Personal Finance

Centsible Saver: College saving in NC starts with application fees

Editor’s note: For daily tips on saving money, check out the Centsible Saver blog on Amy Dunn writes every day about coupons, saving money and frugal living. Below are recent excerpts from her blog.

Monday is the start of College Application Week in North Carolina, which can mean big savings to households with a high school senior in the family.

Thirty-one private colleges and universities in North Carolina and three state universities will waive application fees for all high school seniors who apply by Friday, Nov. 14.

The savings are substantial. Pressing the button on a college application these days can range from $40 to as much as $85.

Last year, more than 27,000 North Carolina high school students submitted more than 73,000 applications during the five-day College Application Week, said Tracey Ford, assistant vice president for academic and student affairs for the University of North Carolina system.

This year, more than 500 high schools and community centers across the state have registered to participate in the program. Volunteers at those sites will help guide students through the application process. The flood of applications is funneled through the College Foundation of North Carolina.

“We promote it the whole fall season,” said Brent Sauls, dean of student services at Broughton High School in Raleigh.

Students don’t have to do their applications at school to take advantage of the savings on application fees. The only requirement is that students create a profile on and apply through the site, Ford said.

For more information, see

Below are a few more tips for trimming costs during college application season so you’ll have more in savings once the first tuition bill comes due.

• Research schools to see if they are a good fit


applying. Look at the profile of the most recently admitted freshman class to see if the average GPA and class rank are comparable to your student’s achievements. Check out college websites and reach out to alumni groups in the area. Encourage your child to talk to friends and family who are alumni. Applying to three to five schools “is probably a pretty good range,” Sauls said.

• Encourage students to sign up for college rep visits to their high schools, which can trim the number of costly visits to far-flung university campuses. At Broughton this year, more than 90 colleges have visited the high school. “They have the opportunity to see community colleges to the Ivy Leagues,” Sauls said.

• Applications to the state’s community colleges are always free.

• Throughout the school year, students with financial need can apply for fee waivers for both college applications and college testing through their high school counselors.

• Take advantage of other freebies – such as sending SAT and ACT test scores directly to schools. Students can designate up to four schools when they register to take the tests. Fail to do this and you’ll pay $11.25 for each SAT score you send to a school. ACT score reports will set you back $12 each.

For military personnel

In honor of Veterans Day, Triangle businesses will be saluting men and women who have served our country. Free haircuts, lots of free food and multiple grocery discounts are on the calendar.

Great Clips, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Golden Corral, McCormick & Schmick, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Publix are among the participating retailers.

Most, but not all, of the offers are valid on Tuesday, Nov. 11. For a complete list, go to the Centsible Saver blog.