Applying to College Is Expensive: Consider Colleges with Free Applications

10/24/2017 05:20 pm ET Updated Oct 29, 2017

The high cost of college is a well-publicized fact: private schools now approach $300,000 for four years including room and board, and public schools can cost as much as $120,000 for tuition, room, and board. This can seem like an insurmountable price tag without scholarships or financial aid.

At $100 per application including test and transcript fees, it is worth it to consider applying to colleges with free applica
At $100 per application including test and transcript fees, it is worth it to consider applying to colleges with free applications.

Many families are caught off guard with the high preparatory costs even to get into college, so in this blog I’ll give some pointers on what you can expect and how these preparatory costs can be offset. Today, a college application can cost $50 to $75 dollars. Each application also requires you to submit test scores and official transcripts, which can cost another $25 per school. With each application costing up to $100, applying to ten colleges will set your family back $1,000 or more.

For families where these costs present an undue financial hardship, discuss with your high school counselor about fee waiver programs. These are typically available for applicants that received fee waivers for the ACT or SAT.

Many colleges across the country offer free college applications to entice applicants to apply to their establishment. Many of these same schools offer generous merit and need based financial aid as well. If concerned with the high cost of college and the application process, consider a partial sampling of schools that offer fee-free college applications. Many of these schools are both regionally and nationally recognized colleges that offer students incredible job prospects.

In an era where crushing student loan debt prevents college grads from living on their own, and their parents from retiring, it is critical to keep an open mind and reduce the cost of a college education. Seek programs that empower you to be healthy, happy, and financially independent after graduation. That is the true measure of success. Adopting a low cost application strategy is a great start. As part of that strategy, enjoy investigating what the following schools have to offer:

  1. University of the Pacific (California)
  2. University of Hartford (Connecticut)
  3. Florida Institute of Technology (Florida)
  4. Loyola University Chicago (Illinois)
  5. DePauw University (Indiana)
  6. Valparaiso University (Indiana)
  7. Grinnell College (Iowa)
  8. Tulane University (Louisiana)
  9. Colby College (Maine)
  10. Smith College (Massachusetts)
  11. Carleton College (Minnesota)
  12. Lewis & Clark College (Oregon)
  13. Reed College (Oregon)
  14. Marquette University (Wisconsin)
  15. La Salle University (Pennsylvania)

A sound strategy to make college more affordable includes making the application process less expensive as well. Be mindful of all costs associated with this journey.

Greg Kaplan is the founder of College Path, the first app that provides personal and affordable college counseling, a college application strategist, and author of Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges. College Path and Greg are dedicated to helping students develop and market their passions to earn admission to their dream college and create the foundation for long-term success. For more information, visit www.collegepathweekly.com.

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