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Application Fee

To apply for admission, the application fee is $95 and is non-refundable.

You may submit payment by credit or debit card. If using a debit card, the card must have an associated credit card logo. The application system only accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.


As of December 16, 2023, The Graduate School has provided the maximum number of application fee waivers we were allowed for the 2023-2024 application cycle. As a result, no additional applicants, including those who meet our criteria stated on this page, will be able to receive an application fee waiver through The Graduate School. If you are unable to apply to one of The Graduate School's PhD or MFA programs without an application fee waiver, we encourage you to review the criteria on this page for the 2024-2025 application cycle to see if you qualify and to apply as early as possible once the 2024-2025 application opens in fall 2024. Please note this criteria is subject to change.

Application Fee Waivers 

For Domestic Applicants & U.S. Citizens:

The Graduate School (TGS) is able to provide a limited number of fee waivers* to eligible applicants who meet the following criteria:

  1. Started an application for a TGS PhD or MFA program
  2. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  3. Identification as at least one of the following:
    1. A first-generation college student (neither of your parents/guardians have obtained a bachelor's degree)
    2. A low-income individual as defined by the U.S. Department of Education
    3. Participation in any of the following programs:
      1. Big Ten Alliance (SROP Program)
      2. Fisk to Vanderbilt Bridge Program
      3. Graduate Horizons for Native American Students
      4. Gates Millennium Scholars
      5. National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Sciences (GEM)
      6. HSI Pathways Fellows
      7. IMSD-Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
      8. Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship (IDDEAS)
      9. Northwestern Introduction to Graduate Education (IGEN)
      10. Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)
      11. MARC-Minority Access to Research Careers
      12. Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MMUF)
      13. NNE National Name Exchange
      14. The PhD Project
      15. Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)
      16. Ronald E. McNair Scholars
    4. A veteran or current member of the U.S. Armed Forces

*TGS strives to support as many eligible applicants as possible. There may be some cases, however, where TGS may not be able to grant application fee waiver requests from all eligible applicants due to the volume of requests we receive. As a result, we encourage applicants to submit their applications as soon as possible, since application fee waiver requests are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Steps to take in our application form (if eligible):
  1. If you indicate you are a first-generation college student, a veteran or a current member of the Armed Forces, or participated in one of the programs listed above, you will see this question on the Background Information page (page 5) of the application:  "Do you meet the criteria listed on our Application Fee website?" Select “Yes” to the question.
  2. Finalize your application.
  3. Once you click "Submit" on your application, you will automatically bypass the payment page.  
    1. Complete the form and click on the “Apply for Waiver” button.

For low-income eligible individuals:

  1. On the payment page, select “Request a Fee Waiver for Low-Income Individuals.”
  2. Click on "Continue." This will bring you to a page entitled “Application for Graduate Admission.”
  3. Complete the form and click on the “Apply for Waiver” button.

You will be notified via email within three business days if your request was approved or denied. If your fee waiver request is denied, you will be required to return to the application to submit payment information.