Application documents

Universities in the USA with No Application Fee in 2023/24

Yocket Editorial Team

Imagine this - you are preparing for your study abroad journey. You focus on acing your standardized tests and writing splendid statements of purpose. But, can you tell us the one thing you’ve missed?

It’s the budget!

Many students don’t realize the importance of effective budgeting for pursuing higher education in the US. A high-quality education frequently has a price tag attached. But does that mean you give up your dreams of studying in the USA?

Not. Let us simplify the process for you.

Depending on the institution and the program, the cost of applications to US universities can range from $40 to $150 (INR 3,300 - 12,500). You might easily spend $1000 to $1500 (INR 83,200 - 1,24,800) on applications alone if you apply to 10 to 12 universities. But do you know that numerous universities offer a 100% fee waiver, and some don’t require any payments at all? Now the question is - how do you identify and list these universities? Simple. You do it with Yocket.

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This blog will introduce you to some top US universities that offer application fee waivers, do not require application fees, and other costs involved in the application process. If you want to save money and streamline your admissions process, Yocket Premium is your go-to solution. You can save up to ₹400,000 as we help you shortlist the best universities for your profile, assist with your applications and documentation, and prepare you for the journey ahead.

Table Of Contents

Why Look for Universities in the USA with an Application Fee waiver?

"What is a few hundred dollars spent on application fees, it is a small expense for my dream university!" This thought is quite understandable, however, studying in the USA requires a considerable financial commitment. You must keep your finances in check, wherever you can.

If you want to apply to several universities (ambitious/moderate/safe), it might be quite beneficial to shortlist some US universities with application fee waivers for international students. An application fee waiver (also known as an app fee waiver) is a cancellation or reduction in the application fee provided by a university to potential candidates.

Further on, we will cover 5 leading universities where you can get an app fee waiver and the criteria required for each. Begin perusing!

List of Universities with Application Fee Waivers in the USA

The following is a list of reputed universities in the USA, which offer app fee waivers for international students:

  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Northeastern University
  • Colarado State University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Dension University
  • Southwestern University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • University of Dayton
  • Saint Louis University
  • Trinity University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Drake University
  • St. Lawrence University

Out of these, we will discuss the top five in detail.

Harvard University

The top name on the list is an Ivy League institution, Harvard University, a prospective school for many students! The alma mater of the who's who, notably Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and more. Additionally, it is ranked #4 ranked on the QS World University Rankings 2024. Several factors make Harvard University top-notch, but one of the primary factors is that it offers an option to apply for a fee waiver too!

A fee waiver is available from Harvard Business School for candidates belonging to underprivileged financial backgrounds. You will be required to complete a waiver form asking for your financial details, and the justification for your request for a need-based fee waiver from HBS. 

To complete the form thoroughly, mention your earnings, wealth, student loan debt, family responsibilities, and/or any other conditions that might justify a fee waiver. Undergraduate students have an advantage as their application fee can be waived entirely, at Harvard College!

Yale University

The infamous Yale University is the second Ivy League college on this list, and also a top 20 university worldwide!

The Yale School of Management at Yale University offers fee waivers on a sliding basis. It implies that the Yale application cost would be determined by your or your family's existing income.

The standard application fee for the School is $250 (INR 20,798). The application fee is $175 (INR 14,559) for those making $30,000 (INR 24,95,869) or less annually. It is $125 (INR 10,399) for applicants making under $15,000 (INR 12,47,934) annually.

For the School of Arts and Sciences at Yale, fee waivers may be granted on the basis of:

  • Participation in a special program, event, fellowship, or status
  • Documented financial hardship

Undergrad students also get an opportunity to avail of a full application waiver of $80. This benefit is extended provided it constitutes a significant financial burden for your family.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

International applicants can also receive fee waivers from Carnegie Mellon University, one of the top 100 universities in the world. For applying to the School of Computer Science, you will have to:

  • Obtain a financial aid letter that outlines your financial needs briefly and includes any supporting evidence for your application.
  • CMU will verify your need after receiving your application and waive the application fees for no more than two programs.

The Master of Software Engineering Program is also eligible for cost waivers from the Software and Societal Systems Department (need-based).

A voucher code for your application or a full waiver will be sent once the university department validates the requirement. This process might take three to five business days. Be patient during the timeframe!

Northeastern University (NEU)

For undergraduate applicants, Northeastern University, Boston offers a need-based application fee waiver for the $75 (INR 6,239) fee.

