SOPHAS Fee Assistance Program

Attention applicants – the SOPHAS fee waiver portal is closed, and no more fee waivers will be awarded for the 2016-2017 cycle.

A limited number of fee waivers are available through SOPHAS’ Fee Assistance Program. They are given out to qualified applicants until no more remain for the cycle. There are two types of fee waivers available which applicants may apply for:

Financial-Based Fee Waivers

These are available to applicants who meet certain requirements based upon income level and size of family.

Service Organization Participation Fee Waivers

There are available to applicants who are:

  • Active AmeriCorps volunteers
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Peace Corps In-Country volunteers
  • McNair Scholars
  • Leadership Alliance members
  • Vietnam Education Foundation members
  • International applicants meeting certain citizenship and residency requirements

Applicants are only eligible to apply for ONE waiver. Please read more about each of these waiver types below.

TIME FRAME FOR APPLYING

You may request a fee waiver as soon as you have created a SOPHAS Application. Only a limited amount of funds are available for SOPHAS to use for granting fee waiver requests, and once these funds run out, SOPHAS will not honor any further fee waiver requests. You can contact customer service to inquire if waivers are still available before submitting a fee assistance request.

However, once you are approved for a fee waiver, you are REQUIRED to submit your application to SOPHAS within 14 DAYS (including holidays and weekends) after you are approved. If you fail to submit your SOPHAS application, your fee waiver will be voided and awarded to another applicant. You will NOT be allowed to reapply for a waiver should yours expire, nor will SOPHAS grant any kind of extension on your waiver expiration, so be sure you are ready to submit your application or close to ready before applying for one.

FINANCIAL-BASED FEE WAIVERS (click to expand)

Financial based fee waivers are worth $135 each and cover the initial application fee and allow applicants to apply to ONE SCHOOL OR PROGRAM ONLY. If an applicant receives a fee waiver and wishes to apply to more than one school or program, they are still responsible for the additional fees of $50 per school or program.

FINANCIAL-BASED WAIVER REQUIREMENTS:

To be considered for a financial-based fee waiver, you must have a filed 2015 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. If you are still claimed as a dependent by a parent or guardian, SOPHAS requires that individual’s Federal Income Tax Return instead of your own.

To qualify for a fee waiver, the adjusted gross income listed on the submitted 2015 tax return must fall below the Low-Income Level determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the chart below. Please note that the “size of family” indicates the number of people claimed as dependents on that tax report.

LOW INCOME LEVELS FOR AY 2016-2017 AWARDS *

Size of Family ** Income Level ***
1 $23,760

* The low income level is based on 200 percent of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines. It is used to determine what constitutes a low-income family for the purposes of the SDS, and LDS programs for the Academic Year 2016-2017.

** Size of family means the number of exemptions listed on the qualified income tax return forms. For example, a family size of “4″ may include two parents and two dependents.

*** Income Level refers to the ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME stated on the 2015 filed federal income tax return 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ.

2 $32,040
3 $40,320
4 $48,600
5 $56,880
6 $65,160
7 $73,460
8 $81,780
For each additional person add: $8,040

FINANCIAL BASED FEE WAIVER APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply for a SOPHAS fee waiver, please follow the steps below:

Start your SOPHAS Application

Create a SOPHAS Application. You can NOT apply for a fee waiver prior to creating an account with SOPHAS.

Determine When to Apply For Your Waiver

Fee waivers are only valid for 14 DAYS (including holidays and weekends) after you are approved, so be sure you are ready to submit your application or close to ready before applying for one. However, they are also limited, so please consider all of these factors while deciding when to apply.

Complete and Submit Your Fee Assistance Application

Click your name in the upper right hand corner of your SOPHAS application. Select “Fee Assistance Program” to bring up the Fee Assistance Application.  You must then select that you wish to apply for a financial-based waiver. You will need a copy your filed 2015 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. REMEMBER: If you are still claimed as a dependent by a parent or guardian on the 2015 form, SOPHAS requires that individual’s Federal Income Tax Return instead of your own.

On this page you will be asked to list your size of family and your ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME listed on your 2015 filed Federal 1040 tax form. You will then be asked to upload a scanned copy of your 1040.

