What is a DAT Fee Waiver and How Does it Work?

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a crucial exam that every prospective dental student must take. It’s a standardized test that measures your knowledge and aptitude in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. The cost of taking the test can add up quickly, making it difficult for some students to afford. Fortunately, there are DAT fee waivers that can significantly reduce the cost of the exam. In this blog, we will discuss when and how you can get a DAT fee waiver.

DAT Fee Waivers for 2023

All DAT fee waivers for 2023 have been granted. 2024 DAT Fee waivers will be released soon, check the ADA website for more info


What is the Process?

To obtain a fee waiver, follow these steps:

Obtain a DENTPIN. Instructions on how to get one can be found here. Keep this pin handy as it is required for future dental-related documentation and certifications.

Fill out the form here. An updated form is posted at the beginning of each year, in January.

Email the form to datexam@ada.com.

Verification of the application may take up to 10 business days. Once verified, instructions will be provided for submitting a DAT test application.

DAT Fee Waiver Form as provided by the ADA

 Criteria for Eligibility:

  • First-time examinee
  • No previous receipt of a partial fee waiver
  • U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Demonstrated financial hardship
  • Receipt of financial aid from your school

Process for Obtaining a Partial Fee Waiver:

  • Complete the financial information form.
  • Email the completed form to datexam@ada.org, along with a copy of the financial aid award letter you received from your school (which must not be older than 18 months). Alternatively, if you haven't been enrolled in a college or university in the past 18 months, you can submit a copy of your most recent tax return.

The DAT Program will review all partial fee waiver requests and make the final approval/denial decision.
After the review of your partial fee waiver request, you will receive an email notification regarding the decision and instructions for submitting a DAT application online.

  • Please allow up to 10 business days for the review of all partial fee waiver requests.
  • Please remember that the partial fee waiver only covers 50% of the DAT fee and does not apply to any charges associated with rescheduling/canceling a test date or score reporting after the initial application.
  • Partial fee waivers are granted on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible examinees who have submitted the required documents.

 How can I contact the ADA for more information?

You can reach the Department of Testing Services at:
American Dental Association
Department of Testing Services

211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Email: datexam@ada.org

Who is eligible for a DAT fee waiver?

To be eligible for a DAT fee waiver, you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. and demonstrate some financial need. The waiver is available for up to two times, and it covers the entire cost of the exam, including testing fees, score reports, and transcript fees. 

When should you apply for a DAT fee waiver?

It’s a good idea to apply for a DAT fee waiver as soon as possible since the process can take time, and there’s only a limited amount of funding. Since the waiver is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s crucial to apply early to increase your chances of receiving the waiver. Keep in mind that you can only apply for a fee waiver once in a 12-month period.

How can you apply for a DAT fee waiver?

To apply for a DAT fee waiver, you must complete the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) application through the American Dental Association (ADA). The FAP program is a nationwide program that provides financial assistance to qualified applicants. You will need to submit proof of your financial status, such as a copy of your tax return or a letter from a financial advisor, to be considered for the waiver.

What if you're not eligible for a DAT fee waiver?

If you’re not eligible for a DAT fee waiver, some other options can help you pay for the exam. You can look for scholarships or grants that assist students in paying for their exams or consider getting a part-time job dedicated to this purpose. While these steps require extra effort, it’s worthwhile to save money in the long term and not worry about the high costs of the test.


The DAT is an essential exam for any dental school applicant, and the high costs can be intimidating. However, a DAT fee waiver can significantly diminish the costs associated with the exam. To be eligible, you need to show financial need, apply early, and complete the FAP application through the ADA. If you're not eligible, other options, such as scholarships or a part-time job, could help alleviate the costs. By utilizing these options, you can save money and focus on preparing for the DAT exam without any added financial stress.

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