Budget for College Applications
It's normal to pay $30-$100 per college application
Don't think about it as your homeschool budget, think of it as a down payment on the total cost of college - as if by applying you will get more scholarships. It's possible to have the application cost deferred, if you ask. Most colleges will defer the cost of application if you simple go for a college visit. You can also ask the college to waive the application fee. That's your word of the day - use the word "waive". That can be a simple phone call from your child saying "I'd really like to apply to your university because (add 2-3 words to fill in the blank) and I was wondering if there is a way you can waive the application fee?"
It's normal to pay $12 to send test scores to colleges
You may have to pay to have test results sent to each college. Again, think of it as part of your "college budget" and an investment in college costs to reduce the overall amount you need to pay, and cut the overall student loan you might need. It's cheaper to choose colleges first, and send the send the scores as you take the test so it's free. I suggest that you always make sure the child will do well on the test before sending scores, though. So take the test at home a few times, timed, so you know he will do well before taking the test for real and sending the scores sight unseen.
It's normal for vacations to include college visits
The best scholarships come from visiting a college, so you know it's a good fit, and the college may provide scholarships. You can use details from a college visit in the application essay, which can also help earn scholarships. The cost of college visits vary widely, of course, but you can save money by planning ahead. Try to combine vacations with college visits. If that is not possible, remember that visiting colleges can have a huge financial award. Again, think of it in the context of your budget for college, not as a frivolous expense.
It's normal to save money by visiting, applying and sending test scores
You may need to pay for college applications and test scores, but in the long run that process can save you a lot of money. If the 4th college that you apply to gives you a great scholarship, it will be worth the application fee. If the test scores you send earn a $10,000 automatic scholarship, it will be worth the fee to send the scores. Try to think it the big picture as you plan your college application budget.