I'm considering applying to several grad schools in the US for a PhD in math as an international applicant and the combined cost of those applications, gre/toefl official score costs, official transcript postage costs etc. are going to be significant. I'm from a developing country and most of the fee waiver guidelines that I've read about apply to US citizens only. I have the following questions regarding the application fee waiver:
How common is it for such a waiver to be approved for non US citizens? I suppose citizens are considered prime candidates for such support since their taxes are funding the public universities.
Are there any cons to requesting such a waiver? Is this information going to be shared with the admissions committee and would this hurt my chances of admission since they might think I'm more likely to not accept or drop out later due to financial issues? Almost all of them have TA positions for PhD students and I'd be taking a loan to cover the rest so this is not actually an issue, but it might make them de-prioritize my application.
Are there any pros to it? Are university fellowships and scholarships granted solely based on merit or need as well, to a lesser extent?
One large state university I requested a waiver from suggested that I complete my application but not officially submit it. They said they'll review it as is and if an admission offer is made, the department will pay the fee. Is this standard procedure for offering a fee waiver? I suppose their application system won't allow submission without payment, still I fear my application might get rejected if I don't submit it by the deadline. Would an email from their admissions office asking me to do so be enough as a justification, in the unlikely scenario that my application gets rejected due to not being officially submitted?