ACT vs SAT: Fee Waiver Throwdown

There are many great debates in the country today: Democrat vs Republic, Charter schools vs Public schools, Robert Frost vs E.E. Cummings, Lebron vs Kobe, McDonald’s vs Burger King … the list goes on and on. We’d like to weigh in on one of the most important debates of our time: The SAT or the ACT?

College-bound students today are having this debate in numbers that their predecessors, ancestors, and older siblings never did. In part due to the ubiquity (SAT word!) of acceptance of either test, and in part due to the growing awareness of testing options, students are now more frequently asking themselves “which one should I take?” The answers are as varied as are the answers to all of the debates mentioned above, and as passionately defended. We’re going to try to be the voice of reason and help you make the decision by providing as much information and perspective as we can. There are a lot of factors that go into making this decision, from what a particular school is looking for to what subjects the student excels in, but here’s something else to consider: fee waivers.  Or more specifically, what fee waivers do and do not include. Today’s post will help you understand this often overlooked difference and how it might help make the difference for you.

SAT Fee Waiver:

  • Allows registration for two administrations of the SAT and up to two for SAT Subject Tests at no fee.
  • Fee waivers cannot be used for late registration (except for the October test) or for standby registrations.
  • Includes a total of four flexible score reports (in addition to the 4 that come with regular registration) that can be ordered any time after you register.
  • Also covers the fee for either the Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) or the Student Answer Service (SAS).
  • Offers a discount for The Official SAT Online Course if you register online.
  • Covers the international processing fee, if applicable.
  • Covers the additional security fee for students testing in Pakistan or India, if applicable.
  • Can include up to four application fee waivers at many colleges.


ACT Fee Waiver:

  • Those who are eligible may use a maximum of two separate fee waivers.
  • Only covers the basic registration fee for the ACT, including up to four college choices.
  • Does not cover late registration fee, test date or test center changes, standby fee, etc.

Fee Waiver Throwdown Verdict: The SAT definitely has the ACT beat in terms of fee waiver perks, including comprehensive benefits, score reports, and additional resources.  Check each site for eligibility requirements, and contact your high school counselor for more information!


If you want more information on the differences between the two test please sign up for one of our free events to chat with one of our test prep experts.

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