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The different types of fee waivers include those given for residency status, income level, and scholarship or grant program inclusion. Fee waivers are dismissals of responsibility for service charges often associated with institutional paperwork. Proof of citizenship or legal residency may qualify some college students for testing or application fee waivers. Families and individuals may be eligible for fee waiver programs extended to those with lower incomes. Some scholarships and grants specify that all fees are to be waived by the administrative offices.
Residency status is usually verified for fee waiver eligibility using government issued documents like birth certificates, passports and driver's licenses. Most offices provide a list of accepted documentation for proof of residency. It is common for an institution to require that the original document be brought in and copied for the file. Staff may be required to verify the authenticity of the document by contacting the issuing source. An inability to produce any of the requested residency verifying documents may immediately disqualify an applicant for fee waivers.
Application fees can pose a substantial hurdle for those with lower incomes. Fee waivers are sometimes given to these applicants to offset their total cost. Recent pay stubs and tax forms are generally requested as proof of income. In addition, those claimed as dependents by wealthy parents for tax reasons may find themselves automatically disqualified for waivers. Forms for fee waiver approval based on income level may ask for detailed financial information including monthly expenses and alternate income sources.
Scholarships and government grant programs may have built-in fee waivers for all applicants. The specific terms of an endowment generally define how and when fees are to be paid, if at all. Form and filing cost reductions sometimes do not happen automatically. It may be up to the individual applicant to remind administrators that he or she is exempt due to scholarship or grant status. Getting a reimbursement for fees paid by a grant or scholarship holder may prove difficult.
Most fee waivers are not automatically applied to the fee balance. Departmental filing fees at the same institution may require several separate eligibility forms to qualify for waivers. Each fee waiver application may be judged by a different set of qualifying criteria. Some offices allow denials to be appealed, if verifiable supporting evidence is later supplied. Fee waiver approvals are limited to a certain quota for each fiscal year at some institutions.
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