What is an application fee for college

Nearly 40 schools charge applicants $75 or more to apply, according to U.S. News data.

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.

What is an application fee for college

There's been much talk about the typically high cost of attending college. but applying can also be an expensive process.


Stanford University in California charges a $90 application fee, according to data submitted to U.S. News in spring 2014. Just as it was last year, Stanford's application fee is the highest for undergraduate students among the 1,073 ranked institutions that submitted data.

Seven other schools, including the University of Southern California and the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, charge application fees of $80 or more.

Many schools charge prospective undergrads nothing to apply online, but applicants will pay between $10 and $75 if they submit a traditional application. Those schools include Drexel University in Pennsylvania, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and Benedictine College in Kansas.

Among all 1,073 schools, the average application fee is $41.

Below is a list of colleges that charge the highest application fees, though all schools listed will waive the fee for students with financial need. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Application Fees

There is a non-refundable fee of $95.00 CDN to apply to college through ontariocolleges.ca. Up to 5 program choices (no more than 3 at any one college) are included in this fee, as long as they start within the same academic year (August to July). To apply to programs starting in the next academic year, you will need to create a new application and pay a new application processing fee.

What is an application fee for college

Your application will not be forwarded to your college choices until the application processing fee has been received. Please note that there are no exemptions from the application processing fee.

Other fees may apply in addition to the $95.00 application processing fee, including transcript request fees for some educational institutions.

Payment Methods

You can pay for your application four ways:

  • Online. With Visa (including Visa Debit), MasterCard, American Express or Interac Online. We do not recommend using prepaid credit cards.
  • Online banking. For online banking, you'll need your 9-digit application number.
  • By phone. You can contact us to pay over the phone using a credit card. We accept Visa (including Visa Debit), MasterCard and American Express.
  • Mailing a Certified Cheque / Money Order. Make the certified cheque or money order payable to ‘ontariocolleges.ca’ and be sure to include your 9-digit application number as well. For our mailing address, see our Contact Us page. Do not send cash in the mail.

All fees are non-refundable. There will be an additional $25 fee for returned items. This fee applies to all payment items returned to us for any reason including NSF, a closed account, stopped payment or post-dated cheque, etc.

What is the Application Fee Used For?

Curious what your application fee is used for? We’re a non-profit organization and the fee we collect for your application goes towards providing services to our applicants, including:

  • Online application service available 24/7. Each year we process over 200,000 applications from people like you who want to go to college. All of these applications go through our online application service, which allows you to apply to all 24 of Ontario’s public colleges in one place.
  • Centralized transcript and document processing. We receive thousands of electronic and hardcopy transcripts from college applicants every year. It’s our job to make sure your transcript is attached to your account and transmitted to every college you’ve applied to.
  • Centralized posting and confirmation of college admissions offers. Each year, we not only process college applications, we also handle hundreds of thousands of college admissions offers. Offers from your college choices are posted on your application and all that’s left for you to do is click the Confirm button.
  • Customer Contact Centre assistance. Our Customer Contact Centre offers support by telephone, email and live chat, with extended hours during peak seasons to guide applicants smoothly through the process.

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