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Should I pay to submit my official TOEFL scores?


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I was checking applications recently and realised that I did not submit my official TOEFL scores for my application to UNC.

I emailed the department and the graduate school to ask whether official TOEFL scores are required (no one emailed me to request for the missing scores), and if an unofficial score would suffice for now.

Both replied that international applications require the official TOEFL score, but both did not make it clear whether the official TOEFL score is simply a formality or something that could tank my application if missing (I guess they're not in the position to make this assessment anyway).

So I am in quite a bit of a bind now...my financial situation makes it difficult for me to pay to submit the official TOEFL scores, but I am worried that my application will be affected otherwise. My understanding most programs see the TOEFL as more formality than something that gives serious weight when assessing candidates--but I could be wrong. Any advice would be appreciated!

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