleges to apply to. Apply to as many as you wish.
- Many schools have an incentive for students to apply online rather than by mail. Check to see if any of the schools on your list waive the application fee for students who apply online. Many do, so get that online Common Application ready, or learn how to apply online on the college’s website. The number of no application fee colleges for online applications increases every year.
- Become a negotiator. Negotiation is a great skill to have, and if you have not yet had experience negotiating anything, here is your first chance. What most students don’t know is that they can get application fees lowered or waived altogether, in one of two ways:
· Go to your guidance counselor, and tell him/her that the application fees are just way out of control and that you are having a difficult time coming up with the money to apply to all of the colleges you have identified. Your counselor may have experience contacting schools and explaining financial need and getting those fees waived.
· You can contact the admissions office of your selected college on your own. Explain that you have financial circumstances that may prevent you from applying because of the fee. Chances are, they will waive it for you.
· If you think that, once your scores, transcripts, and other information go in, the school may offer you a scholarship, use that to get the fee waived. Give the admissions rep with whom you speak just a bit of basic info – your GPA and your ACT or SAT score. That individual may waive the fee on the spot, because s/he wants you to apply.
Application fees can be pretty pricey, especially if you are applying to lots of schools. Be sure you check out all of the ways to avoid or reduce those fees as you go through this process.