How to Get Your NCLEX Fee Waiver? Easy Instructions

The NCLEX fee waiver is a financial assistance option offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to help qualifying nursing candidates.

Are you preparing to take the NCLEX but are concerned about the fees? Do you wonder, “Is there a way to get an NCLEX fee waiver?” I’ve been in your shoes and understand how overwhelming it can be. Don’t worry! Now, I will help you navigate this process. 

Explore the possibility of an NCLEX fee waiver and how to secure one. Let’s dive in!

NCLEX Fee Waiver

National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is a significant step for nursing graduates aiming to secure licensure in the United States and Canada. Like many professional exams, it comes with a fee. 

However, not all candidates may have the financial capacity to pay for this fee. That’s when the NCLEX fee waiver comes in. If you plan to apply for it, you must understand the basics to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.

What Is The NCLEX Fee?

The NCLEX fee is a payment required for examination registration. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, candidates must pay $200. This fee covers the cost of developing, administrating, and scoring the exam. 

I must emphasize that this fee is non-refundable. In addition, it does not include potential additional costs, such as those related to licensure application or international scheduling. 

Overview of NCLEX fee waiver
Overview of NCLEX fee waiver

What Is The NCLEX Fee Waiver?

The NCLEX fee waiver is a financial assistance option offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to help qualifying nursing candidates. If approved, the waiver fully covers the cost of the NCLEX exam, which is a significant financial relief for candidates who can’t afford the exam fees. 

Here are reasons why many nurse students try to apply for NCLEX fee waiver: 

Financial Relief 

The costs associated with taking the NCLEX, including examination fees, study materials, and travel to testing centers, can add up quickly and become a financial burden for many students.

By applying and qualifying for the NCLEX fee waiver, you can have your examination fees waived, significantly reducing the overall cost of obtaining licensure. 

Increased Accessibility 

For some nurse students, the cost of the NCLEX  may be the barrier that prevents them from pursuing a career in nursing. More students can access the exam and pursue their career aspirations by waiving the examination fee. T

As a result, a more comprehensive range of students can pursue a career in nursing, regardless of their economic background. This diversity is crucial in healthcare, as it promotes cultural competence and understanding, leading to improved patient care. 

Focus on Preparation

Nurse students can concentrate on studying and preparing for the NCLEX without the financial stress of examination fees. So they can perform better on the test and increase their chances of passing on the first try. 

Who Is Eligible For The NCLEX Fee Waiver? 

Eligibility for the NCLEX fee waiver depends on several factors, predominantly financial need. Here are some standard requirements:

  • The applicant must be a graduate of a state-approved nursing program. 
  • The applicant must demonstrate financial need, such as receiving government assistance or having a low income.
  • The applicant must be a resident of the state offering the waiver.
  • The applicant must not have taken the NCLEX previously. 

These are general guidelines, and each state may have unique criteria. So, you must check with your state’s nursing board for specific eligibility requirements. 

Eligibility criteria
Eligibility criteria

What Documents Are Needed For The Application?

The documentation required to apply for the NCLEX fee waiver typically includes:

  • Proof of graduation from a state-approved nursing program
  • Proof of residency in the state offering the waiver
  • Documentation of financial need, such as tax returns or proof of government assistance
  • Completed application for the NCLEX fee waiver
  • Some states may require a letter of intent or an essay explaining why you need the waiver.

Source: Arizona State Board of Nursing

How To Apply For The NCLEX Fee Waiver? 

If you plan to apply for the NCLEX fee waiver, consider the simple steps below for a smooth process:

Step 1: Assess your eligibility 

Before starting the application process, you must assess your eligibility. The specific criteria may vary by state, but generally, you must be an American citizen or legal resident, enrolled in or have completed a state-approved nursing program, and demonstrate financial need. 

I recommend contacting your state board of nursing or visiting their website for detailed information about the eligibility requirements. 

Step 2: Gather the necessary documents

Once you understand the eligibility criteria, gather all the required documents above. These include:

  • Proof of enrollment or completion of a nursing program
  • Proof of citizenship or legal status
  • Financial documents (tax returns, pay stubs, a letter of financial hardship)

Ensure all documents are up-to-date and accurately reflect your current financial situation.

Step 3: Fill out the application form

This form is usually available on your state’s nursing board website. Ensure that all information provided is accurate and truthful to avoid disqualification or legal consequences.

Each board has a unique application form. You can consider the application fee waiver instruction of the Arizona Board of Nursing:

Step 4: Submit your application

The final step is to submit the application form to your state board of nursing or the organization handling the waiver process. Follow their specific submission guidelines. I recommend keeping copies of your application and supporting documents for your records. 

Application process
Application process

How Long Does It Take To Process The Waiver?

There is no fixed timeframe for processing the NCLEX fee waiver. The duration may vary depending on several factors, such as the receipt of the complete application, verification of the documents, and the processing capacity of the respective state board of nursing. 

It’s also worth noting that the time taken can be longer if there are discrepancies in your application or additional documentation is required. 

As a result, you must ensure that your application is complete and accurate to avoid unnecessary delays. 

What Happens After The Application Is Submitted?

It enters a review stage once you’ve submitted your NCLEX waiver application. The review process is thorough, requiring some patience from the applicant. 

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing reviews each application individually, assessing financial hardship based on the documentation submitted. If they require additional information, they will directly contact you. 

Once the review process is complete, the NCSBN will send a decision notification. If the application is approved, the notification will include instructions on proceeding with the NCLEX registration without paying the exam fee.

If the application is denied, the NCSBN will provide a reason for the denial and information on how to appeal the decision.

What To Do If The Waiver Is Not Granted? 

If your NCLEX fee waiver is not granted, don’t panic. You have other options, such as reapplying for the fee waiver and looking for other financial aid options. 

If your NCLEX fee waiver is denied, determine the reason for the denial. If it’s an application issue, correct it and reapply. If you do not meet the criteria, speak with the board to see if there are other options for your case. 

If reapplication isn’t an option, explore alternative funding sources. Start with scholarships and grants. Many nursing schools, nonprofits, and professional organizations offer these specifically for NCLEX applicants. These are usually merit-based or need-based, so ensure you meet specific criteria. 

Things to do if the waiver is not granted
Things to do if the waiver is not granted

The Bottom Line

An NCLEX fee waiver is a significant help for those preparing to take the NCLEX exam but facing financial constraints. 

Don’t let financial barriers keep you from reaching your nursing career goals. Apply for an NCLEX fee waiver today and take a step closer to achieving your dreams!