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The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) is the physician assistant program application portal utilized to apply to PA programs.  CASPA is sponsored and administered by the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), who believe that “an applicant’s finances should not be a barrier to applying to a PA program.” Applying to PA schools can be expensive and the application fees add up quickly. It costs $179 to submit your first CASPA application and $56 for each additional program you apply to. To assist with the costs of applying, CASPA offers fee waivers for those who qualify through their Fee Assistance Program. There are a limited number of fee waivers, and they are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, if you qualify.

Fortunately, PAEA has increased the number of fee waivers that will be offered for the 2022-2023 CASPA application cycle AND will now also be covering the second application fee as well! In a recent PAEA Instagram post, they stated:

“At PAEA, we believe the cost of applying to PA programs should not be a barrier to becoming a PA and understand that application costs can delay and deter applicants from submitting to fewer than the national average of 7.5 programs. Historically, PAEA has only covered the initial submission fee ($179). Today, we are pleased to announce the expansion of our Fee Waiver Program to cover the first and second designations ($235).”

However, CASPA’s website states that “fee waiver funds can be quickly depleted,” so it is recommended to apply for the fee assistance program as soon as you can!

This fee assistance will now cover the initial CASPA application fee of $179 as well as one additional application. It is important to know that you must request fee assistance before you submit any CASPA applications. Also, if you are a reapplicant and received a fee waiver in a previous CASPA application cycle, you are still eligible to apply for another in the upcoming cycle. If you are granted a fee waiver, you must submit your applications within 14 days. It is crucial that you make sure your applications are complete and ready to be submitted before you request this, otherwise your fee waivers will expire. CASPA states that extensions to use the fee waiver will not be granted and you may not re-apply for a fee waiver after a previous one expires. The $235 will be deducted from your total fee amount when you submit your application(s). For each additional application you submit after the first two, the $56 fee will be required.

To qualify for the CASPA Fee Assistance Program, the applicant must have an adjusted gross income that falls 200% below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines on their Federal Income Tax return. CASPA website specifically states that you must have either:

“Filed a 2021 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040 or 1040A with an adjusted gross income that falls below the Low Income Level listed below”


“Been listed as a dependent on a filed 2021 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040 or 1040A with an adjusted gross income that falls below the Low Income Level listed below. If you were claimed as a dependent by a parent or guardian on their 2021 Federal Income Tax Return, CASPA requires you to use that individual’s Federal Income Tax Return instead of your own.”

CASPA has a timeline and overall summary for applying for a fee waiver and submitting your application using one on their website. Here is the breakdown:

  1. Determine when to apply for your waiver: “Keep in mind that fee waivers are limited and only valid for 14 days (including holidays and weekends) from the time you are approved. Be ready to submit your application if you are approved.”

  2. Start your application: “You must have an account to apply for a fee waiver. Fee assistance applications are not accepted by mail or email.”

  3. Complete and submit your fee assistance application: “Click on your name in the upper right corner of the application, then select Fee Assistance Program. Enter your household’s adjusted gross income for 2021 and the current number of members in your household. Note that “size of family” includes the number of people claimed as dependents on the tax report. Upload a copy of the filed 2021 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040 o4 1040A. This form was either filed by you or by someone who listed you as a dependent (such as a parent or guardian). Remember, if you were listed as a dependent, you must submit that individual’s tax return form instead of your own.”

  4. Await notification: “Once you submit your fee waiver request, it can take up to 10 business days to process. The status of your request will be sent to both your email address and your application inbox. While your fee waiver request is pending, you are unable to submit your application. To submit your application and forfeit your waiver request, return to the Fee Assistance Program section and click Cancel Request. Once you submit your application, you are ineligible to apply for another fee waiver.”

  5. Submit your application and pay any remaining balance: “If you are approved, the waiver amount of $179 will be automatically deducted from your total fees, and you are responsible for any remaining balance. Contact customer service immediately if you do not see the waiver amount deducted. Remember to submit your application within 14 days of your approval (including holidays and weekends). Outstanding transcripts, evaluations, and/or test scores do not have to be received within this timeframe.”

Although this fee assistance program can only provide you will a maximum assistance of $179, it can make a significant impact on your overall application expenses. For example, if you are planning on applying to 7 PA programs through CASPA, without a fee waiver from CASPA, the CASPA applications alone will cost $515. With a fee assistance waiver, your total for applying to 7 programs via CASPA will be $280.

Financial Impact of Fee Assistance Waiver when Applying to 7 PA Program

The $179 you can save from receiving fee assistance can be used towards additional supplemental application fees, fees involved with requesting transcripts or GRE scores, paying for background checks, etc. The PA school application process can be very expensive, but there are resources to help cut these costs down! Contact CASPA customer service with any concerns or questions at