Securing a Fee Waiver for the ACT®
Taking the ACT is a major step in a prospective college student’s academic career, but this test often requires a ton of preparation time and materials, which can be costly. On top of that, the full exam costs $68 for most test-takers. Actual fees may vary depending on the version of the test desired. All these requirements present barriers for low- and even some moderate-income families. Luckily, the ACT organization has made a fee waiver program available to eligible students so they don’t miss the opportunity to take the exam.
How Can I Get a Fee Waiver?
The first step in securing a fee waiver for the ACT is to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. A fee waiver can only be granted if the student meets all of the following criteria:
- Be an 11th or 12th-grade student enrolled in high school.
- Take the exam in the United States, Puerto Rico, or a US territory.
- Meet one or more of the economic indicators of need, including:
- Be enrolled in a federal free or reduced-price lunch program at school.
- Be enrolled in a program for the economically disadvantaged, such as GEAR Up or Upward Bound.
- Reside in a foster home, be a ward of the state, or be considered homeless.
- Be a member of a family that receives low-income public assistance or subsidized public housing.
- Be a member of a family whose total annual income is at or below USDA levels for free or reduced-price lunches.
What Does the Waiver Cover?
The ACT fee waiver covers much more than just the exam itself. Additional benefits include:
- Registration and late fees
- One report sent to the student’s high school and up to six potential colleges
- Access to test prep tools, including ACT Rapid Review-All Access and ACT Online Prep
- A request for waiver or deferral of college admissions application fees
How Do I Obtain an ACT® Fee Waiver?
To receive an ACT fee waiver, you must first speak with your school counselor or another leader at your high school. This person will help you navigate the waiver application process. Even though fee waivers cover late registration charges, ideally the student should begin the process of securing a fee waiver far ahead of their intended exam date to ensure that it is approved.
The ACT® fee waiver is a great resource to ensure that all students are able to take the exam, no matter what their income may be. However, students who use the waiver should start the paperwork early so that they have time to get it approved and use the additional resources to help prepare for the test.
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