This article was originally written for FirstGenerationStudent.com, now a part of ImFirst.org.
Who Is Eligible for the Application Waivers?
Students can request a college application fee waiver form from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) on its website (http://www.nacacnet.org/studentinfo/feewaiver/Pages/default.aspx). Students whose family meets certain income guidelines and who are applying for college in the fall immediately following high school graduation are eligible to request the form from the NACAC. While the form determines eligibility based on family income, your high school guidance counselor can request a fee waiver based on other family circumstances.
You also may qualify for a waiver if you were exempt from paying the fees for your college entrance exams, including the SATs, the SAT Subject Tests, and the AP Exams. The College Board, which administers these tests, offers fee waivers on these exams to students from low-income families. Students must either be enrolled in or eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program to receive a fee waiver for these tests.“Your guidance counselor, or an independent counselor, must sign the form and confirm that you are qualified to apply for the waiver.”
How Do You Apply for the Waivers?
Once you fill out the NACAC application, your guidance counselor, or an independent counselor, must sign the form and confirm that you are qualified to apply for the waiver. You should then mail the form directly to the admission office of the colleges you are applying to. If you are applying for college online using the Common Application, you must let each college know you will be using the NACAC waiver in the “Payment” section before submitting the application.
You may only use the NACAC form at four schools. This fee waiver application is intended to be submitted to the schools you most want to attend. If you want to request a fee waiver for more than four schools, you must discuss this with your guidance counselor.
When a Waiver Fee Request is Denied
The application fee waiver is not a guarantee for a waived fee. It’s up to each college to determine whether to accept or decline the fee waiver forms. If the college or university does not accept the form, it will ask the student to pay the application fee.
In some cases, the denial may be issued as a result of a clerical error or an illegible or incomplete form. If you receive a denial for a fee waiver, contact the college to ask why it wasn’t accepted. Most colleges only initiate contact with a student when the fee waiver has been denied, so if you don’t hear anything from the college, your request was most likely accepted.