Student News

Apply to College for Free: Learn When

15+ states let students apply to college for free during College Application Month. See if your state made the list! Learn how you can take advantage of College Application Month.

Shawna Newman

October 30, 2023

Apply to College for Free: Learn When
The average college application fee is $45.
The cost of college adds up quickly, including the costs to apply for college. The average college application fee is $45, according to U.S. News & World Report. To help high seniors and their parents with the college application process and to help families save money on application fees, the ACT Center for Equity in Learning created the American College Application Campaign (ACAC). The goal of ACAC is to increase the number of students pursuing higher education, especially first-generation college students and students from low-income families.

Apply to College for Free

Many states participating in ACAC events offer students college application fee waivers during their College Application Month or Application Week.
Find out when your state participates in ACAC events such as Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops and free college application periods below (Bolded states with an asterisk * allow students to apply to college for free during the timeframe listed):


South Carolina: August – December


*Indiana: The last full week of September students can apply to several colleges for free. The “College GO!” program starts in August, with virtual FAFSA workshops occurring throughout the fall. Missouri: September – October, 2023 Oklahoma: September 25-29, 2023

October and November

*Alabama: October 16-20, 2023 *Colorado: October 17-19, 2023 *Connecticut: November 1, 2023 *Delaware: October 1 – November 17, 2023 *Georgia: November 1-30, 2023 *Idaho: October – June, 2023; High school seniors can apply to a maximum of 10 Idaho colleges for free via Idaho’s very own common application site. Other ACAC events are hosted at public high schools throughout October. Illinois: October 1-31 *Kansas: November 7-9, 2023 Maryland: October 1-November 12, 2023 *Michigan: October 1-31, 2023 *Mississippi: October 16-18, 2023; Students can apply to the University of Mississippi for free. *Montana: October 2-13, 2023 New York: October 1-30, 2023 *North Carolina: October 16-20, 2023 Ohio: October 1-31, 2023 *South Dakota: October 1-November 30, 2023 *Utah: October 1-31, 2023 *Virginia: October 24-28, 2023 Washington, DC: November 1-30, 2023 West Virginia: November 1-30, 2023


*Minnesota: June 26-30, 2023; Visit one of 33 colleges during Minnesota State Week to apply for free. High school juniors should know next year’s events will likely occur around the same time frame in 2024. If your state is not listed above, contact your high school counselor or visit your state’s Department of Education website. You can also check out the ACAC map and select your home state.

Free Financial Aid Workshops

Additionally, numerous high schools in the United States are offering free financial aid workshops to help students and families navigate the FAFSA. Before you attend a financial aid workshop, consider gathering the FAFSA documents you'll need. This will help you and your FAFSA mentor as you work to complete the financial aid form. According to ACT Center for Equity in Learning, more than 5,000 U.S. high schools hosted an ACAC event in 2022. An estimated 960,000 college applications were submitted for the 2022 application season. Launched in 2005, the ACAC has served 4.2 million students; more than 7 million college applications have been submitted since its inception.

Scholarships by State

Just as it’s a great idea to save money on college application fees, it’s also smart to save money when it comes to paying for school. Create your free Fastweb profile to find scholarships that fit you. In the meantime, you can also find scholarships by state.

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