Iowa College Aid Insider: Teaching & Advising College-Bound Students (Nov. 2017)

College Application Fees

How students can save on college application fees

Just getting to college can prove expensive. Multiple fees for college applications (average: $50) and admission tests (minimum: $42.50) add up. Those costs might be intimidating to students who are already starting to worry about tuition. Here are a few ways you can advise students to save on college application costs:

  • Apply online and on time. Many schools do not charge an application fee if a student applies online and by the deadline.
  • Apply to schools with no fee. Iowa’s community colleges, for instance, do not charge application fees.
  • Request a fee waiver. For students with financial hardships, you can send this form on their behalf from the National Association for College Admission Counseling. 
  • Request a deferment. Iowa law prohibits Regent Universities from waiving application fees but does allow deferments. The student pays nothing at the time of application, and the $40 application is added to the university bill (so students can use financial aid).

What happens during FAFSA verification

“Your FAFSA has been selected for a review process called verification.” That simple statement on a Student Aid Report has sent many students into a panic. Chances are that about one-third of your students will get that message (most likely if they didn’t use the Data Retrieval Tool), so you can help them by explaining that verification is a very common part of the FAFSA process. Then you can walk them through what will happen next:

The college financial aid office will contact the student with a list of documents to submit and additional forms to complete.

Data that might require verification:

  • Adjusted gross income
  • Taxes paid
  • Income earned from work (for non-tax-filers)
  • Untaxed portions of IRA distributions or pensions
  • IRA deductions and payments
  • Tax exempt interest income
  • Education credits
  • Household size
  • Number in college
  • Receipt of food stamps/SNAP benefit
  • Child support paid
  • High school completion status
  • Any inconsistent or conflicting information.

Documents the college might request:

  • Signed copies of tax transcripts or Federal IRS Data Retrieval
  • W-2s, 1099s and supporting schedules
  • Documentation of child support
  • Verification of net worth
  • Documentation of food stamps/SNAP benefits
  • Copy of high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Final official high school or GED transcript

A student who is selected for verification should respond to all requests from the college or university. If documentation is not submitted on time, financial aid might be delayed and late fees charged.

Missed us at ISCA? You can still order free publications

Did you catch us at the Iowa School Counselor Association conference last week in Altoona? If you missed us, don’t worry. You can order any of our free publications online. Here’s a rundown:

  • Your Course to College Helps students and families plan, prepare and pay for college. Includes a year-by-year checklist, financial aid tips and a directory of Iowa schools. Available in English and Spanish. 70 pages. Updated yearly.
  • Planning for Our Future Guides parents through financial planning for higher education. Includes information about saving, investing and securing financial aid. Produced in partnership with the Iowa Insurance Division and College Savings Iowa. 16 pages. Updated every two years. 
  • Scholarships & Grants A review of federal and state scholarships and grants available to Iowa students, as well as tips for applying and finding other sources of financial aid. Pamphlet. Updated yearly.
  • Financial Aid: How to Apply Step-by-step information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for state and federal financial aid. Pamphlet. Updated yearly.
  • Student Loans A review of federal Stafford and PLUS loans as well as private education loans. Includes a glossary of lending terms. Pamphlet. Updated yearly.
  • Repayment & Forgiveness A list of state and federal programs to help Iowans in certain professions and geographic areas pay off their student loans. Pamphlet. Updated yearly.


Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on May 26, 2018 at 9:16am.