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I am applying this year for a PhD program in US schools.

My chances to get accepted will be higher next year, but I don't want to miss the chance of getting accepted this year. should I wait for the next year, or should I apply this year and ask the university to reconsider my application for next year? The problem is with the application fees, it would be very hard to apply for 2 years, the application will cost me around $200 (including the scores of GRE, GRE Physics and TOEFL), and I am intending to apply for 10 universities.

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    You could ask for a fee waiver for the applications if you have financial difficulties. If you apply once this year and that application is rejected, and if you want to submit a new application next year, I think that you will have to pay the application fee twice (unless you get a waiver) as you are effectively submitting two different applications. – cutculus Oct 6 '16 at 14:57
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    Don't forget to apply to Europe, it is free! – Davidmh Oct 6 '16 at 15:38
  • Thanks alot. I will consider europe in my applications, but i didn't want to take master's befire PhD. – Mohamed Ayman Oct 7 '16 at 18:56
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This is tricky, because in the US there really is no standard/universal handling for this sort of situation. It's probably going to be different at every department you are thinking of applying to.

With that said, there are a few common outcomes, to wit:

  • Some programs will simply say no - you must pay in full at the time of both the original application, and re-application.
  • Some programs offer fee waivers with a variety of requirements. Some programs will waive fee for US citizens with demonstrated need, some programs waive fees for people who participated in certain programs (often which target helping certain groups get to and succeed in college).
  • Some offer waivers/reductions to countries where the relatively reasonable fee to US citizens is just an absurd expense (especially ones where $75 is 2-4+ weeks of average salary). This does not apply to every country, however.
  • I suppose it's technically possible that a program will allow you to pay the fee once and reapply the next year at no additional cost...but I've really never heard of that and I'd be pleasantly surprised if any program you were looking at would offer you that option.

I'd suggest you contact a few of your target programs right away and ask their graduate coordinator what your options specific to the fees are. That's really the only way I can think of to get a real answer that's certain enough to help you decide on what to do.

But barring answers from your target programs, I would absolutely suggest that you do not simply rely on them being willing to let you reapply at no extra cost or automatically not pay the fee - or even to waive the fee more than once. They are not required to do this by any external rules or laws, and being a foreign citizen or having limited finances are not protected/privileged groups under most US laws.

Get direct answers from schools you care about, and then decide for yourself if you absolutely cannot afford to apply two years in a row if it comes to that.

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