Top Colleges With No Application Fees

Avoid paying a college application fee by applying to these top colleges.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

November 08, 2022

Top Colleges With No Application Fees
Why pay to apply?
Nowadays, it’s not only expensive to go to college; it can also cost a lot to apply. College applications have increased in cost. In fact, the average college application fee at four-year, non-profit colleges is about $50, according to Some college application fees are upwards of $80! And, for students with limited funds, it can be financially cumbersome to apply to several schools. After all, $50 spent on an application is $50 that could go towards paying for tuition. With that, students should consider applying to colleges that do not have application fees. The good news is that there are plenty of institutions that recognize that the application fee costs are expensive and no longer charge fees for their applications. Many colleges may even have a declared application fee but will waive the charge for students who apply online, usually utilizing the Common Application.
The Common Application is available at more than 1,000 colleges and universities. It allows students applying to college to fill out and submit one application for multiple schools. Students can even apply for a Common Application fee waiver. According to the Common Application website, "If you feel that your financial circumstances might qualify you for an application fee waiver, you can request a fee waiver in the Common Application Fee Waiver section in the Profile section."
Using list from Niche and Student Loan Hero, we’ve curated a list of the top 33 colleges that don’t have application fees.

Colleges with No Application Fees

  1. Baylor University – Waco, Texas
  2. Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota
  3. Colby College – Waterville, Maine
  4. Colorado College – Colorado Springs, Colorado
  5. College of the Ozarks – Point Lookout, Missouri
  6. Connecticut College – New London, Connecticut
  7. Clark University – Worcester, Massachusetts
  8. Creighton University – Omaha, Nebraska
  9. Denison University – Granville, Ohio
  10. DePauw University – Greencastle, Indiana
  11. Drake University – Des Moines, Iowa
  12. Foothill College – Los Altos Hills, California
  13. Grinnell College – Grinnell, Iowa
  14. Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio
  15. Lawrence University – Appleton, Wisconsin
  16. Lewis Clark College – Portland, Oregon
  17. Macalester College – Saint Paul, Minnesota
  18. Michigan Technological University – Houghton, Michigan
  19. Mississippi College – Clinton, Mississippi
  20. Mount Holyoke College – South Hadley, Massachusetts
  21. New Mexico Tech – Socorro, New Mexico
  22. Northwood Technical College – Rice Lake, Wisconsin
  23. Reed College – Portland, Oregon
  24. Rhodes College – Memphis, Tennessee
  25. Saint Louis University – St. Louis, Missouri
  26. Smith College – Northampton, Massachusetts
  27. St. Olaf College – Northfield, Minnesota
  28. Trinity University – San Antonio, Texas
  29. Tulane University – New Orleans, Louisiana
  30. University of Dayton – Dayton, Ohio
  31. University of St. Thomas – Saint Paul, Minnesota
  32. United States Military Academy – West Point, New York
  33. United States Merchant Marine Academy – Kings Point, New York
  34. Wabash College – Crawfordsville, Indiana
  35. Wellesley College – Wellesley, Massachusetts
  36. Wheaton College – Wheaton, Illinois
  37. Worcester Polytechnic University – Worcester, Massachusetts
It’s also important to know that some colleges waive application fees for: • Low-Income Students • First-Generation Students • Minority Students • Veterans, Active-Duty Military Members or Children of Military Members If the college you’re interested in is not listed above, check with the admissions office to see if they have application fee waivers.

Applying to Colleges

College application season can feel long and strenuous. Between college visits, essays and admission interviews, there is so much to be done. However, there are ways to make the process easier. First, start college visits early. Don’t wait until senior year to begin visiting schools. You can start as early as a freshman in high school; however, it will help your decision-making process more to begin visiting colleges during junior year of high school. You will have a better idea of what you’re looking for and which of your passions from high school you’ll be able to pursue. Keep a journal in order to record each of your college visits. Write down questions which you have for the tour guide or admission officer. Get your answers while you’re on campus. After you leave, write down the things you loved about the school – and things you didn't like. Having these notes to reference back to when its application time will be helpful. During the spring semester of junior year, take the SAT or ACT if you haven’t yet done so. If you’re not happy with your results, this will give you plenty of time to retake the test over the summer or during fall semester of senior year. Over the summer, make a list of the schools you plan to apply to, and start doing your research. Check whether you must pay an application fee as well as if the schools you plan to apply to are covered under the Common Application. Check out college application deadlines and figure out if you plan to apply Early Decision to any of the schools on your list (if you apply early decision, it means that you are committed to attending that school as soon as your application is accepted for admission). This is also a good time to see what you need for each application. Some schools require essays and letters of recommendation in addition to test scores and transcripts. If you’re filling out the Common Application, some schools may require a supplemental application that includes short essays so that the school can get to know you better. Finally, consider doing an admissions interview at the colleges you’re especially interested in attending. An admissions interview will enable the officer reviewing your application to put a face with the name he or she sees. It will also help you to get a more personal, in-depth look into the university and how you would fit in there. Applying to colleges doesn’t have to be all that stressful. With a little preparation and planning, you can stay on top of college visits, application components and deadlines. You’ll also be up to speed on which schools require an application fee and which do not. What’s more important, though, is that being organized in your college search will lead you to make the decision that is best for you. With hundreds of colleges to choose from, making that final decision can be easy, stress-free, and right on the money.

Join Fastweb.
Match Instantly.

Become a member and gain exclusive access to our database of over 1.5 million scholarships.

I am a:
Parents: Complete the questions using your child's information
Please select a grade level
Please enter a valid zip code.

By clicking, I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.