New Program to Waive Fees for College Applications

SAT_achievemore_2If you read this blog regularly, you are probably already aware of our concern for many high-achieving, low-income students living in relative isolation who need better information about how to successfully prepare for, identify, and apply to competitive colleges. The Foundation helps to meet this need by providing counseling and guidance and making grants available to other organizations offering such services to students.

Fortunately, an increasing number of groups are also recognizing this need and addressing it. And now one of the biggest names in higher education—the College Board, which administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)—has taken a momentous step in solving the problem.

Beginning with this school year, the College Board has partnered with over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide to give every income-eligible senior who takes the SAT or SAT Subject Tests waivers for the application fees for up to four colleges.

Qualifying students will receive notification of their waivers and be able to access them via their online SAT accounts. Seniors who have already taken the test during the 2013-2014 school year may do so immediately, while those taking the test for the first time this year will be able to do so after they receive their test scores (usually within a few weeks).

Interested students and teachers should click here to view frequently asked questions about the waivers.

Teachers and counselors will be key players in making the new program a success, so we urge them to learn more about it. The online SAT Resource Center for Educators is available to assist them, as well as the SAT Educator Help Line, which is 888-SAT-HELP (728-4357).

Guidance counselors will be particularly interested in using the SAT Counselor Registration Report to see which students are eligible for the application fee waivers in order to help them apply.

We’re particularly excited about the application fee waivers because it will encourage high-achieving, low-income students to apply to selective colleges and universities. For a variety of reasons, some of these students are reluctant to do so; but knowing they will be able to afford to apply to at least four colleges, more will be likely to take the opportunity. That’s important because selective schools are often able to offer better financial, educational, and income and career benefits to them.

The application fee waivers are a part of the College Board’s excellent Access to Opportunity program, which has several worthwhile components students and teachers should explore. It is designed to identify and break down barriers that prevent students from applying to and enrolling in college.

We applaud the College Board and participating colleges and universities for their generous and innovative approach to removing barriers to access for high-achieving, low-income students. Their commitment could make a real difference in closing the achievement gap.