How Much Does the SAT Cost?

2021 SAT Test Costs Explained +Plus 3 Surprise Fees to Avoid

sat-costHow Much Does it Cost to Take the SAT? Is the Price Worth It?

SAT is a college entrance test taken by students to support their college applications. The test evaluates students on knowledge acquired in high school in Math, Reading, and Writing.

The College Board sets the testing fees and price each year. Currently, the SAT costs $52 for the standard SAT test and $68 with the optional SAT essay section in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Other than the registration fees, there are a few other costs that can surprise you when you are preparing to take the SAT. Let’s explain each cost, calculate the full SAT test price, and show you how to avoid surprise fees you might not expect.


Types of SAT Test Costs

There are many different types of SAT testing fees. Some of the costs include: registration fees, late registration fees, and waitlist testing fee, change fee, phone registration fee, and score report fees.

Others include SAT Question and Answer Service fee, Multiple-choice hand score verification fee, rush order, scores by phone, archived scores order, and hand score verification fees.

Let’s take a look at each and see if they are required or avoidable.


SAT Registration Fee

The SAT registration fee is the cost you pay when registering to take the test. The cost covers all the sections, and for 2020/21, those planning to take SAT with the essay should pay $68, while taking the SAT without the essay will cost $52.

The cost includes the free score reports to four schools, provided the applicant specifies the schools when registering or within nine days from the test date.

SAT CostsFees & Price
Registration Fee without Essay$52
Registration Fee with Essay$68

It’s important to note that the College Board will stop offering the essay section unless it is part of a particular state’s accountability basement program.


Extra SAT Registration Fees

If you are lucky enough to sign up for test without any problems, you will only have to pay the fees above. Sometimes things don’t always work out that way. For example, your test date might be full, so you have to join a waitlist. You might also miss the registration deadline and have to pay a late fee.

Here’s a chart of additional SAT registration fees that cost you extra money when you take the test.

SAT Registration CostsFees & Price
Register by phone$15
Test Change fee$30
Late registration fee$30
Waitlist fee$53

How Much Does it Cost to Send SAT Scores?

It’s free to send your SAT scores to up to four colleges. Included in your SAT registration cost, you are entitled to four free score reports, which will be sent to four colleges of your choice. This is the easiest way to deliver your scores to scholarship programs and schools at no cost.

If you want to send your scores to more than four colleges, it will cost $12 to send your SAT scores to each additional college.

If you had a fee waiver, then you can send numerous score reports at no cost. But if you are delivering the scores after receiving them, you will be charged $12.

Sometimes you can request for rush service, where you want scores to be sent within one or two business days, but this costs $31. If you want archived scores to be delivered, you can request the same through email and pay $31, including additional score report fees.


SAT Score Release and Service Costs and Fees

Here’s a full list of the SAT Scoring Fees:

SAT Score CostsFees & Price
Additional score report request$12
Score Rush Order$31
Scores by Phone$15
Archived (Prior) Score Order$31
SAT Q & A Service$18
SAT Student Answer Service$13.50

SAT Phone Costs

There are two SAT phone costs that both cost $15 each and are not required to register for the test.

The register by phone fee allows students to register or re-register for the test over the phone for an additional fee.

The scores by phone fee allows students to call the College Board and receive their scores over a phone call. Keep in mind that this feature does not give you early access to your scores. You will be able to use this feature only after your scores are released online.

Here’s a chart of the SAT phone costs:

SAT Phone CostsFees & Price
Register by Phone$15
Scores by Phone$15

3 Surprise SAT Costs You Might Not Expect

There are several costs that might take you by surprise if this is your first time taking the SAT. Here’s a list of each surprise cost you should look to avoid.

SAT Surprise CostsFees & Price
Multiple-choice Hand Score Verification$55
Essay Hand Score Verification$55
Re-registration without Essay$52
Re-registration with Essay$68

Multiple-choice Hand Score Verification Fees

When you request hand scoring of multiple-choice scores, the whole sheet goes through review manually. Most importantly, you cannot request verification of scores for one section or a single of the several SAT Subject test. You will be charged $55, but a fee reduction is available. It is important to note that when you request hand score verification, you will not see your online score report.


Verification of the Essay Score Fees

The cost for hand score verification for the essay is $55, but a fee reduction is available. This verification will determine if there was an error made when processing or scanning the essay scores. If there is an error, your rectified core will be reported automatically, and you will receive a refund.


ReTesting Fees

Many people overlook the fact that most students take the SAT test more than once. Well, the students who are trying to improve their scores do. If you are planning on taking the test twice to improve your score and take advantage of the super scoring system, you will have to double your registration costs.

Thus, you will have to pay an extra $52 to take the test a second time without the essay section or $68 with the essay section.


Which SAT Fees are Refundable or Non-refundable?

You can change your mind about the registration or taking the SAT essay section at any time. Interestingly, you can ask for a refund if you don’t plan to take the SAT later. But, if you plan to take it later, you can change the test day rather than canceling the registration and then reregistering for the test. For the essay section, you can opt-out on the test date, and the amount for the essay section is refunded after the test.

Registrations are refundable five dates to the test date, and canceled registrations are refunded partially. You will get $10 back, and the refunds are processed six weeks after the test date. Similarly, score report fees are refundable only if the student is absent on the test day. Also, additional score report fees are refundable once you cancel the order within 24 hours.

However, fees paid for rush score reports are non-refundable. Student Answer Service or Question-and-Answer Service fee will only be refundable if you missed a test date or your order is yet to be fulfilled. For instance, if you had to do a makeup test or were absent, you would get a refund. All refunds are offered in the original payment form. If your school is taking part in the SAT School Day and won’t offer a test during one of the weekend test dates, you can request a transfer or cancel the registration and receive a full refund.


How Much Does the SAT Test Cost with a Fee Waiver?

In an effort to give all students access to this college admissions test, the College Board offers a fee waiver program for lower-income students who are unable to pay for the costs of the test.

If you meet certain requirements, the College Board will waive your fees and allow you to take the SAT test for free. You can find the SAT fee waiver requirements on the College Board website.


SAT Total Price

The total cost to take the SAT differs for everyone because there are so many different fees associated with it, but registration is mandatory, and it costs $52 if you are taking SAT without the essay and $68 if you are taking the essay section.

However, registration-related fees can bump up the costs. Although the extra services can be helpful in some circumstances, it is vital to incur them only when necessary.


Is the SAT Test Worth the Price?

SAT evaluates student readiness for college and offers a common data point for comparing applicants. Therefore, taking the SAT is vital for your college admission as colleges use your score to determine if you qualify for admission and take particular programs. If you retake the test, the cost of retaking is worth it because sometimes colleges use superscore, which is the sum of high scores in the sections, to make admission decisions.

Also, the SAT can be your ticket to securing a scholarship since most merit-based scholarship programs take SAT scores seriously. You can opt in to through your answer sheet or the College Board account by answering some questions such as college major so that universities offering that major can give you scholarship opportunities. Equally, some colleges offer scholarships based on SAT scores, thus sitting and acing the SAT will make you eligible.

Similarly, SAT scores can help in balancing a lower GPA. For instance, if you have a low GPA, taking SAT and scoring strongly can demonstrate your potential, which the GPA might not have shown. This way, you will show the college admission board how far you have improved academically throughout your school years.

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