Getting ready for college may sometimes feel like a full-time job. In addition to taking the right classes and being involved, you’ll also need to take a standardized test like the SAT. It can all seem overwhelming, especially when you consider that you have to pay to take the SAT test.
Don’t let the cost of this exam keep you from pursuing your college dreams. Some high schools offer the test to students for free. If this isn’t the case at your school, consider what it will take to obtain an SAT fee waiver. The extra effort to pursue financial assistance is worth the hassle if it means that you’ll have the option to apply for college.
Talk to Your Counselor
Begin your request for a fee waiver by meeting with your school counselor. Don’t be afraid to explain your situation and ask for help with a request for a fee waiver. Your counselor will ask questions to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. School counselors know how to apply for a fee waive and are happy to help you. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, your school counselor may have other suggestions to help you find a solution.
Meet the Eligibility Requirements
There are a number of requirements to be eligible for an SAT fee waiver. If you’re unsure about any of the eligibility questions, be sure to seek more information before applying. You’ll only need to meet one of the following criteria:
- You’re currently enrolled in the National School Lunch Program.
- You’re currently enrolled in a student assistance program like TRIO or Upward Bound.
- Your family is eligible for public assistance.
- You are homeless or live in a foster home.
- You are an orphan or a ward of the state.
- Your family income is within the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Income Eligibility Guidelines:
- 1 - $22,459
- 2 - $30,451
- 3 - $38,443
- 4 - $46,435
- 5 - $54,427
- 6 - $62,419
Submit a Request for Fee Waiver Application
Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible for a fee waiver, you’ll need to submit a fee waiver application. Your school counselor will provide this to you. After the fee waiver is approved, you’ll receive a 12 digit code to enter into the online registration system, along with the name of your counselor.
Send SAT Scores for Free
Applying for a fee waiver will continue to pay off long after you take the actual test. Once you qualify for an SAT fee waiver, you’ll have unlimited access to all of your score reports. You can even have them send SAT scores for free to colleges and universities.
Other Benefits of a Fee Waiver
An SAT fee waiver will give you the option to register for the SAT twice. You’ll also be able to take three Subject Tests each time you sit for the SAT exam. If you qualify for the waiver, you can order the Student Answer Service or the Question-and-Answer Service at the time of registration. This will help you learn more about the nature of the test. A fee waiver is also a ticket to college application fee waivers if you apply the year that you take the test.
Seek the Help of a Private Sponsor
If you don’t meet the minimum requirements for an SAT fee waiver, don’t give up. Your school counselor may know of private donors that are eager to help students prepare for college. You can also ask a relative or neighbor to sponsor your registration for the SAT exam.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.