2020 SAT Costs, Fees and Waivers

Learn How Much You'll Pay to Take the SAT and Report Your Scores to Colleges

Focused male college student taking test at desk in classroom
You're likely to spend more on the SAT than you think. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards / Getty Images

The cost of the SAT exam for the 2020 academic year is $49.50 for the basic exam and $64.50 for the SAT with Essay. There are also many other services and fees associated with the exam, so it is not unusual for college applicants to spend much more than $100 to take the SAT. 

The table below presents the costs, fees, and waiver eligibility for the various SAT services offered by the College Board.

SAT Costs, Fees, and Waiver Availability

Product/Service Cost Fee Waiver
SAT Exam $49.50 Yes
SAT Exam with Essay $64.50 Yes
SAT Subject Test Registration $26 Yes
Each SAT Subject Test $22 Yes
Language Test with Listening $26 Yes
Register by Phone $15 No
Exam Change Fee $30 No
Late Registration Fee $30 No
Waitlist Fee (if admitted) $53 No
First Four SAT Score Reports $0
Additional SAT Score Reports $12 Yes
Rush Service for Score Reports $31 No
Getting SAT Scores by Phone $15 No
Retrieving Old SAT Scores $31 No
Question-and-Answer Service $18 Yes
Student Answer Service $13.50 Yes
Multiple-Choice Score Verification $55 Partial
Essay Score Verification $55 Partial

International students have an additional registration fee depending on where they live. All other SAT costs are the same as above.

International Fees by Region (Added to the Above Costs)

Region Regional Fee
Sub-Saharan Africa $43
North Africa $47
South & Central Asia $49
East Asia/Pacific $53
Middle East $47
Americas $43
Europe and Eurasia $43

Total Costs of the SAT

Your true cost for the SAT depends, of course, on what services you choose, how many schools you are applying to, and how many times you take the exam. Use the following scenarios to get a sense of what your own costs might be.

Scenario 1: Julia is applying to seven universities, a fairly typical number of selective schools to apply to. None of her chosen schools require the SAT Writing Exam or SAT Subject Tests, so she did not take these. Like many applicants, she took the SAT itself once in the spring of her junior year and again in the fall of her senior year. Julia's cost includes two exams at $49.50 each and three score reports, above the first four that are free, at $12 each. Julia's Total Cost: $135.

Scenario 2: Carlos is an ambitious student applying to some of the country's top universities. To increase his chances of getting an acceptance letter from one of these selective schools, he is applying to 10 institutions. Some of his chosen universities require both the SAT Writing Exam and multiple SAT Subject Tests. He chose to take the U.S. History and Biology-M on one test date and Literature and Mathematics Level 2 on another test date. Like Julia, Carlos also took the regular SAT exam twice. His total cost will be two SAT with Essay exams at $64.50 each, four SAT Subject Tests at $22 each, two Subject Test registrations at $26 each, and six additional score reports at $12 each. Carlos's Total Cost: $341.

Total Costs of Applying to College

As evidenced by Julia and Carlos' situations, the total cost of taking the SAT can rise quickly, especially for those taking the exam multiple times and/or opting to add to the standard exam. Carlos' total cost is not unusual for students applying to selective schools. In addition, some applicants choose to take both the ACT and the SAT—high achieving students even take multiple AP exams on top of that. ACT costs are comparable to those of the SAT general exam.

The costs of college begin even before a student sets foot on campus. Students applying to top-tier colleges and universities might spend close to $1000 on standardized testing by the end of the admissions process. Add to that the cost of application fees and travel when visiting colleges, and it makes sense that many students and their families struggle to pay for it all.

How to Get SAT Fees Waived

The good news is that the College Board recognizes that the cost of testing can be a true hardship for low-income students, even preventing some from being able to apply for college at all. The registration fees, exam costs, and score reports for both the SAT and SAT Subject Tests can be waived if you meet certain income eligibility requirements. If your family receives public assistance, you are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, you live in a foster home, or your family income is below a specified level, you probably qualify for a fee waiver. Learn if your family is eligible on the College Board website. If you don't qualify for waivers from the College Board but can't afford the fees, you can always check with your high school. Some schools have budgets set aside to assist students with standardized testing costs.

You'll find that college application fees and ACT fees also have waiver options, so if your family's income is low, you'll have lots of options for saving money during the college admissions process.

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Grove, Allen. "2020 SAT Costs, Fees and Waivers." ThoughtCo, Oct. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/sat-costs-fees-and-waivers-4121675. Grove, Allen. (2020, October 29). 2020 SAT Costs, Fees and Waivers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/sat-costs-fees-and-waivers-4121675 Grove, Allen. "2020 SAT Costs, Fees and Waivers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/sat-costs-fees-and-waivers-4121675 (accessed March 31, 2023).