IMPORTANT: All Fee Assistance Applications must be submitted to SOPHAS electronically via your online application. SOPHAS will NOT accept fee waiver applications by paper mail or e-mail. DO NOT MAIL FEE WAIVER REQUESTS TO SOPHAS as they will NOT be considered.

Await Notification

DO NOT e-submit your SOPHAS application until you have been notified as to whether or not you have been approved to receive a SOPHAS fee waiver. If you e-submit prior to notification, your fee waiver application will be denied. It can take up to 10 business days from the date your request is submitted for your application to be processed by SOPHAS and a response issued. You will receive notification regarding the status of your fee waiver request via a message sent to both your e-mail address and your SOPHAS Application Inbox.

Submit Your Application and Pay Via Credit Card

Once you have been approved for a SOPHAS fee waiver you will have 14 days (including weekends and holidays) to submit your application. If you do not submit your application within that time frame, your fee waiver will be voided and the funds will be allocated to another qualifying applicant and you may not reapply. Please note that SOPHAS does not need to receive any outstanding transcripts, references, or test scores within the 14 day window; all that is required to claim the fee waiver is that you have e-submitted the application and made your payment.

SERVICE-BASED FEE WAIVERS (click to expand)

Participants who participated in certain service based organizations are eligible to receive service-based fee waivers. To apply for a service-based fee waiver, please follow the steps below:

Start your SOPHAS Application

Create a SOPHAS Application so you will be given a SOPHAS ID#.

Determine When to Apply For Your Waiver

Fee waivers are only valid for 14 DAYS (including holidays and weekends) after you are approved, so be sure you are ready to submit your application or close to ready before applying for one. However, they are also limited, so please consider all of these factors while deciding when to apply.

Complete and Submit Your Fee Assistance Application

Click your name in the upper right hand corner of your SOPHAS application. Select “Fee Assistance Program” to bring up the Fee Assistance Application.  You must then select that you wish to apply for a service-based waiver. Select your service program from the drop-down menu, and upload the proper document associated with the following:

AmeriCorps Members Form: submit to your AmeriCorps Supervisor and upload completed document.

Gates Millennium Scholar Form: submit to the Senior Relationship Manager, GMS Leadership Development Program. Upload completed document.

McNair Scholar Form: submit to your McNair Scholar program administrator and upload completed document.

Peace Corps Volunteer Form: submit to your Certifying Officer and upload completed document.

Vietnam Education Foundation Form: submit to your Certifying Officer and upload completed document.

Leadership Alliance:  No form; submit your SOPHAS ID# to the the Leadership Alliance program administrator and they will provide you with a Special Program Fee Waiver Confirmation letter to upload.

IMPORTANT: All service forms must be submitted to SOPHAS electronically via your online application. SOPHAS will NOT accept these forms by paper mail or e-mail. DO NOT MAIL SERVICE FORMS TO SOPHAS as they will NOT be considered.

Await Notification

DO NOT e-submit your SOPHAS application until you have been notified as to whether or not you have been approved to receive a SOPHAS fee waiver. If you e-submit prior to notification, your fee waiver application will be denied. It can take up to 10 business days from the date your request is submitted for your application to be processed by SOPHAS and a response issued. You will receive notification regarding the status of your fee waiver request via a message sent to both your e-mail address and your SOPHAS Application Inbox.

Submit Your Application and Pay Via Credit Card

Once you have been approved for a SOPHAS fee waiver you will have 14 days (including weekends and holidays) to submit your application. If you do not submit your application within that time frame, your fee waiver will be voided and the funds will be allocated to another qualifying applicant and you may not reapply. Please note that SOPHAS does not need to receive any outstanding transcripts, references, or test scores within the 14 day window; all that is required to claim the fee waiver is that you have e-submitted the application and made your payment.

INTERNATIONAL FEE WAIVERS (click to expand)

Applicants who are citizens of and currently reside in one of the following countries on the United Nations Least Developed Countries List (as of May 2016) are eligible to receive an international fee waiver.  To apply for a international fee waiver, please follow the steps below:

Start your SOPHAS Application

Create a SOPHAS Application so you will be given a SOPHAS ID#.

