USA Universities with No Application Fees
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USA Universities with No Application Fees

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Aishwarya
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jun 19, 2024 10:25 IST
US Universities Without Application Fee for International Students: Applying to US universities is a herculean task, plus applying with the requisite fee through a proper channel is equally important. Application fee for US universities is accepted through credit cards only and some universities also accept gift cards for completing the application fee payment. But there are US universities without application fees too. 
USA Universities with No Application Fees

If the application fee payment step is removed from the entire process of applying to US universities, won’t the process get easier? Yes, there are universities in the USA which do not require application fees for applying to its programs. There are around 50-60 US universities and colleges which do not require an application fee. Read on for more details about universities with no application fee for international students at US universities. 

Check out: International Student Guide to the USA 

How to get application fee waived at US universities? 

The application fee can be waived at 20% of the universities in the USA for international students. There are the following ways to be eligible for an application fee waiver at US universities, applicable for international students only: 

  • There are universities like the University of New Haven that give application fee waiver codes, which students can enter into their application before submission. 
  • Students applying through Common App can get an application fee waiver through Common App’s need-based application fee waiver option in the profile. Check the difference between Coalition and Common App.
  • International applicants applying through certain deadlines of either Early Action or Early Decision may also be eligible for an application fee waiver. Read: Why apply early to US universities?
  • There are US universities that offer international students an application fee waiver if they apply via the Common Application. 
  • Some universities in the US do not accept application fees at all, which automatically makes the admission application free of cost for submission. 
  • In Cases, where students have extreme financial hardships, they can apply for an application fee waiver if the university accepts such requests. Harvard is one such example. 
  • Universities in the US may require students requesting an application fee waiver to submit their requests a few days before they submit their applications. If requests are accepted, students will be able to submit a free application to the US university. 
  • Lastly, there may be some universities in the US that may require an application fee during application submission, but the amount will be reverted back within a stipulated time period if the applicant qualifies for a fee waiver. 

Note: Not all cases may apply to all US universities, thus students aiming to study in US universities must research well and weigh the pros and cons before requesting an application fee waiver. Also, do read about the cost of studying in the USA for international students

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Universities in USA Without Application Fees 

The following are the top universities in the US, which do not require an application fee from international students when they submit their admission applications: 

US Universities Without Application Fee 

Yale University  

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) 

Michigan Technological University 

Drake University 

Trinity University  

DePaul University 

Reed College 

University of St. Thomas

Earlham College 

Tulane University 

Saint Louis University 

University of New Haven 

Creighton University 

University of Dayton 

St. Lawrence University

Ohio Wesleyan University 

Illinois Wesleyan University 

Transylvania University 

Baylor University 

Denison University 

The above table is a mix of public universities, private universities and colleges in the US that offer international students an application fee waiver. 

Check: Scholarships to Study in the USA for International Students

US Universities With No Application Fee through Common App 

There are around 12 universities and colleges in the USA that accept free admission applications from international students if they submit them through the Common Application. These are also some of the US universities with no application fee for international students. Check out the following colleges and universities that offer international students application fees free through Common App: 

  • DePaul University 
  • CWRU 
  • Ohio Wesleyan University 
  • Hampshire College 
  • Macalester University 
  • Tulane University 
  • Earlham College 
  • Saint Louis University 
  • Trinity University 
  • St. Olaf College 
  • Transylvania University 
  • Hendrix College 

If you are applying to these universities, you can apply to free application fee universities in USA. 

Common App Need-Based Application Fee Waiver 

There is another option for those applying to US universities through the Common App may be eligible for a need-based application fee waiver. This application fee is waived off by the Common App. Hence, if universities do not waive the application fee through any alternative option, students can apply for a Common App fee waiver through the Profile section of their application.  

Note: Students must exercise caution and not apply for both alternatives that is, Common App need-based application fee waiver and university-based application fee waiver. Students must choose one option only to avoid confusion.

Read more about: Cost of Living in the USA

USA Universities Which Waive-off Application Fees 

There are certain US universities which do accept an application fee but also waive the fee in case international students have exemplary performance in their academics or standardised test scores. Following are such universities in the US: 

Yale University 

In the case of Yale University admissions, application fee waivers are applicable for Master’s and PhD students only. This is for both domestic and international students. Those students who wish to apply for a fee waiver must apply before submitting their applications so that they are exempted from submitting the fee. The fee waiver request usually takes two to three business days to assess the case. 

Harvard University 

Students who face extreme financial hardships and feel they won’t be able to pay the application fee for their Harvard admission application can apply for an application fee waiver request. This is applicable for both undergraduate and graduate admissions. This also makes Harvard eligible for universities with no application fee for international students in the USA. 

Case Western Reserve University  

International students applying for admission to CWRU are eligible for an application fee waiver. The application fee is waived for those who have extreme financial hardships in their families.  

University of New Haven 

The University of New Haven offers application fee waivers to those students who apply through Early Action I or II and Early Decision. There are also application fee waiving codes which can be redeemed while submitting the admission application, so that fee is not required to be paid. Read more about: Which type of application deadline to choose? if applying to US universities.

To conclude, it can be said that though not a lot of US universities may offer an application fee waiver, there are quite a handful and few top-ranking US universities that understand the burden of international students. Thus, students must check all possible ways and be sure of their requests for an application fee waiving requests while applying for admission to US universities.

Check: International Student Visa Guide for USA

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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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Expert in MS in USA

Goldi Mourya is armed with an MBA degree in Human Resource and is a certified ‘Green Belt’ in counselling from UCLA Extension. She has considerable experience in the field of overseas counselling. Goldi is research-... Read Full Bio

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