(This article originally appeared on DIYCollegeRankings.com)
Everyone knows the cost of higher education is spiraling out of control. Did you know that the cost to apply to college has reached equally outrageous levels? Applying to US News Top Ten National Universities would set you back $775 in application fees with a low of $65 to a high of $90. Only one school charged less than $75. That doesn’t include the cost of sending in testing scores reports.
Just how bad is the situation? Consider the following:There are 501 colleges that charge $50 or more to apply to college, half of them are public institutions.
- The number of colleges charging $70 or more has increased to 93 from 85 last year and the number of public schools in the category rose from 34 to 39. Just over half of these colleges are in just four states: California (17), New York (12), Massachusetts (11), and North Carolina (7). Texas had six schools charging $70 or more and Connecticut had five.
- Twelve states had an average application fee of $50 or more for public institutions.
- Private colleges that charged $70 or more to apply had only 19% of freshman with Pell Grants while those that charged less averaged 41%
If you have limited funds, would you spend them on applying to colleges with less than a 30% chance of getting in? Of course, if you do get in, the chances are that you will have your full financial need met. But given the limited number of testing waivers available to students for the SAT and especially the ACT, how many take the chance?
Free College Application Fees
So what’s a frugal student to do? There are 426 colleges that have free application fees, an increase from 413 last year. This means that they did not have an application fee for the 2015-16 school year or will waive them if you apply online through Common Application. That’s still fewer than those that charge $50 or more, but it is a ray of hope.