It costs $42.50 to register for one ACT date without the Writing section included. It costs $58.50 with the Writing section included. There are a handful of extra charges that depend on circumstance, including registering late, sending scores to more than four colleges, changing test dates and more.
That’s the cost of one ACT date. Most college-bound high schoolers, however, take the test more than once, multiplying the number of dollars spent on the four hour college readiness exam.
And that’s just the cost of taking the test – whether once, twice, or three times. The ACT, as with the SAT, can play a major role in determining what colleges a high school senior can get into and how much they’ll cost. Since raising an ACT score in the ballpark of just two or three points can unlock new opportunities for college, lots of families invest in ACT prep, which can cost money as well. We’ll get into how much ACT prep costs below.
For a bigger picture of how to approach test prep, read How to Conquer the AC T (for Parents).
First, here is every cost associated with the ACT:
Costs to Register for the ACT
(If you miss the late registration deadline for the ACT, you can still sign up during a Standby Request Period. Registering on Standby does not guarantee a seat on test day. If no seats are available, you’ll be refunded the $51.)
|Register without writing section||$42.50|
|Register with writing section||$58.50|
|Re-register over the phone
|Register for Standby Testing||$51|
|Change test date
|Change test center||$25|
Costs to Access ACT Scores and Send Them to Colleges
|View score report online
|Send scores to your high school||$0|
|Send scores to up to four colleges
|Send scores to more than four colleges per test date||$12 / additional college|
|Test Information Release
Costs of Test Day Materials
|Printed Admission Ticket||$0|
|At least two #2 pencils and an eraser||Typically provided by test center.|
|A calculator||Calculators are neither required for the ACT nor provided at test centers. However, calculators are permitted for the ACT Math section, and can helpfully speed up making basic calculations in that section. Here is the ACT’s policy on what calculators are allowed.|
Am I Eligible for a Fee Waiver?
ACT Fee Waivers cover the cost of taking the ACT for some high school juniors and seniors. To qualify for a fee waiver, families must contact their high school guidance counselors. (Families can’t request Fee Waivers directly from the ACT.)
Here are the Requirements to Receive a Fee Waiver:
- Currently enrolled in 11th or 12th grade
- US citizen or testing in the US, US territories or Puerto Rico
- Meet one or more indicators of financial need, listed in this document
Here’s What a Fee Waiver Covers:
- Up to two national ACT test dates with or without the Writing section
- Scores sent to up to four colleges per test date
Here’s What a Fee Waiver Doesn’t Cover:
- Any more than two national ACT test dates
- Late registration fees
- Scores sent to more than four colleges on a given test date
- Test date or test center changes
- Standby fee
- Additional Score Reports
How Much Does ACT Prep Cost?
The cost that families pay for ACT prep ranges from $0 to in the thousands. That price varies based on the method of preparation. To decide what kind of prep makes sense for your family, consider two very important factors:
- What level of support does my child need?
- What is my family’s budget?
Based on your answers to those two questions, you’ll land on one (or more) of the following ACT prep methods: self-study online, self-study with a book, online prep courses, online 1-on-1 tutoring, and in-person tutoring. Lindsay Welch, of Testive’s Student Success Team, outlines each method here.