While college applications are a chance for students to showcase themselves and their achievements, they also come with a hefty price-tag. To apply to a California State University (CSU) or a University of California Public School (UC), it costs $70 per application. Through the Common App, private school application costs can vary from $45 to $90. Luckily, there are fee waivers available for students who qualify for them.
Note that not everyone will be eligible for a school fee waiver - you must meet the requirements. International applicants may be eligible for the waiver, but must indicate so on their application.
The CSU and UC fee waivers both cover up to 4 schools, while the Common Application fee waiver depends on the school. If a school deems that you are not eligible for the waiver, they may charge you after the application process.
If any of the following is true for you, then you most likely qualify for a waiver:
If you’ve indicated on your application that one of the scenarios listed applies to you, the waiver is automatically set. You don’t need to contact anyone or send in a code to waive your fees. However, if you aren’t able to indicate these scenarios on your application, you can do the following:
If you’re using the CSU or UC Application:
While entering your family size and income in the “About You” personal information section, you’ll receive a notice that you’ve qualified for an application fee waiver when you select the campuses you’d like to apply to.
If you’re using the Common Application:
In the Common Application, they will give you a list of reasons as to how you would qualify for a waiver and then they will ask if any of these apply to you. If you select yes, then you’ll be asked to pick an indicator of financial assistance. Afterwards, you’ll need to electronically sign this form and your school counselor will need to confirm your eligibility.
International applicants will also follow these same steps, but it’s ultimately up to the school to decide whether they’ll accept your request for a fee waiver or not. You can send in appropriate evidence if contacted.
If you’re using the Coalition Application:
In the Coalition Application, you’ll need to answer yes to one of the Fee Waiver questions listed in the “Profile” section of your MyCoalition account. After you check those boxes, you’ll be shown a list of Coalition Application schools that will waive their application fees based on your selected answers. Your school counselor will receive your request for a fee waiver, and once approved, you’ll be able to bypass the payment screen.
If you do not meet any of the requirements but are in need of a waiver, try directly emailing admission offices for schools or looking for Fee Waiver scholarships. You can also talk to your school counselor to learn about more ways to reduce or completely waive application fees. If you have any additional questions regarding fee waivers and my experience with them, please schedule a College and Career Coaching Call with me!
Nina is a Consultant on the Study Hall College Consulting Team. Nina is currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley where she is double majoring in Economics and Nutritional Sciences - Toxicology, and minoring in Chemistry. For more college application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at shcollegeconsulting.com.