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Are there colleges with no application fees?

    As you start looking into college, you may notice that many college applications come with application fees. These fees can add up quickly, especially if you apply to multiple schools.

    The good news here is that some colleges don’t have application fees. And even if you want to apply to schools with application fees, you may be able to get them waived.

    Continue reading to see some schools that don’t have application fees for undergraduate applicants and how you may be able to get application fees waived if you need to.

    Colleges with no application fees

    There are a number of schools that don’t have application fees. Here’s just a sampling, but if you’re looking to apply to a list of schools that don’t have application fees, we suggest doing your research to come up with a complete list that meets your needs.

    Baylor University – Waco, TX

    The Waco, Texas-based school is a private Baptist institution on 1,000 acres. Per the university, its student body is particularly active in volunteerism. Students can volunteer year-round doing service projects in the local community and by going abroad.

    University of St. Thomas – St. Paul, Minnesota

    The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic university. They offer over 150 undergraduate majors and minors.

    Saint Martin's University – Lacey, Washington

    Saint Martin’s University offers bachelor’s programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, and engineering. The university is established around a liberal arts core emphasizing Benedictine values.

    Ohio Northern University – Ada, Ohio

    Ohio Northern University is a private institution where 99.6% of students receive financial support, and the average amount of financial aid awarded is $25,000, per the school. Undergraduate students at Ohio Northern can choose from more than 60 programs and can typically expect small class sizes.

    Xavier University – Cincinnati, Ohio

    Xavier University is a private Jesuit college located in Cincinnati and is among the oldest Catholic universities in the country. Students attending Xavier University, in most cases, must live on campus for the first two years of school unless they live with their parents near the school.

    St. John's University – Queens, NY

    St. John's University has multiple campuses in the New York metro area and international campuses in Europe and Ireland. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate programs.

    Getting college application fees waived

    Beyond applying to colleges with no application fees, you may get application fees waived at schools that do have application fees if you meet certain criteria set by the Common App, College Board, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

    Common App fee waiver

    Many students utilize the Common App to apply to many colleges at once. The application can be used to apply to over 1,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. You can request a Common App fee waiver if you meet one of these qualifications:

    • You’re enrolled in or are eligible to participate in the federal free or reduced-price lunch program (FRPL)
    • You’ve received or are eligible to receive an SAT or ACT fee waiver
    • Your family’s annual income provides eligibility based on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s guidelines
    • You’re enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids low-income students
    • You live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless
    • You’re a ward of the state or are an orphan
    • You’ve received or are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant
    • You can provide a statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader that you need a fee waiver

    To request a Common App fee waiver, go to your profile in the Common App portal online and then navigate to the fee waiver section. If you select that you’re eligible, and subsequently you’re found to be eligible for the Common App fee waiver, you won’t be charged any application fees when you submit college applications utilizing the Common App.

    College Board application fee waivers

    Income-eligible students who took the SAT with a fee waiver or as a part of a state or district program while in high school can receive fee waivers to apply for free to over 2,000 participating colleges.

    Eligible high school seniors will get these fee waivers when they get their SAT scores. Eligible juniors will get these fee waivers in the fall of their senior year. The waivers get delivered to eligible students online.

    National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) fee waiver

    The NACAC offers college application fee waivers for students with financial need. Qualifying students can typically apply to up to four colleges without paying an application fee through the NACAC.

    You could be eligible for the NACAC college application fee waiver if you meet the SAT or ACT testing fee waiver requirements. It’s important to note that while many colleges and universities accept NACAC college application fee waivers, not all schools do.

    Fee waivers from individual schools

    Some individual colleges offer application fee waivers. Fee waivers are typically offered to students who demonstrate financial need, although some schools will allow students to waive the application fee if they meet certain other requirements. Contact individual schools for more information about fee waivers and their criteria.

    Final thoughts

    When choosing a college, the most important thing is to find a program and campus that best suits you. Some schools don’t have application fees, and for those that do, there could be opportunities to get the application fees waived.