What Are Tuition Waivers?

A tuition waiver is a cancellation of college tuition and fees for eligible students, usually only for public schools. Waivers allow students to attend college when they otherwise would not be able to. Financial aid offices can provide students with information about available tuition waivers at their school and assist them in applying for them. Even if students believe they do not qualify, it is always a good idea to ask.

Many regions offer low-income students tuition waiver programs, allowing them to attend public colleges and universities without paying fees as long as their incomes are below a certain threshold. Certain groups of people may also be eligible; in the United States, for example, American Indians, veterans, and blind students frequently receive free education at public institutions. Foster children may be eligible for tuition waivers in some states, and there may be additional programs in place to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds pay for college.

The student must complete the application paperwork and provide documentation in order to receive a tuition waiver. For an American Indian, for example, information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs confirming the student’s tribal affiliation and status would be required. Similarly, veterans require letters from the government containing information about their service and discharge status; dishonorably discharged military personnel are typically ineligible for benefits such as tuition waivers.

Tuition waivers can either cover tuition only or tuition and fees. Students still require financial assistance to cover their living expenses. They may be eligible for other types of financial aid, such as grants and loans, and can talk to a financial aid counselor about their options. Tuition waivers for faculty and staff, as well as their children, are available at many public colleges and universities. If their parents are college students or university employees, they may want to inquire about such programs if they are concerned about cost.

Tuition waivers are sometimes available at private educational institutions. Some private organizations help needy students pay for college, and colleges may have internal scholarship programs for low-income students or members of minority groups. Students who are concerned about the cost of a private education can speak with a financial aid counselor about their options. These schools may also offer fee waivers for their applications, and students should inquire about tuition assistance programs and financial aid while requesting a waiver.