Become Budget Savvy for the College Application Process

Become Budget Savvy for the College Application Process

It is normal for families to focus on the cost associated with attending college. However, way before the acceptance letters arrive, there are numerous college-related expenses to take note of. 

It is wise to educate yourself now so that there are no expensive surprises down the road. Costs can add up fast between ordering test reports, taking exams and sending in college applications. Here is a breakdown to help you be as financially prepared and organized as possible. 

What Is the Cost Of College Application Fees? 

The amount you will pay will depend partly on which schools you apply to. The test requirements and application fees can vary greatly from each school. There is a list of schools that no longer require ACT or SAT scores as one of their admissions requirements. Check specifically with your chosen schools to see what their admissions requirements are. This will help you determine if a standardized test is necessary. 

What Is the Cost of the General Application Fee?

On average, the application fee ranges from $43 to $75. There are over 960 ranked colleges that deliver their data in an annual survey to World Report and the US News. Read the fine print to determine how much each of the schools you are interested in wants for their application fee. 

How Much Is the ACT Exam?

The rate for the ACT starts at $55. If you decide to take the ACT exam that includes the writing portion, it will cost $70. For free, you will be allowed to send up to 4 reports to schools. If you want to send the report to additional schools, be prepared to pay $13 for each extra report. 

How Much Is the SAT Exam?

Sitting the SAT exam will cost you $68 if you take the test that includes the essay portion and $52 if you don't include the essay portion. There is a $26 registration fee for a subject test date. There is another $21 to $26 for each test you register for. You are eligible for taking up to 3 tests per date.

The non-profit responsible for administering the test is the College Board. They will send 4 reports to schools for free if you make this request within 9 days of taking the test. If you want additional reports, there will be a $12 fee per score report after the fourth report and for any extra reports you require after the nine days expires. 

What Is the Cost of the CSS Profile? 

The CSS Profile starts at $25. Certain schools require applicants to finish the CSS Profile from the College Board to be eligible for grants and non-federal student aid offered by the school. The first time you send your Profile to a scholarship program or a school, the fee will be $25 and then any extra submissions cost $16 each. 

Save Money By Applying for Waivers 

You may be eligible to apply for application fee and testing fee waivers if you live in subsidized public housing, if you are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, if you meet the requirements for low-income, or if you receive public assistance. 

These waivers can significantly help you cover the cost of submitting college applications and taking the ACT and SAT tests. For example, the SAT exam fee waiver allows you to send your test scores for free to as many colleges as you desire. Speak with the financial aid office at your target school or your high school counselor to find the proper waiver application information. 

You may automatically be eligible for college application fee waivers if you received an SAT exam fee waiver. Over 2000 colleges participate in this fee waiver program including schools that utilize the Universal, Common and Coalition applications. 

Even if you do not receive an SAT exam fee waiver, there may be other college application fee waivers available. You can request a fee waiver online for Common Application schools inside of your profile. You can speak with the college admission office or your high school counselor to find out how to request a waiver when applying to other schools. 

Use a Strategy to Send Your Score Reports 

If you prepare in advance for the college application process, you may be able to save extra money. You can avoid paying any late registration fees for tests this way. Essential planning can help you maximize your 4 free reports that come with the SAT or ACT test in the best way possible. 

For instance, instead of using many free reports for the state college school system, you may only need to send one report to the school, and it can be sent to the others within the system for free. 

To obtain more information about this option, contact the public state college you would like to apply to and ask for detailed information. They may offer you an institutional code that applies to the entire school system. Alternatively, you may receive a code for a single school and distribute the score later.