NEU takes requests for fee waivers based on need into consideration as many other universities do. If you come from a low-income family, NEU gives you a fantastic opportunity to apply without having to pay the full amount. The university often provides waivers on particular days to encourage more graduate program applications.

Colorado State University

In addition to financial need, Colorado State University grants fee waivers depending on an array of factors.

The Graduate School at Colorado State University offers fee waivers to candidates who can prove involvement in or affiliation with particular partnerships and/or programs. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the International Research and Exchanges Board, and others may fall under this category.

Additionally, applying via a fee waiver has no impact on your application. Your journey is neither sped up nor slowed down by it. Your chances are directly correlated with your profile's merit, and the likability of you getting admitted increases if your profile is solid enough.

Availing fee waivers is a tardy process, but significant. Having discussed the universities that offer them, are you wondering which universities do not require application fees at all? Well, read on to find out!

Suggested: Top 10 Cheap Universities To Study In The USA.

List of Universities with No Application Fees in the USA

Some universities do not charge an application fee to prospective international students. Yes, you did read that accurately!


Enlisted below are universities with no application fees in the USA:


Please visit the admissions website of the relevant university before starting your application process for precise information on eligibility and the application procedure.

Additionally, since they receive a large number of applications from all over the world, most universities would charge substantial application fees. The admissions committee will have to work harder to identify the top applicants when there is a vast pool of applications.

Universities in the US prefer to offer opportunities to interested students solely to lessen their workload and discourage bulk applications. So you ought to be selective and just apply to schools that closely fit your profile.

Need help finding the best-fit universities for your profile?

Click here to Speak To A Yocket Advisor Now.

Application Process for Universities with App Fee Waivers:

Universities that waive app fees follow a process that is identical to the standard one. You should submit your application using the standard application or the university's application portal (the latter in the case of undergraduate admissions). Particularly in the case of need-based application waivers, some fields on the standard application form may need to be completed.

A different form may occasionally need to be completed during the application procedure. In most cases, it also entails sending supporting documents so that university officials can review your application.

Consider the following general steps of the application procedure for institutions in the USA without an application fee:

  • Make a shortlist of the colleges that provide the program you want. Make sure that you consider US universities that waive an application fee to prospective international students.
  • Check the qualifying requirements on the official websites of all the colleges you want to apply to, including those without an application fee in the USA.
  • Check the program's admissions requirements and application deadlines.
  • Complete the online application, pay the application fee if necessary, and request an application fee waiver when applying to American universities, wherever applicable.
  • Along with your application, upload all necessary supporting documents for admission.
  • If you want to receive financial aid, apply for international student scholarships
  • Monitor the progress of your application while you wait for the admission decision.
  • The admissions offer will be sent to you through email if it is accepted.
  • Ensure that submit the tuition deposit and confirm your acceptance by the deadline.

Suggested: How to Apply for MS in US from India?

Other Costs Involved in the Application Process

As much as you and I both wish that the application fee is all the additional costs involved in the application process to US universities, sadly they are not.  Let us examine the additional expenses related to the application process for international students.

Pre-arrival expenses must be included when estimating the cost of studying in the United States because they must be paid for out of pocket and cannot be covered with financial aid. These costs are incurred even before you are admitted to any university in the US and might be linked to visa processing, entrance exams, health insurance, travel, etc.

See the table below to learn about additional fees related to the application for admission to US universities.


Average Cost for Indian Students

English Language Test Fees

TOEFL: $195 ( ₹15,795), IELTS: ₹16,250

GRE Fees



$275 (Approx. ₹22,275)

SAT Fees

$103 (Approx. ₹8,350)

ACT Fees

$66 - $91 (Approx. ₹5,350 – ₹7,380)

VISA Processing Fees

$185 (Approx. ₹15,000)


$350 (Approx. ₹28,350)

Health Insurance

$700 - 1100 (Approx. ₹56,700 - ₹89,100)

Airfare (One Way)

$600 - 700 (Approx. ₹48,600 - ₹56,700)

Suggested: Cost of Studying MS in the USA

From the Desk of Yocket

Studying abroad is not a cakewalk. There are several factors to be considered, right from shortlisting and applying to reaching and living abroad. Alongside acing standardized tests and SOPs; application fees, tuition fees, living costs, and travel expenses, are all significant factors to be considered too.

If you feel overwhelmed, do not worry because you are in the right place.

If you enroll in Yocket Premium you can get a bunch of our partner university benefits. App fee waivers, shorter decision timelines, and guidance on university-specific processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application process for universities that do not charge an application fee?

Are international students allowed to apply without paying an application fee?

Are scholarships available in universities that don’t charge an application fee?

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