Determine If You Qualify

To be eligible for a SOPHAS International Fee Waiver, you must be a citizen AND currently reside in one of the following countries:

COUNTRY LIST FOR INTERNATIONAL FEE WAIVERS (click to expand)

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haiti
  • Kiribati
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Rwanda
  • São Tomé and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Timor-Lesté
  • Togo
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
Determine When to Apply For Your Waiver

Fee waivers are only valid for 14 DAYS (including holidays and weekends) after you are approved, so be sure you are ready to submit your application or close to ready before applying for one. However, they are also limited, so please consider all of these factors while deciding when to apply.

Complete and Submit Your Fee Assistance Application

Click your name in the upper right hand corner of your SOPHAS application. Select “Fee Assistance Program” to bring up the Fee Assistance Application.  You must then select that you wish to apply for a service-based waiver. Select”INTERNATIONAL” from the drop-down menu.

Complete and upload the following form: International Fee Waiver Request Form

IMPORTANT: This form must be submitted to SOPHAS electronically via your online application. SOPHAS will NOT accept this form by paper mail or e-mail. DO NOT MAIL FORMS TO SOPHAS as they will NOT be considered.

Await Notification

DO NOT e-submit your SOPHAS application until you have been notified as to whether or not you have been approved to receive a SOPHAS fee waiver. If you e-submit prior to notification, your fee waiver application will be denied. It can take up to 10 business days from the date your request is submitted for your application to be processed by SOPHAS and a response issued. You will receive notification regarding the status of your fee waiver request via a message sent to both your e-mail address and your SOPHAS Application Inbox.

Submit Your Application and Pay Via Credit Card

Once you have been approved for a SOPHAS fee waiver you will have 14 days (including weekends and holidays) to submit your application. If you do not submit your application within that time frame, your fee waiver will be voided and the funds will be allocated to another qualifying applicant and you may not reapply. Please note that SOPHAS does not need to receive any outstanding transcripts, references, or test scores within the 14 day window; all that is required to claim the fee waiver is that you have e-submitted the application and made your payment.

HOW THE FEE WAIVER PAYMENT PROCESS WORKS

If you are approved for a fee waiver, the fee waiver amount will AUTOMATICALLY be deducted from your fees owed when you submit your application. You should pay any remaining balance for additional programs with a credit card.

IMPORTANT: Unlike in past cycles, SOPHAS does NOT require or accept money order payments for fee waiver recipients. Instead, the waiver amount is deducted from your total fee and you can pay any remaining balance with a credit card.

COMMON QUESTIONS:

 Q: I applied for and received a fee waiver last cycle. Can I apply again this cycle?

A: YES.

Q: Can I apply for a fee waiver after I e-submit my application?

A: NO, fee waivers can NOT be granted after you submit your application. Applicants who wish to obtain fee waivers must apply well in advance of their deadline and wait until their request is accepted or rejected before submitting. If you submit while your fee waiver application is still pending, SOPHAS can NOT honor your request and your fee waiver will be denied.

Q: Why was my financial-based fee waiver application denied?

A: Financial-based fee waiver decisions are made based on the income and size of family indicated on the submitted tax forms ONLY. Extenuating circumstances are NOT considered. Applicants whose income does not meet these requirements will be denied.

Q: My fee waiver was voided because I did not submit my application within the 14 business day time frame. Can I reapply for a fee waiver?

A: NO. Applicants can only apply for a fee waiver once per application cycle. If your fee waiver has been voided, any further attempts to apply for a fee waiver during the current cycle will be denied.

Q: Can I apply for both a Financial-Based Fee Waiver and a Service-Based/International Fee Waiver?

A: NO. YOU CAN ONLY BE GRANTED ONE TYPE OF FEE WAIVER FOR THE DURATION OF THE APPLICATION CYCLE.

Q: My public health program will waive my supplemental application fee if I can prove I received a SOPHAS fee waiver. Can you send them a letter/contact them/etc.?

A: Public health programs who offer such a program will accept the e-mail notification you received from SOPHAS granting you your fee waiver as proof that you qualified for a SOPHAS waiver. Additional documentation is not necessary.



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