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Getting College Application Fees Waived

If you can't afford college application fees, you may be able to get them eliminated. All you need to do is ask for a fee "waiver."

You might have many reasons for not applying to a college. But not affording the application fee doesn't have to be one of them. Fee waivers are available to eligible students, and you can get them from a variety of sources.

How to Qualify for Application Fee Waivers

You will qualify for a college application fee waiver if any of the following statements are true:

  • You have received or are eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver.
  • You are enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (FRPL).
  • Your family's annual income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • 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).
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless.
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan.

You may also qualify based on your high school counselor's personal knowledge of your family circumstances.

How to Apply for College Application Fee Waivers

If the college offers application fee waivers (not all colleges do), instructions for how to apply should be included in the college's application or on its website. You can also access fee waiver forms through the Common Application, the Universal College Application, the Coalition Application, the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and your counselor's office. Many colleges will also accept a written request from you or your counselor.

Counselor Approval is Required

Your fee waiver application must be signed by your high school counselor or another school official. He or she may ask to see proof that you meet one or more of the qualifications. Colleges do not have to honor your request, and they might review your FAFSA or ask for other verification of your qualifications.

Qualifying through the ACT or SAT

If you qualified for an ACT or SAT test fee waiver, you will be eligible for college application fee waivers as well. The eligibility criteria are the same. The ACT provides an application fee waiver form on its website that students may send to any number of colleges; eligible students taking the SAT receive four application fee waivers.

What's Next?

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.