How Much Does the ACT Cost (and Does Your School Help Cover It)?

ACT High School Teachers

How costly the entire ACT-taking process is for students depends on several factors: how many times they take the test, how many colleges they are applying to, if they qualify for ACT waivers, and so on. But one thing to keep in mind is that regardless of circumstances, all ACT testing costs are non-refundable. Below is an overview of basic ACT testing costs, as well as payment options that your school can help facilitate for students.


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General Overview of ACT Testing Costs

The official ACT website has a thorough overview of ACT testing costs, but in short, here is how everything shakes out. This chart is adapted from a great piece that also explores 2017 ACT testing costs and ACT testing cost scenarios:



Fee Waiver?

ACT Exam (no writing)



ACT Exam (with writing)



First 4 ACT score reports



5th and 6th score report add-ons

$13 (for each)


Re-register by phone



Late registration (US or Canada only)



Standby testing



International testing



Test date change



Test center change



Test information release (TIR)



Priority score report



Additional score reports



ACT Waivers

Now, let’s address what happens if students struggle with paying the ACT testing costs. Every year, the ACT issues a certain amount of money to schools to cover the cost of the ACT for eligible students. Be advised, though, that 1) the ACT is strict with its allocations and once funds run out, they’re out (meaning that waivers should be processed as early as possible), and 2) waivers are processed through schools, not through the ACT website. This means that as teachers, counselors, and administrators, you are responsible for helping students get the financial support they need.

For an in-depth explanation of who qualifies for ACT testing cost waivers and how to get them, please view the 2017 Fee Waiver Eligibility Requirements and Procedures handout. Here some quick facts on waivers:

ACT testing cost waiver eligibility

Students must meet  all  of the following requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in high school in the 11th or 12th grade.
  • Either a United States citizen or testing in the US, US territories, or Puerto Rico.
  • Meet one or more indicators of economic need listed on the ACT Fee Waiver form, linked above (for example, being enrolled in a free or reduced-lunch program, or being in foster care).

ACT testing cost waiver procedures

  • Receive fee waiver forms to your school from the ACT board during the summer. (The number of forms provided is based on last year’s usage.)
  • Request more fee waiver forms if necessary, prior to the registration date for each test.
  • Advise students in the ACT prep process and ensure that they follow through with test-taking.
  • Help students utilize the Request for Waiver or Deferral of College Admission Application Fee form in their college application process. This form can be used as many times as a student likes. However, keep in mind that it is not necessarily guaranteed to be accepted by colleges.

ACT State Vouchers

Some states offer vouchers to schools to cover the cost of ACT fees. This applies to select students who cannot afford the ACT testing costs. The ACT provides a thorough ACT state voucher overview and order form, but here are a few pieces of noteworthy information on vouchers, as found on the form:

  • The ACT Prebilled Registration Voucher can be used when a school would like to pay the regular registration fee for the ACT test for a student, or group of students.
  • Schools can order vouchers from ACT and provide them directly to those students in need of assistance.
  • Each school is responsible for determining student eligibility, informing students of vouchers, distributing vouchers, and monitoring use of vouchers.

Overall, preparedness is key for schools to help their students avoid unnecessary ACT testing costs. Whether you are helping students get financial assistance or simply helping them prepare for the test, being mindful of important deadlines, fees, and forms is critical to keeping ACT testing costs manageable for students.

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