How To Get a Fee Waiver for the SAT

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Life is expensive. You’re probably starting to feel it as you begin the process of applying for college. Most colleges have application fees. Then you have the testing fees. If you take the SAT, the expenses can really add up.

It starts with the general SAT cost. But you may need to add the essay portion—for a fee. Or you might need SAT Subject Tests—for an additional fee. Maybe you registered late—there’s a fee for that. You need extra score reports—another fee is also included.

It kind of starts to feel like the anti-Oprah after a while—You get a fee! You get a fee! And you get a fee!

Here’s a quick break down of the most common SAT fees:

  • SAT—$47.50
  • SAT with Essay—$64.50
  • SAT Subject Test Registration—$26
  • Individual SAT Subject Tests—$22
  • Language Tests with Listening—$26
  • Late Registration Fee—$30
  • Change Fee—$30
  • Waitlist Fee—$53
  • Additional Score Reports (first four are free with registration)—$12
  • Rush Order—$31

It can be pretty overwhelming, especially with the cost of prep courses and books. But fortunately the College Board understands that for some students these fees are a big obstacle. To make sure that the SAT is available to anyone who wants to take it, no matter what their financial situation, fee waivers are available. If you think you might be a candidate, keep reading and I’ll explain how to get a fee waiver for the SAT.

How To Get a Fee Waiver for the SAT

To get a fee waiver for the SAT, you need to talk to your high school counselor. Your high school counselor is issued fee waiver cards that he, or she, can give out to students who qualify. The counselor may need to ask for your family’s financial information to verify your eligibility.

If you are homeschooled, you must also visit a school counselor. The best way to do this is to call and make an appointment with the counselor at your local high school. You will need to bring proof of eligibility to this meeting. This might be tax information, records of receiving public assistance, or records of your acceptance into another financial assistance program.

Who is Eligible to Get a Fee Waiver for the SAT?

In order to qualify for an SAT fee waiver you must be a high school student living in the United States or its territories. If you are a U.S. citizen living outside of the country, you may also be eligible. You are only eligible as an 11th or 12th grade student, and you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have registered for the federal National School Lunch Program
  • Your family meets the annual income guidelines from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in the chart below:

GUIDELINES FOR 2018-19

Number of Household MemberAnnual Income
1$22,459
2$30,451
3$38,443
4$46,435
5$54,427
6$62,419
  • You belong to a program set up to help students from low-income families like Upward Bound or Federal TRIO
  • Your family is enrolled in a public assistance program
  • Your family lives in subsidized housing or you are homeless
  • You are in foster care, a ward of the state, or an orphan

How to Register With a Fee Waiver

There are two ways to register for the SAT using your fee waiver:

  1. Register Online

To register online for the SAT with a fee waiver, you first need to create an account. Go to the College Board registration page and select “Sign Up.” Then follow the prompts to register.

Have your fee waiver card with you. You will be asked to enter the following:

  • The fee waiver code—this is the 12-digit number found on the waiver card
  • Your high school counselor’s name—this should also be found on the fee waiver card
  • Which criteria you meet in order to be eligible

     2. Register by Mail

If you choose to register by mail, you will need to talk to your counselor. He, or she, will have copies of the Student Registration Booklet for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests. Inside is the registration form and an envelope. Complete the required information on the registration form. Send this and your fee waiver card inside the return envelope.

You must make sure that all information on the fee waiver card and the registration form is complete and accurate. If any information is missing, it will be returned to you.

If you need help with any part of your registration, talk to your school counselor. Helping students prepare for their futures is an important part of their job. They will be able to help you with any questions you might have or even assist with the registration process. Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need.

What SAT Fee Waivers Cover

Fee waivers for the SAT cover the most common and necessary costs associated with the SAT. Your fee waiver may be used for the following:

  1. Two SAT Registrations: This covers registration for the General SAT, the SAT with Essay, and up to two SAT Subject Test registrations. You may select up to three Subject Tests in a single testing day with each registration.
  2. Two Student Answer Service Reports or Two Question-and-Answer Service Reports: These must be ordered when you register in order for you to be eligible for the fee waiver.
  3. Free Score Reports: With a fee waiver for the SAT, you are eligible for an unlimited number of free score reports. You can order these anytime after you have registered for your test.
  4. Fee Waivers for College Applications: When you register for the SAT with a fee waiver, you will also receive College Application Fee Waivers. Not every college accepts these. To check and see if your college is one that does, check the list on the College Board site. If your school is listed, you will need to turn in the College Application Fee Waivers along with your application.
  5. CSS Profile Fee Waivers: The CSS is an application that many schools require students to complete to determine if they are eligible for non-federal financial aid. Applications normally cost $25. The College Board administers this application, so with your registration, you will have the the option to submit your application through the link from the College Board site.
  6. Non-U.S. Regional Fee: If you are a U.S. citizen living out of the country, your fee waivers will also cover this fee.
  7. Late Registration Fee: Late fees are also covered with fee waivers as long as you are testing in the United States or the U.S. territories.

What Fee Waivers Don’t Cover

There are some fees that fee waivers for the SAT do not cover. These are fees for services that are considered optional. In other words, they are extras that are not a necessary component in helping you get into college. The following services are not part of your fee waiver:

  1. Registration Changes: If you want to change your test date or your test center, you will have to pay for those changes yourself. The fee for these changes is $29. So make sure you register carefully. Choose the best test center and the date with the least amount of conflicts with your personal or school life.
  2. Rush Scores: If you need to have your score reports sent in a hurry, that will also be paid for out-of-pocket at the tune of $31. So plan ahead and give your free score reports plenty of time to arrive before college application deadlines.
  3. Scores by Phone: If for some reason you need to order by phone, you will have to pay this $15 fee. Remember that there are places where you can access the internet for free, like your local library. So if you want to avoid this fee, get creative about getting online.

How Long Fee Waivers for the SAT Are Valid

Fee waivers for the SAT do not have an expiration date. You may use them throughout your junior and senior year. However, after you have met the limits of your benefits—two free SATs with or without the essay and/or six free SAT Subject Tests—they will no longer be valid for registration. You may continue to access your free score reports and other benefits.

Where There’s a Will…

As the expression goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If you want something bad enough, there is always a way to make it happen. If you want to go to college and it seems beyond your reach, don’t give up. There is help available. Fee waivers for the SAT are only one of the many resources available to help you reach your goals. Take advantage of fee waivers if you qualify. And talk to a school counselor. They are there to help.