Which Schools Offer a Free College Application?

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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2019
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For many people, especially those looking at returning to school after many years, the college application can be an especially daunting prospect. It is in many people’s best interests to apply to a wide range of colleges, to ensure that they are accepted to a school that fits their needs. Unfortunately, in addition to the application process often being tedious and exhausting, there is often a fee associated with it. While this fee is usually fairly small, ranging from $15 US Dollars (USD) to $25 USD in most cases, the fee may be upwards of $50 USD in some cases, and over many applications this can add up quickly.

If there are many different colleges you’re looking at, or if you simply want to apply to ten or more schools to make sure you get in somewhere appropriate, you may be looking for schools that offer a free college application. More and more schools are offering a free college application, taking into consideration the fact that students are not always able to afford the application fee. A number of schools charge a processing fee for applications submitted in the usual fashion, but offer a free college application for online admissions, as this saves on paperwork for them.


Many schools offer a free college application if certain criteria are reached. For example, some colleges waive their application fee if you apply during certain times of the year, others if you visit the campus, others if you have a sibling or relative who attended the college, and others if you are an international student. And even colleges that don’t offer a free college application usually have a system by which the fee can be waived, often simply by calling and making a request that it be waived, or in some cases by submitting documentation that you can’t afford to pay the fee.

Some examples of schools that have a free college application are: Indiana Wesleyan University, Julliard School, Blue Mountain College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Tulsa University, Tulane University, Wheaton College, Nyack College, Lyon College, Grace College, and Grace College. The dates during which applications are free vary from school to school, and may change from year to year, but each college has a website that lists free application dates.

Examples of schools that offer a free college application if you apply online are: Willamette College, Tulane University, Monmouth College, Hanover College, Hampshire College, Roanoake College, Green Mountain College, Arcadia University, Brandeis University, Whittier College, Polytechnic University, Notre Dame College, and Lewis & Clark College. There are literally hundreds of colleges that offer free applications online, however, and an exhaustive list would take pages.

In spite of the move towards a free college application process, many colleges choose to retain fees. They defend the practice by pointing out that it forces students to choose which colleges they wish to apply to most, limiting the number of applicants in the pool, and allowing colleges to make clearer admission decisions, as it is more likely a higher percentage of applicants will attend if accepted. These people usually point out that even at colleges with an application fee, there is a waiver process for those who can’t afford to apply, often handled directly by the college, or through a body like the National Association for College Admission Counseling.


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Post 5

The University of Tampa is running a real scam operation. They charge a $40 application fee and continue to accept applications after the class is already full. So, they are charging you $40 to tell you "Sorry, there is no space for you." Talk about a blatant rip-off! If you or I tried to pull something like this, we would be arrested for fraud.

Post 4

As a school administrator, college applicants must realize the massive duty and work that is involved with going through the hundreds and thousands of sometimes 10,000s of college applications for any specific institution. This overabundance of paperwork leads to many frustrating hours inside of our college registration offices.

Universities and colleges do have students best interest in mind despite what some people might think. In an effort to reduce fees, online applications have streamlined the entrance process. Other ways that systems have reduced the amount of overall application workload include the use of a single application for an entire college system. These large-scale applications for university systems are only a possibility when the college system is large enough and does not have specific requirements of each individual University.

Post 3

I agree with, @sammyG, college application fees are just another way for the University system to get money from students and their parents.

If it isn't the application fee, it is overpriced textbooks at bookstores that are self-serving and do not look after the interests of the student. There are many things wrong with the financing of our college education system here in the United States, in college application fees are just another part of the icing on top of the cake for the world of fee collection.

I wonder if it would be possible for high schools to purchase into group application discounts that they could then offer to their top-performing students coming out of their

senior year. This might be a way for potential applicants at the University to save money when trying to apply these prestigious universities to charge hefty fee for even applying.

In the end I just really want to see the cost of education in America come down, and I don't think that's unreasonable goal for the majority of our society.

Post 2

It is my opinion, that university application fees are a scam. While I understand that there is bureaucracy involved with the application process and that paperwork must be gone through by employees of the University or educational institution, there is a significant cost to new students who don't always have enough money to apply to colleges they need to.

If we are truly dedicated to furthering education in our society and helping to contribute to a more just and affluent future, then we must make basic things like college university application fees a thing of the past.

Post 1

If a high school student is truly seeking the proper secondary education system, then searching for college that has a free application should be of no concern. If you are really going to spend thousands and thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on tuition per year at a university, do you really want to skimp on a university that wants to charge $40 or $50.

If you really are out to save money then perhaps the best we could do that is to ensure that you are actually qualified to be accepted into the universities that you are applying at. If your application is denied because the basic requirement failure, then you are truly wasting that application money. Otherwise, the application money is well worth it as long as it is a school that you can see yourself attending for the next four years of your life.

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