April Maguire 4 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, SAT Info and Tips

How to Get an SAT Fee Waiver

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What’s Covered:

 

Many colleges  require that students submit SAT scores be considered for admission. With that in mind, the College Board wants to ensure that all students have the opportunity to take this exam, regardless of income level. If your family is dealing with limited financial resources, you may be able to obtain a fee waiver that covers the full cost of registration. Keep reading to learn about the criteria students must meet to be eligible for an SAT fee waiver, along with the steps involved in applying. 

 

How Much Does the SAT Cost? 

 

Taking the SAT can be costly, especially if you have to pay some of the additional fees. In particular, students will have to pay more to take the SAT with Essay, or to sign up after the registration deadline has passed. Below are the costs associated with various parts of the testing process:

 

Item

Cost

SAT

$52

SAT with Essay

$68

Late Registration Fee

$30

Waitlist Fee

$53

 

It’s important to note that the College Board is discontinuing the optional SAT essay section after June of 2021. While this change was already in process, the College Board opted to remove the essay this year due in part to the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The College Board went on to note that students would still be able to demonstrate their writing ability through coursework and college applications essays. 

 

Do I Qualify for a Fee Waiver?

 

Recognizing that the cost of the SAT can be prohibitive for some students, the College Board offers waivers for test takers in need. Students must meet certain eligibility criteria to receive an SAT fee waiver. One of the main ways that test takers qualify for a waiver is by being part of the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program (FRPL). However, if you don’t receive free lunches, you can still qualify for a waiver, assuming you meet one of the following conditions:

 

  • Take part in a federal, state, or local program aiding students from low-income families
  • Receive public assistance
  • Live in federally subsidized housing or a foster home or are homeless
  • Are a ward of the state or an orphan

 

Additionally, students qualify for a waiver if they have an annual family income below these Income Eligibility Guidelines (USDA):

 

Number of People in Household

Total Annual Income

1

$23,606

2

$31,894

3

$40,182

4

$48,470

5

$56,758

6

$65,046

 

If you apply for and receive an SAT fee waiver, it will cover the full cost of registration with or without the essay. You can also opt to add the essay section on testing day for no additional cost, provided that the testing center has the necessary materials available. Additionally, your fee waiver allows you to make up to four requests for college application fee waivers. 

 

It’s worth noting that your fee waiver applies to one and only one registration. If you miss the test you were registered to take, you will need to obtain a second waiver. The total number of fee waivers a student can obtain is two. 

 

Not all fees are covered by your waiver. If you opt to change your testing date, you will be responsible for paying the $30 change fee. You are also prohibited from using your fee waiver to be put on the waitlist for a given testing date.

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How Do I Get a Waiver or a Voucher?

 

The good news is that the process of applying for a waiver or voucher to take the SATs is relatively simple. The College Board sends fee waivers to high school counselors, so you can start by speaking to them about your eligibility. The counselor will then give you a form to fill out. Home-schooled students will need to contact a local high school counselor to access a waiver. Be prepared to provide proof of your eligibility in the form of tax records of enrollment in one of the aid programs listed above. 

 

To use your voucher when registering online, simply enter the following information: 

 

  • 12-digit fee waiver code
  • Name of a high school counselor
  • How you qualified for the waiver

 

How Does the SAT Impact Your College Chances?

 

Although a handful of colleges are no longer requiring the SAT, most institutions still rely on standardized test scores when making admissions decisions. To that end, an SAT score can have a significant effect on your odds of acceptance. While GPA is generally regarded as a more important factor in college admissions, SAT scores can show schools that students have the aptitude to succeed. In particular, a college may look favorably on students who have low grades due to extenuating circumstances, such as a family illness, but impressive SATs.

 

Wondering how likely you are to gain entry to your dream school? At CollegeVine, we created our Admissions Chances Calculator to help students evaluate their odds. Additionally, students can use this information to identify safety, target, or reach schools and create a more competitive applicant profile. Try it out today for free and start making your higher education dreams realities.

 

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.