Diverse STEM students might be eligible for a college application fee waiver


The college application process can be expensive for minority STEM students, especially if you want to apply to multiple schools. The exact amount depends on the school, but the fees commonly hover around $60. The purpose of the application fee is to help the college or university you are applying to pay for the cost of reviewing your application and making an admissions decision. The inability to pay a college application fee should never be the reason for not submitting an application.

 Which STEM Students Qualify for Fee Waivers?

Fee waivers are generally given to minority students who demonstrate financial need. However, some schools will allow any student to avoid paying the application fee if they meet certain requirements, such as making an official on-campus visit.

For STEM minority students who request a fee waiver based on financial need, the exact requirements to qualify will depend on the waiver process the student is using. For example, some schools have their own fee waiver application process. However, students can expect a fee waiver if they receive government assistance based on their participation in programs for low-income families.

Here’s how you can qualify for an application fee waiver and other ways you can save on application costs.

You have to meet one of the following requirements:

  • You qualified for an SAT/ACT test waiver
  • You are enrolled in or are eligible for the National School Lunch Program
  • Your household income is within the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s income eligibility guidelines
  • You’re enrolled in a federal or state program that assists low-income families, such as Upward Bound
  • Your family receives public assistance or welfare benefits
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, are in foster care or are homeless
  • You are a ward of the state or have been orphaned.


If you don’t qualify for a waiver, there are still ways you can save money on application fees. While many colleges and universities charge application fees, there are several that don’t. You can save money by only applying to schools that don’t charge fees.


Spend this weekend checking these schools to see if they have your desired program and whether there are waiver for that program.

Compile your own list.

Here they are:

American University , Washington DC https://lnkd.in/edfvBK_W

Southern Illinois University https://siu.edu/

Georgia State University https://www.gsu.edu/

University of Alabama https://www.ua.edu/

Northeastern University https://lnkd.in/giYFf6jq

University Arkansas Little Rock https://ualr.edu/

Rochester University https://www.rochester.edu/

NYU, New York https://www.nyu.edu/

Boston University http://www.bu.edu/

University of Albany , New York https://www.albany.edu/

John Hopkins University https://www.jhu.edu/

Worcester Polytechnic Institute https://www.wpi.edu/

Portland State University https://www.pdx.edu/

RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY. https://www.rpi.edu/

University Massachusetts at Lowell https://www.uml.edu/

Purdue University https://www.purdue.edu/

Kent State University https://www.kent.edu/

Florida State University https://www.fsu.edu/

Yale University https://www.yale.edu/

New Mexico Highlands University https://www.nmhu.edu/

Claremont University https://www.cgu.edu/

Ball State University https://www.bsu.edu/

Michigan State University https://msu.edu/

Michigan Tech University https://www.mtu.edu/

Lehigh University https://www1.lehigh.edu/

Cornell University https://www.cornell.edu/

George Washington University https://www.gwu.edu/

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee https://uwm.edu/

Cleveland State University https://www.csuohio.edu/

New Mexico State University https://nmsu.edu/

Notre Dame University https://www.nd.edu/

Western Michigan University https://wmich.edu/

University of Maine https://umaine.edu/

University of Illinois Springfield https://www.uis.edu/

University of New Haven https://www.newhaven.edu/

UIUC University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Champaign. https://illinois.edu/

Dartmouth University https://lnkd.in/gi_arJKi

University of Texas MD Anderson https://lnkd.in/eBtSVXdm , Texas, Houston.

Baylor College of medicine,https://www.bcm.edu/ Houston, Texas

Case Western Reserve University https://case.edu/



Some schools offer incentives to encourage prospective STEM diverse students to tour the campus or interview with the admissions department. The college may waive your application fee if you meet those requirements, regardless of your income.


National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) fee waiver


NACAC allows diverse students to apply to up to four colleges without having to pay the application fee. A student will be eligible for a NACAC college application fee waiver if they meet the requirements for an SAT or ACT testing fee waiver. While most colleges and universities will accept a NACAC college application fee waiver, not all of them will.


Contact your selected school’s admissions office to see if there is a specific waiver code you can use.

Some universities which value diversity and inclusion have their own fee waiver programs for diversity students who don’t meet the criteria for waivers from other programs. With these programs, you’ll be issued a college application fee waiver code you can use to apply online. 

If you are a prized candidate with great test scores and a stellar high school GPA, ask for a fee waiver and you just might receive. This strategy will usually work best when you have numbers well above the average for accepted students.

Minority students who express interest in a school, such as by providing contact information at a college recruitment fair or considering playing a sport at the school, may also receive a special invitation to apply for free.

If school itself doesn’t offer a fee waiver, what can you do to get help from other sources?

If a school doesn’t offer a fee waiver, you should reach out to the local college access organization (like College Now). There are many college access organizations across the country that work to guide students and families through the college application and financial aid process. Here is a list of college access organizations that are members of the National College Access Network (NCAN): 

Another resource is The College Board, which offers up to four free college application waivers to students who are income-eligible to receive an SAT fee waiver. High school students in the top 10-15% of their class but bottom third in family income may be eligible to participate in the Realize Your College Potential program, sponsored by the College Board. Eligible students will receive special packets with information about choosing, applying and attending college, as well as application fee waivers.

Once you’re accepted, you can start thinking about how to pay for your education. You can begin the process of applying for scholarships at www.ioscholarships.com.


Founder IO Scholarships

María Fernanda determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.

“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”

To read the entire article visit Para Todos Magazine


Diverse STEM Students: How to Get a College Application Fee Waiver