How To Pay For UC Application Fees

October 24, 2011 Category: University of California News

No one ever said college was cheap. During the last few years, affording college has been even more difficult for students due to the hikes in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students also have their fair share of school related expenses to budget for. When it comes to submitting a UC application, there is also a fee associated with this part of the process. While the fee itself is not astronomical, for those already struggling to afford a higher education may find themselves hard pressed to come up with the money. Unless the fee has been paid, a student’s application cannot be officially accepted for consideration. However, there are a few options available that individuals may want to look into if they don’t have the funds right then and there to pay.

What is the Fee for Submitting a UC Application?

The current application fee is $70. This fee is not refundable but there is an exception to this rule. Students who have already paid and sent in their application may have the $70 refunded to them if the campus and/or major they’ve chosen is closed to them for the term they’ve applied for. It is important for students to know that while they are able to submit to multiple UC campuses, they will have to pay the $70 application fee for each school. This can easily add up–applying to half a dozen schools will cost a student $420 in application fees alone–so it is crucial for students to decide whether they want to apply to one or more schools.

What is the Fee for International Students?

International students are not exempt from paying an application fee. However, the amount is higher compared to those required of students that are residents of California. The current application fee for international students who are non-immigrant applicants is $80. Those who qualify for California residency status, however, only have to pay the regular $70 per campus applied to. To be eligible for this decrease in the fee, international students must answer certain questions dealing with their current California residency. The quality of their answers will then be reviewed and a decision will be made at that time.

What if I Can’t Afford the Application Fee?

Not all students have the financial assistance needed to cover the most basic school related expenses. When it comes to trying to afford things like an application fee to submit to UC campuses, lacking the necessary funds can be very frustrating. Luckily, there is the fee waiver option to help remedy such a situation. A fee waiver basically exempts a student from having to pay an application fee. While anyone can apply for a fee waiver, only a select few that meet the criteria are approved.

What makes fee waivers so beneficial for students is the fact that under the UC application system, this waiver allows them to apply for up to four UC campuses. This saves a student and his/her family $280. Eligible students can apply to more than four campuses but they are then responsible for paying the $70 application fee for each additional school applied to.

Unfortunately, the fee waiver option is only available to citizens of the United States and permanent residents, which means international students cannot be considered.

How Do I Apply for a Fee Waiver?

In order to apply for a fee waiver, all a student has to do is fill out their UC application online. They will eventually come to a special section that deals with the fee waver section. Here, students will need to provide detailed financial information, such as their family’s total annual income and stating the number of people living in the household who must be supported by that income. It is a good idea to have copies of your parents’ financial information with you while filling out this portion of the application. Never guess and only provide the specific information required. After completing this part, proceed with the rest of the application. Students will be given notification quickly as to whether or not they qualify for a fee waiver.

Tips for Budgeting

It may seem impossible for students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to picture themselves being able to attend a UC campus. However, it is vital to have a game plan in place well before it’s time to begin filling out the UC online application. Families of future college bound students should pull all of their resources together and come up with a strategy to help them afford the fees associated with applying to colleges. By planning early, this makes it less stressful to save up the funds needed. Additionally, the sooner a family starts budgeting for the college years, the more convenient it is because they’ll have a wide enough time frame to accomplish this goal. Setting aside a little bit of money each month into a special bank account is much more doable, compared to trying to cough up a certain amount within a few weeks or months.

Although $70 may not seem like a lot to some people, budgeting well in advance will not only make it possible for a student to pay this fee with no problems, they may also be able to apply to several campuses, depending on how much money their family is able to save during the high school years.

Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is also essential for any student hoping to go to a UC. Because this is a free resource, it is available to students from all walks of life to check out. Visiting the official FAFSA website will provide all of the information a student and their family needs to know. Filling out the FAFSA helps to calculate how much financial need a family will require in order to put their child through school. Knowing this amount makes it easy for families to budget accurately.

Aside from filling out the FAFSA, high school students are strongly encouraged to apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible. These two forms of financial aid are free money that do not need to be paid back like student loans.


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