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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Georgia Colleges waive application fees, remove barriers

The+Georgia+Student+Finance+Commission+collaborated+with+49+Georgia+colleges+to+waive+application+fees+in+March.+This+removed+barriers+for+Midtown+students+who+were+previously+unable+to+apply+to+certain+colleges.
Brennan Fritts
The Georgia Student Finance Commission collaborated with 49 Georgia colleges to waive application fees in March. This removed barriers for Midtown students who were previously unable to apply to certain colleges.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission partnered with nearly 50 colleges throughout Georgia to waive their application fees during March.
Midtown College Advisor Mira Ratchev believes this waiver is important for students struggling with the application process.
“The free application month in March is a blessing,” Ratchev said. “It’s great for students who maybe didn’t get into their first choice school during the early or regular decision rounds and need a backup option, or maybe their first choice school is out of state and they need a more affordable option in state. It’s also awesome for kids who are undecided about going to college or haven’t applied to a balanced list of colleges yet.”
The application fee waivers last throughout March. The majority of these waivers are for public (23 schools) and technical schools (22 schools); only four private Georgia colleges are waiving their application fees.
“There is definitely a difference in impact depending on the type of school,” Ratchev said. “Usually, it is mostly public universities and technical colleges in Georgia that participate in the free application months. Additionally, technical colleges are often cheaper to apply to than universities ($20 vs $50-100).”
There are application fee subsidies on the Common App website based on income. However, for students who don’t qualify, Georgia colleges typically waive application fees in March and November.
“Many students aren’t aware that they could potentially be eligible for this fee waiver, and others may be ineligible due to their family income being too high but still be expected by their family to pay for these things,” Ratchev said. “Thankfully, most Georgia schools are free to apply at least twice a year — in November and March — but if a student wants to apply to a lot of out-of-state schools, it can get expensive.”
Junior Kate Berg is finalizing her college list, and she said application fees are a barrier she has to consider when choosing which colleges to apply to.
“Application fees greatly limit the amount of colleges I can apply to,” Berg said. “If a college doesn’t have application fees, it makes me more likely to apply because the lack of a fee allows me to apply even if I am not sure if I will go there.”
Senior Jackson Hill is applying to Georgia State and some technical colleges around Atlanta. Because of the March fee waivers, he doesn’t have to worry about application costs.
“Before the application fee waiver, I wasn’t able to afford to apply to these colleges,” Hill said. “I only applied to Georgia State after this fee was waived. More students will apply to colleges if they get rid of application fees.”
While these application fees can prohibit students from applying to a certain number of colleges, Ratchev said they are a necessary part of the college application process.
“[Waiving application fees] might enable students to apply to dozens of colleges without really taking match and fit into account,” Ratchev said. “More selective colleges would accept even fewer students than they currently do.”
Ratchev believes that even colleges should occasionally waive these fees like some Georgia colleges are doing now.
“I think application fees might be a necessary evil since they cover the cost of reviewing the applications and additionally make it more likely that only students who are seriously interested in the school will apply,” Ratchev said. “However, I do think that schools should consider lowering their fees or offering ‘free application weeks.’ If application fees didn’t exist, students who struggle to pay the fees but maybe don’t qualify for a fee waiver would be able to apply to more colleges and build a balanced list.”

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Brennan Fritts
Brennan Fritts, News Section Editor
Brennan Fritts is a sophomore and this is her first year writing for the Southerner. She enjoys volleyball and hanging out with friends.

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