Financial Support for ACT Exams


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Diana Baeza, Personality Perfectionist

Shaking. Sweating. Writing. Reading. Panicking. The ACT is an academic exam that consists of English, mathematics, reading, science and an optional writing section. The four hour long exam is used by the majority of colleges and universities for admission decisions. Parkway’s ACT test is given to juniors in the spring for free; however, the cost to retake it at a later date is $60, including other possible fees. As the exam is already stress-inducing, the cost may be troublesome for some students. Luckily, the ACT offers a fee waiver program for students who are eligible.

“The fee waiver is something that students [can be] provided [with], if they qualify for it. The student has to fit in one of these requirements: be enrolled in a free or reduced lunch program at school or if they qualify for low income, in general. [There is a] sliding scale based on how many people are in your family and then what your income is of that family,” said college and career counselor Katie Meyer.

The student needs to meet all of these requirements and currently be enrolled in 11th or 12th grade and is testing within the United States.  Additionally, due to the pandemic, if a family member has lost their job, that student may still receive a fee waiver.

“The ACT is up to $60 and that is really a hindrance for some families. Especially for our low-income families. It is not fair because [a couple of] students can take the ACT multiple times because they can afford to. We want to make sure that the playing field is fair,” said Meyer.

A student can qualify for a fee waiver for up to four ACT exams. In total, those exams would be $240 without the fee waiver.  

“It is something that we don’t automatically do. A student or a family member would have to reach out to me or their other counselors to [notify us about the possible] hindrance for that student to take the test or apply to college,” said Meyer.

There are also college application fee waivers available for students, as well as reduced prices for AP exams and dual credit classes. 

“[The fee waiver] covers everything when it comes to the ACT. With college applications, it will cover the whole thing. The only time it doesn’t cover everything is for a dual credit class because that is up to the college and the AP exam,” said Meyer.

“It is nice to offer that to kids,” said English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher, Tricia Frank. “The parent’s income should have no reflection on if they can take that test again.”

Frank advises students to make connections with at least one other adult within the school to help with  assistance.

“I have seen students fall down because they don’t know that they had that access,” said Frank. “People are people and we need to find a way to help kids in need. We don’t always see them as just a body [a student], unless we know their story.”