College Application Fees Limit Options for Students

By MacKenzie Knox, Staff Writer

Throughout their junior and senior years, students struggle with the constant interrogation of adults and peers as they search for and apply to colleges. While trying to decide which schools will be the best fits for them, they also have to deal with other added pressures. One of these many unnecessary pressures is the cost of applying to college. As if the costs of the SAT and ACT weren’t high enough, students get hit with application fees that can be up to $90 per college.

This mounting expense of college applications limits the number and variety of schools to which many students can afford to apply. Every time a student submits an application, she feels the burden of the money she may have lost, especially if she is sent a rejection letter. Students should not have to be limited in their choices solely because of the cost of an application.

Another disadvantage of these extravagant fees is that students will feel less inclined to apply to their reach schools, especially those that charge more money for an application, if they anticipate a rejection letter. Not wanting to potentially waste so much money causes applicants to truly limit their potential college options. A student should not have to cut a school that interests them off their list simply because of an application fee cost.

While one application fee costing around $70 may not seem like a lot of money, most students apply to at least four to five schools, pushing the total cost to at least $280-$350. These numbers do not even include the $24 it costs to send one standardized test score to each college. Students applying for competitive programs, like medical programs, have to apply to even more colleges to ensure that they will get an acceptance letter and hopefully some options. Although some students can easily pay these fees and therefore can apply to numerous and varied schools, the many who cannot must be more selective, causing them to apply to more “safety” schools rather than the universities they really wish to attend.

While college application fees might ensure that most applicants are truly interested in the colleges to which they apply, the fees likewise limit many students in their college choices, especially those who may financially struggle. Among all of the factors that work against students in the college process, financial burdens should not be at the top of the list.

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