How much the SAT costs (and what you can do to make it cheaper)

Unfortunately, the SAT isn’t free, and you make be wondering exactly how much the SAT costs. There are a variety of costs and fees associated with the SAT, both to register and with the other services the College Board provides. Many of which you will undoubtedly have to make use of during your college application process. In this post, we’ll discuss both how much the SAT costs, and the various means students have available to them to lessen that financial burden. In some cases you can even make it outright free!

First, let’s breakdown all the associated costs with taking the SAT:

Registration Costs:

As of the 2019-2020 school year, the base cost for the SAT is $5

and the SAT with Essay is $68. These are the prices if you sign up regularly (on-time and either online or by mail), but additional registration fees incur if you sign up a different way. Those fees include:

Register By Phone: Signing up for the SAT over the phone costs an additional $15. This option is only available for students who have previously registered for the SAT, however. (First time applicants have to sign up either online or by mail)

Late Registration Fee: For registering after a particular test’s given registration deadline the fee is $30.

Change Fee: If you need to change either your test date or test center for any reason, there is a $30 change fee.

Waitlist Fee: If you miss all registration deadlines for a test, you can still sign up for the waitlist. The cost is an additional $53, but you are only charged if you are admitted to the test on test day.

Other Costs:

Registration is just one piece of the puzzle for how much the SAT costs. There are other fees associated with the different services the SAT provides, many of which you will undoubtedly incur if applying to colleges.

Registration Score Reports: While your first four score reports sent to colleges are free (at most 9 days after your test date), additional reports (or ones requested outside of that date range) cost $12. Note, you probably will end up having to pay this fee at least once as most students take the SAT well before they know which colleges they are applying to. There are fee waivers potentially available for these reports however, which we’ll talk about later.

Score Report Rush Order: If you need a score report rush ordered (like if you need it to a specific college by a registration deadline) the cost is $31 on top of the usual $12 for score reports.

Score by Phone: If you wish to receive your scores over the phone, the cost is $15.

Archived Scores: If you need scores older than more than four years ago from today’s calendar date, the cost is $31 on top of the usual $12 for score reports.

SAT Question-and-Answer Service: Typical score reports do not include a breakdown of both the actual test questions and which ones you got right/wrong, but they can be purchased for an additional $18.

A Q&A report is available for $18.

SAT Answer Service: If you just want a breakdown of your answers (and not the questions as well) that report can be purchased for $13.50.

Multiple-Choice Hand Score Verification: If for some reason you think there was an error with the grading of your multiple choice section, you can request it to be graded by hand for $55. If you order hand score verification, you will no longer see your online score report nor will you have access to both the Question-and-Answer and Answer services.

Essay Hand Score Verification: Similarly, if you think there was an error on the scoring of the essay portion of your SAT, for $55 you can have it reviewed. If an error is found, your fee will be refunded.

How To Make the SAT Process Cheaper (Or Even Free):

There are a few different avenues students and parents can pursue based on their individual circumstances that will lessen the cost of the SAT and CollegeBoard’s other services, or even make them outright free.

Fee Waiver:

The most common type of discount is the SAT Fee Waiver, which if granted, provides several free SATs and other services at no cost. Below are the full benefits:

  • 2 free SATs, with or without essay
  • 6 free SAT Subject Tests
  • 2 free Question-and-Answer Service or Student Answer Service (SAS) reports
  • Unlimited score reports
  • No application fees at participating colleges
  • Free CSS Profile applications to apply for financial aid from participating schools
  • Fee reductions for score verification
  • No late registration fees for free tests (if you’re in the U.S. or U.S. territories)
  • In order to qualify for a fee waiver, students must meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • You’re enrolled in or eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
  • Your annual family income is within the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Income Eligibility Guidelines.
  • You are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that helps students from low-income families.
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in public housing, a foster home, or are unhoused.
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan

Make sure to talk with your school counselor if you are unsure whether you qualify, or need help with the application process. If you are home schooled, you can always contact a counselor at a local high school for help.

Taking the Test Offered By Your School Junior Year:

Some states offer either a free SAT or ACT for public school students, usually once during their junior year. Here is a list of states that provide such a service for the SAT:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Check out the free offerings at your school!

Always double check with your high school counselor about the kind of offerings your school has around the SAT, so you can have a clear picture of how much the SAT costs. If you go to a private or charter school for example, your individual school may offer financial help for the SAT that public schools may not.

College Access and Readiness Programs:

There are a variety of programs across the US that offer resources (financial and otherwise) related to applying for college. Here is a link to the National Association of College Admission Counseling’s Directory of College Access & Success Programs. There, you can search by city and state for programs in your area that may be able to help!


And that’s it! Now you have detailed information on how much the SAT costs. That is a brief overview on the fees associated with the SAT and how you might avoid them. As always, you and your college counselor know your individual financial situation the best and our your best resource on whether or not you qualify for financial aid on the SAT! Contact a Student Success Advisor at Testive for a free consultation. Need extra practice? Sign up for a free practice test today!



By |2020-06-15T16:51:35+00:00June 15th, 2020|SAT, Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Luke has been tutoring standardized tests for a little under four years now. He’s worked with countless students of varying learning styles, academic levels, and personalities. His experience has given a tool belt of strategies and methodologies needed to help any student succeed! When not tutoring, he is a comedian and filmmaker living in beautiful Los Angeles, California.