Sunday, November 25, 2007

Application Fees?



TK asks: "Below is a question about Columbia's application process. I'm sure the question-asker would appreciate any insights. In addition, I have a question: $100-$120 sounds outrageous to me. Are there any other programs that ask for application fees in this range? Thanks."


I recently finished my undergrad and am applying to several MFA programs in creative writing, with a fiction concentration. On Columbia University's website it states: "In order to establish an admissions file, we must receive an application and payment ($100 for online applications and $120 for paper applications). Materials or the application fee alone cannot be used to open an admissions file, and we cannot be responsible for transcripts, letters, or other documents received before your file is open." Does the above statement mean that if my letters of recommendation arrive before my full application and payment that they will be discarded by Columbia if my file is not yet "open"? I'm currently abroad on a Fulbright and therefore asked my recommenders to send the letters directly to the schools rather than overseas to me because of possible time-crunches and mail complications. Any help would be appreciated.

17 comments:

Lincoln said...

It sounds like they are saying that if they don't have an account open they can't be held accountable for any random mail they receive, such as letters of recommendation. I don't think you have to have your recommender send the letter to you first, just that they need to send them at some point after the account has been started.

However, it is possible this is just legal mumbo jumbo to make sure no one holds them accountable for mail they get before there are accounts... they might still hold on to any they get. I doubt they'd just throw it out. I'd call the School of the Arts and ask someone there if you are concerned.

Also, if you have any other questions about Columbia feel free to email me or post another question here.

All best,
Lincoln

Elizabeth said...

$100 sounds like way too much to me. I'm applying to a dozen programs, and none of them go above $75. Most range somewhere between $40-$60, and some of those are what I'd consider "upper level" schools (U. Mich., U Mass., Hollins, etc.).

Ray said...

Actually, I believe Hunter College in NY charges about $125 for their graduate school application.

Don't ask me why...


-Raina

Seth Abramson said...

That application fee, much like Columbia's inability or unwillingness to fund most of its students--despite the school's astronomical tuition costs--is absolutely outrageous.

I guess my point would be, anyone daunted by the $120 needed to apply to Columbia will really be surprised when they get their financial aid "award" and first tuition bill.

Best,
Seth

Sean said...

Application fees are a nightmare. However, something to think about -- many schools will waive the fee if you meet the need requirements. Basically if you're eligible for a Pell Grant, people will (if asked nicely) do back flips for you. Of the 6 schools i was applying to: USM, UMass, UNH, Univ of Va, U of Washington, and Emerson, the only one who wouldn't waive the fee was Emerson and that took Emerson off the list. Also, you can get a one-time fee waiver for the GREs... all assuming you're as dirt-poor as i am.

The other thing you can do too, is call Columbia. i've found you can tell a lot about a program by the way their administrative staff fields questions.

Amanda said...

Another college with a very high application fee is Brooklyn College - $125 also. Seeing as Hunter and Columbia are also up there (and I think NYU is $90, can't remember), it may be a New York school thing. Enough people want to go to those schools, they know they can charge those fees and people will still pay them.
That being said, it does say something if just the application fee is that high. Remember things like the cost of living once you are in a program, books, tuition, loan payments, transportation and parking fees. I would anticipate future pricey fees if the app is that high.

Victorya said...

All the CUNY schools - City College, Brooklyn, hunter, etc. have 125$ app fees. It's nuts!

Lincoln said...

Columbia's 100 dollar fee is definitly above average. But as some people have noted, there are schools with 125 dollar fees and when I applied I remember some outside of NYC with 80 and 90 dollar fees.

Ray said...

Like Sean said, I would also contact schools and request fee waivers. I work at my undergraduate school's Graduate Admissions Office and many times if you submit a request with a copy of your GRE fee waiver, you may be eligible.

I wouldn't bother asking Columbia for a fee waiver, they don't give them. This is from their website:

"I can't afford the application fee. Can I get a fee waiver?

No. All applicants must pay the application fee of $100 (or $120 for those submitting paper applications); there are no exemptions."

Good luck.

-Raina

Wild Orchid said...

It's common practice for many universities not to keep incoming admissions materials before a file is created for an applicant.

I wouldn't recommend having admissions materials (letters of recommendation, etc.) sent before you have applied. Since you are abroad, could you have them sent to a US P.O box or relative, for safekeeping in the meantime?

It could save you a lot of headaches later.

Good luck,
Faith

Cory, 2700 A.D. said...

RE: The above comment...

So, I gave my recommenders plenty of time to submit the recs, and they mailed them in about two weeks ago. I haven't done any applications, since I'm fine-tuning everything as much as I can. Do I have to start making phone calls?

Pensive495 said...

Cory, I can't speak for every program but I called University of Pittsburgh today in regard to receiving recommendations first. They said that a file would be started once your application arrived, and that if there was no file for a letter yet, it would simply be set aside until they received your application. I talked to another institution awhile back and got the same answer, but it may be individual to the program. If you're unsure, just give a few of your programs a call. Hope I could help.

Erin said...

The thing to remember about the CUNY schools is that even though their application fee is $125, their tuition rates are considerably lower than other places, especially the other New York schools.

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