The MCAT and AMAS application is far from free, but before you pay, you need to make sure of one thing — are you eligible for a fee reduction or waiver?
So many premeds neglect the opportunity to reduce the cost of their MCAT exam and application, usually because they are simply unaware. With this article, I hope to spread the word so more students take advantage of paying less if they’re able to.
How Do You Sign Up?
Right on the AAMC website, there are instructions to apply for their Fee Assistance Program. You should first review the eligibility requirements to see if you qualify. The AAMC writes that “you will be granted fee assistance if each household reported on your application has a 2014 total family income that is 300 percent or less than the 2014 national poverty level for that family size.” You must also be a U.S. citizen, U.S. National, or must possess a green card.
If you’re eligible, there are quite a few benefits:
- Reduced MCAT fees from $300 to $115.
- A free Official Guide to the MCAT, Fourth Edition which comes with practice products (a $125 value).
- A max of $500 towards a medical or psycho-educational evaluation if required for any MCAT test-taking accommodations.
- Free access to the Medical School Admission Requirement website until December 31st of that year.
- Waives all AMCAS fees for up to 15 medical schools for one test application submission.
Your benefits expire exactly a year after you are approved.
The one downside — obtaining a Fee Waiver can take a long time. You are wise to apply for Fee Waiver very early in your application cycle, so that you can obtain it well before you submit your AMCAS. Don’t forget, you want to submit your AMCAS early in June of your application year.
What about Secondaries?
Generally, secondary fees cannot be waived through AMCAS. However, if you are signed up for the Fee Assistance Program, there have been schools that, based on this, also waive secondary fees for their applicants who need it. If there is an issue paying, I would suggest emailing your school admissions and requesting a reduction or elimination of fees — you have nothing to lose!
I have an ebook called “How to Go to Medical School For Free” that’s worth a read if you’re concerned about finances during medical school.