How to Get Your Standardized Test Fees Waived

If you are looking to take standardized tests but are inhibited by the fees involved, then you might look into how your test fees can be waived. Here are some options for taking the SAT, ACT, or GRE.

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Do You Qualify for Standardized Test Fee Waivers?

Standardized tests like the SAT, ACT and GRE aren't free. For some students, the fees aren't too large a burden. But for others, the fee can be a barrier to taking the test. Fortunately, it's possible to apply for a fee waiver for each of these tests. In this article, we'll help you determine whether you qualify.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to pay to take the standardized tests that are required for admission to most colleges, universities and graduate schools. Unfortunately, though, the reality is that these tests cost money to administer, and we must pay to take them.

Typically, these tests cost about $50 each time you take them, and that may be a prohibitive expense for some. If so, you may qualify for a fee waiver, which will allow you to take the test for free. Don't let a tight budget prevent you from taking steps toward your dreams.

SAT

Qualifications

The College Board, which administers the SAT, also issues the standards by which students can qualify for an SAT fee waiver. In order to receive a waiver, you must be in the 11th or 12th grade in the U.S. or its territories. U.S. citizens living abroad may also be eligible. Additionally, you must meet criteria that includes living in a foster home or public housing, enrollment in a free or reduced lunch program, family receipt of public assistance or having a total household income that meets the USDA qualifications for the federal free lunch program.

What is Covered

If you qualify and receive a waiver, you will be eligible to use that voucher to register for two test dates, meaning that you can take the SAT itself, or up to three SAT subject tests. After you receive your scores, your voucher will entitle you to receive up to four score reports.

How to Get the Waiver

Waivers are issued by school counselors and what the College Board describes as 'authorized agencies'. The College Board does not provide a list of authorized agencies, so your best bet will be to go through your school. If your private school does not offer waivers, or if you are home schooled, a local public high school may be a good resource. SAT fee waivers are not issued by the College Board.

ACT

The ACT's guidelines are very similar to the SAT's, with the same citizenship and economic requirements in place. Additionally, you can only get the ACT fee waiver from your school, typically a counselor's office. Details specific to the ACT include the fact that you may qualify for up to two separate fee waivers. These two waivers may be used on two separate occasions to take the test.

GRE

Qualifications

GRE fee waivers and reductions are available to college seniors and graduates who are not currently enrolled in classes. Seniors are required to be receiving financial aid at a college in the U.S. or its territories. If you are registered as a dependent, your Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) must show that your parents have not contributed more than $1,500 to your education for the school year; if you are registered as self-supporting, your ISIR must not show that you have contributed more than $1,900 to your education for your senior year. If you are a graduate, you need to have applied for financial aid during your time as a student.

What is Covered

Depending on whether you get a reduction, you may be required to pay 50% of the test fee. You may only use the voucher for a single GRE General Test or a single GRE Subject Test.

How to Get the Waiver

Your school's financial aid office should be able to give you information about applying for GRE fee waivers and reductions. They may also help you determine whether you're eligible. Additionally, some nonprofit organizations, like the Gates Foundation's Millennium Scholars Program, may be a source for these waivers.

Another option for affording tests like the GRE is to get an on-campus job for a little extra cash.

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