Elon waives application fees for state residents through N.C. Countdown to College initiative

Through Oct. 30, N.C. students can apply for free to Elon along with more than 40 other colleges and the universities in the state.

Elon University is waiving application fees for N.C. students through Oct. 30 as part of N.C. Countdown to College, a statewide initiative to support access to colleges and universities around the state.

Elon is one of more than 40 public and private colleges and universities around North Carolina who allow high school seniors and other residents to apply for free during the College Application Week period, which has been expanded to two weeks this year. The initiative leads up to the Nov. 1 deadline for Early Action applications at Elon.

“While Elon enrolls students from 48 states, North Carolina continues to contribute the largest number of students year after year”, said Greg Zaiser, Elon’s vice president for enrollment. “This is our home, and fostering strong enrollment from throughout the state is important to us as an institution. These students are a critical part of Elon’s identity,  and the N.C. Countdown to College program allows us to support their pursuit of an Elon education.”

What has become N.C. Countdown to College was originally launched in 2005 as an effort to assist high school students with the college application process, and the effort has expanded with support from the College Foundation of North Carolina and the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The initiative now includes events throughout October to support high school seniors in completing three college enrollment steps: residency, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applications. The application fee waiver by Elon and other schools is just one facet of N.C. Countdown to College.

Kimberly Romero, assistant director of diversity recruitment, said Elon is again excited to participate in N.C. Countdown to College as part of the university’s efforts to improve access, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when families are struggling. Even before the pandemic, college application costs could present a barrier to many students and their families, Romero said.

“It is great news that we are able to participate in N.C. Countdown to College this year,” Romero said. “The application cost really does make a difference for a lot of families.”

To take advantage of the fee waiver, prospective students can submit their application through the College Foundation of North Carolina’s application hub, through the Common App or through the Elon Application. The fee waiver is only available to students applying Early Action or Regular Decision. It is available to N.C. students seeking to transfer to Elon as well.

Elon’s participation in N.C. Countdown to College comes as the university has expanded efforts to recruit a more diverse pool of prospective students. New this year are virtual efforts The Black Advance and ¡Viva Elon! The Black Advance highlights Black student success at Elon while connecting prospective students with current students, faculty, staff and alumni while ¡Viva Elon! highlights Latinx/Hispanic student success while connecting prospective students with current students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“We are so excited to be a part of this statewide effort and to provide this benefit for students around the state,” Romero said. “We know it can make all the difference.”

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Additionally, Elon is in year one of a three-year pilot test-optional program that gives prospective students a choice about whether to include scores from the SAT or ACT tests as part of their applications for admission. At the conclusion of the pilot, the university will evaluate student success at the university and determine if the change will become permanent. In piloting this change, Elon seeks to mitigate the disruption from testing cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic while recognizing that other factors such as a high school GPA serve as better predictors of college success than standardized test scores.