Common Application Fee Waiver

Common Application Fee Waiver is developed for the applicants who face a lot of difficulties in paying the application fees of colleges and those whose financial conditions become a barrier in their way to apply for colleges. Common App is an NPO that represents a huge number of educational institutions, colleges, and universities.

Updated by Anchal S on 14th October 2020

The application fee is a regular part of the college application process for many years. Even before you plan ways to save money for your tuition fees, you are forced to think about paying a standard registration cost. Common App Fee Waiver is developed for the applicants who face a lot of difficulties in paying the application fees of colleges and those whose financial conditions become a barrier in their way to apply for colleges.

Earlier applicants were expected to pay the application fee in the form of a cheque. Since everything is digitized in the present scenario, even college application procedures are now available online. The only difference is now the payment method is also digitized. 

Although the application fee varies for different colleges and universities, for some individuals it may turn into a hardship. Not everyone can afford to pay an unaffordable amount of fees just to submit their application to their dream college/university. Despite having the skills and knowledge for admission. 

In this article, you will learn about the Common App Fee Waiver and the eligibility criteria for qualifying for the same. Along with the procedure that you need to follow to receive aid from the Common App Fee Waiver. 

What Is Common App Fee Waiver?

As I touched on the above, the college application process can get frustrating. With having all the test scores, visiting colleges, filling out CSS profiles, along with researching the financial aid policies and options to incur your tuition cost. You do not want to add the stress of unaffordable application fees to the list. Besides, this is beyond your control. You do not want your financial situation to become a hurdle in even applying for colleges that you are longing to be a part of. 

Similarly, the colleges would not want to restrict potential applicants from even applying due to their financial conditions. And to solve this problem, many financial aid programs have come into existence. If you receive a fee waiver from any of these programs, then you will not be charged application fees from the colleges that you will be applying to.

We cannot deny that applying to college on a tight budget is difficult. As a result of which, most schools and other institutions understand these costs can be a hurdle. Therefore their awareness of this problem has led to the development of programs like the Common App Fee Waiver program.

It is observed that many aspirants are using common app waiver to apply for colleges. This means if you receive a fee waiver from a Common App Fee Waiver, then you can without any financial difficulty apply for the colleges that you have always wished for. 

Who Can Qualify For A Common App Fee Waiver?

A Common App fee waiver is proposed to the applicants whose financial conditions restrict them from applying for their dream colleges and universities. The requirements are simple, all you gotta do is show documents that act as a proof for the above.

As mentioned on the website of A Common App, you will be eligible to request for a fee waiver in one of the following conditions,

  • You have received or are eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver.

  • our annual family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

  • You are enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) program.

  • You can provide a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader.

  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan.

  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless. 

  • Your family receives public assistance.

  • You are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).

Hence, if you fall under one or more of the above categories, you are then eligible to receive a fee waiver from the common app. 

What if you do not fall under any of the above categories? yet require financial aid. It can be for many situations such as a sudden medical cost incurred in the family, loss of a job, etc. Well, you need not worry, you still can request a fee waiver. As previously mentioned, you must have the documents to support your condition. It is also advisable to keep your education counselor informed about your financial circumstances to seek their guidance in the process. 

How To Get Fee Waiver On The Common App?

Assuming your financial circumstances justifies the eligibility criteria and the common app fee waiver is waiving your fee, in that case, you will have to make a formal request while filling out the Common App. 

Step By Step Procedure To Request Fee Waiver On Common App Fee Waiver

Step 1

The moment you log in to your Common App account, it will direct you to the dashboard. To approach and request a fee waiver, click on the “Profile” in the column to your left. Now, the profile page will ask for your basic information. Take time and fill in all the required details. The last section on the profile page is “Common App Fee Waiver”, upon clicking that, you will see a form with the questions.

Step 2

At the beginning of the form, it will ask you if you’re willing to request/apply for a fee waiver from the common App Fee Waiver. You shall click “Yes” to that question.

Step 3

Moving forward, you will be asked to select the reasons why you consider yourself eligible for the fee waiver from the conditions we mentioned earlier. Check-off all the conditions that apply to you. After this, you might require your counselor to help you with providing supporting documents.

Step 4

And now, in the final step, the Common App will ask you if you would like to receive information from Strive For College, a nonprofit organization that offers to advise and, mentoring to high school juniors and seniors. Whether to click “yes” or “no” for this option is your choice, and it will not affect your application either way. 

Upon completion of the above step, your part in the request process is over. In some cases, the counselor might be asked to provide some additional documents to support your financial circumstances and gain your financial assistance.

To summarize, The common App Fee Waiver ideally works on the honor system, and any request is rarely rejected. As long as you and your counselor have proof supporting your need for financial aid, you shall not have any problem.

Note that the Common App Fee Waiver only provides financial assistance with registration and college applications. It cannot be accessed for covering tuition costs or any other additional cost. Also, not forget the Common App Fee Waiver can be requested only for colleges that are under the Common App System. 

If you wish to apply for colleges that are not available in the Common App, even, in that case, you can apply for a fee waiver. You just have to check the official website of the college and their options to assist with a fee waiver. 

A word of encouragement, never let your circumstances demoralize you even for a moment. There are plenty of opportunities that are available to you. Sometimes we just do not know about them. So, never be the victim of your conditions, especially the financial situation. Stay up to date, gain knowledge, and make the most of the opportunities that are in front of you.

Good luck!