"When students are applying to several institutions, it becomes very expensive," says Juliet Johnson, the college's senior associate dean of admissions. "We did not want to create a barrier to applicants."
6. If you're a go-getter: It's not too early to begin communication with college officials at your top-choice schools—and it might be worthwhile to reach out and inquire about ways to apply for free.
Stellar students with the grades to get into top colleges but who want to, for example, attend a local school with less stringent admissions standards, could contact that institution before applying, notes Allen Koh, chief executive officer of college admissions firm Cardinal Education.
"By reaching out to them, saying, 'It's my No. 1 choice; here are my GPA and my SAT scores,' ... you can actually ask them, 'Could we start with a fee waiver?'" Koh says. "It will absolutely pay off."
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.