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Articles / Applying to College / Fee Waiver for International Student?

Sept. 25, 2012

Fee Waiver for International Student?

Question: How do you ask for a fee waiver as an international student?

You don't say if you're asking about a college application fee waiver or a testing fee waiver. "The Dean" is guessing it's the former, but “The Dean" likes to be thorough (at least when it doesn't require excessive effort ;) ), so I'll cover all the bases just to be sure.


If you would like a U.S. college or university to waive your application fee, your first step is to determine if this institution will grant fee waivers to non-citizens. Some do; some do not.

If you can't find this question answered on the college's admission Web site (look in the section that is specifically directed to international applicants), then write to the staff member who oversees applications for your country. You can probably find the name and contact information for this person on the Web site; if not email or telephone the admission office to ask for the name and email address. Not only will you get your question answered when you write the admissions rep who covers your country, but also you will have established a “relationship," which might prove helpful later on.

If the college DOES permit fee waiver requests from international students, ask an official at your high school (your school counselor if you have one; if not, a head of school or other administrator) to complete the form that you'll find here: http://www.nacacnet.org/studentinfo/feewaiver/Documents/ApplicationFeeWaiver.pdf

You will then submit this form in lieu of payment, and the college will notify you if your waiver request is NOT accepted.

If, however, you need a fee waiver for the SAT or ACT and you are not a U.S. citizen, you can only get one if you reside and test in the United States or United States territories.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

(posted 9/25/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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