How Do You Write a Fee-Waiver Request Letter?

A fee-waiver request letter includes a detailed explanation of the reason for the request, which should be evidence of financial hardship. The explanation can include the writer’s income, the family’s income, if appropriate, and the writer’s current living situation.

People usually use a fee-waiver request letter when applying for college, though it can also be used for legal matters such as visa applications and court costs. According to, families who can illustrate financial hardship may be eligible for college-application fee waivers, especially when applying to several colleges. Students can also apply to have SAT fees waived.

A fee-waiver request letter should be accompanied by documentation of financial hardship. This can include tax forms, pay stubs or documentation of unemployment or disability. If such documentation cannot be produced, the letter should include a detailed explanation of why they aren’t available, such as loss of documents due to a fire or flood. If possible, writers should also include a police report or other document supporting their explanations, or a letter from a member in good standing in the community.

Examples of demonstration of hardship include families with students who participate in federal free or reduced-price school-lunch programs, families who receive public assistance, minors who are wards of the state or orphans and those whose annual family incomes fall within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.