Universities in the US that do not require application fees?

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When planning to study in the United States, it is important to consider budgeting. As an international student, it is even more important, especially if your home country does not use the same currency as the U.S. Studying in the U.S. can be very expensive, as it is even listed as one of the most expensive countries to study in. But it also hosts some of the best universities in the world, which means that quality education is guaranteed, and of course, it is not cheap. 

Generally, application fees in the U.S. can cost between $40 and $150. Applying to about 10 universities can cost as much as $1000 to $1500, and this is a lot. It also excludes other expenses that come with studying. To save money, one of the safest routes is to apply to universities that offer application fee waivers or do not charge any application fees. 

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What you should consider universities with an application fee waiver

International students who are planning to study abroad should make an estimated budget that they will work with to reduce unnecessary spending. As stated earlier, quality education comes with a cost, and this cost is usually high. If you want to try multiple options by applying to different schools, it is important that you consider schools that offer an application fee waiver or do not charge any application fee at all. 

An application fee waiver refers to the cancellation or reduction of the application fee, and it is normally endorsed by the universities for the benefit of potential students. 

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How to get an application fee waiver in the U.S. 

There are different ways to get application fee waivers to ease the application process for universities in the US. Some of them include: 

  • Common Application Fee Waivers: Applying for a fee waiver with this method implies that you can request a fee waiver through the application itself. This option is open to students who can demonstrate their financial need and the reason why they need it. 
  • Contacting the University Directly: Some universities offer an application fee waiver to students who meet the set eligibility criteria. To know more about this, it is advisable to do research by checking out the university’s website. 
  • College Board Fee Waivers: Students who received a college board fee waiver for the SAT or ACT can also apply for college application fee waivers. You must check the College Board website to see if you are eligible. 
  • Automatic application fee waivers: Some universities in the U.S. do not charge any fee for applications at all. Aspiring students can directly apply with no fee attached. 

Universities in the US with Application Fee Waivers

Some universities in the US which offer application fee waivers for international students include 

  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • Northeastern University
  • Colorado State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University

1. Harvard University

Harvard University ranks among the top 5 according to the QS world ranking of the world’s top universities. Additionally, Harvard is also a prestigious university and happens to be the alma mater of great people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Susan Wojcicki, and many more. Harvard Business School offers an application fee waiver to students who come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds for several reasons. However, you will be asked to fill out a waiver form where you share information about your income, details about yourself, and the reasons why you need a fee waiver. 

2. Yale University

This is another prestigious university in the U.S. that ranks among the top 20 in the world according to the QS world ranking. The standard application fee for Yale University is $250. However, the School of Management uses a sliding scale method to offer application fee waivers. This implies that the application fee is based on your family’s current compensation. The School of Arts and Sciences grants application fee waivers based on:

  • Participation in a special program, event, fellowship, or status
  • Documented financial hardship

3. Northeastern University (NEU)

Northeastern University ranks 50th according to the QS world ranking of the top universities in the world. They offer an undergraduate need-based fee waiver that costs $75. The university, just like a lot of other universities, considers applications for fee waivers based on need, and if you are from a financially disadvantaged background, there is a high chance that you will be considered.

4. Colorado State University

Colorado State University also offers applications for fee waivers, but it considers other options as well, not just financial disadvantages alone. The graduate school offers fee waivers to applicants who have proof of participation in or affiliation with specific programs and partnerships. Also, applying for a fee waiver does not affect your college application process or ruin your chances. 

5. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

Carnegie Mellon University ranks equally among the 100 universities globally according to the QS world ranking. They also offer fee waivers for international students. Students who are planning to apply to the School of Computer Science will have to: 

  • Get a financial aid letter that includes a description of their financial need and necessary documents
  • Afterward, CMU will confirm your need, and you will be able to waive your application fees for two programs. 

Additionally, the software and societal systems department also offers fee waivers for their master’s program.

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List of Universities in the U.S. that do not require application fees

S/NUniversitiesLocationApplication Deadline
1Yale UniversityConnecticutJanuary 2, 2024.
2Wellesley CollegeMassachusettsJanuary 8, 2024.
3Carleton CollegeMinnesotaJanuary 15, 2024.
4Smith CollegeMassachusettsJanuary 15, 2024.
5Case Western Reserve University OhioJanuary 15, 2024.
6Grinnell CollegeIowaRolling Basis
7Tulane CollegeLouisianaApplications closed for Fall 2023
8Colby CollegeMaineJanuary 1, 2024.
9Macalester CollegeMinnesotaJanuary 1, 2024.
10Reed CollegeOregonJanuary 15, 2024.
11Kenyon CollegeOhioJanuary 15, 2024.
12Colorado CollegeColoradoJanuary 15, 2024.
13Depaul UniversityIndianaJanuary 15, 2024.
14Trinity UniversityTexasFebruary 1, 2024.
15Denison UniversityOhioJanuary 15, 2024.
16St Louis UniversityMissouriApril 1, 2024.
17Rhodes CollegeTennesseeJanuary 15, 2024.
18Union CollegeNew YorkJanuary 15, 2024.
19Illinois Wesleyan CollegeIllinoisRolling Basis.
20Drake UniversityIowaMarch 1, 2024.

Application Procedure for Universities in the U.S. with Application Fee Waivers

Below is the application process for universities without application fees in the U.S.

  • Research the universities offering your desired program and select your best choice. Ensure they do not have any application fee attached. 
  • Check out the eligibility criteria and ensure you fit in.
  • Take the required standardized tests and get all the necessary documents.
  • Consider the intakes and the application deadline.
  • Complete the application form online. 
  • Send out your application for scholarships
  • Follow up on the application process, if you get accepted, you will receive an email from the university.
  • Confirm your acceptance and make the necessary tuition deposit within the specified deadline.

Application Procedure for Universities in the U.S. without Application Fee Waivers

Below is the application process for universities without application fees in the U.S.: 

  • Research universities that offer your preferred course and pick the one most suitable to you based on your needs. 
  • Check the eligibility requirements and ensure you fit in. 
  • Take the required standardized tests. The SAT and ACT are for undergraduate admissions, while the GRE and GMAT are for graduate admissions. Check the requirements of your school to know which one to take
  • Collate all the documents you will need for the application process like transcripts, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and a resume or CV. 
  • Fill out the application form and submit it, ensure that all the information and documents provided are accurate. 
  • Pay the application fees.
  • Wait for an acceptance email from the school. 

Other important expenses in the application process

Application fees are not the only thing to consider when budgeting for the cost of studying abroad for international students. Other things to consider include 

  • English Language Test Fees like IELTS and TOEFL
  • GRE fees
  • GMAT fees
  • SAT fees
  • ACT fees
  • Visa processing fees
  • SEVIS fees
  • Health insurance
  • Airfare etc.

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Seeking to study in the United States of America? Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require any cosigner or collateral before application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consultancy services for international students to help make your journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey. 

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