These 14 Colleges Offer FREE Tuition for Students
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FREE college tuition? Yes, please!
It’s no secret that a college education is expensive. In fact, according to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Yikes!
Although getting a completely FREE ride to a college or university isn’t typical for most Americans, it IS possible to save thousands by avoiding those hefty tuition costs! In fact, there are many colleges and universities that are willing to pay for your tuition once you’re admitted, although you may be required to pay for extra expenses – such as student fees, housing, meal plans, textbooks, and other items.
NOTE: Some schools may require you to live/work on-campus or work within the local community during your college years in order to qualify for free tuition. Keep in mind that each tuition-free school listed below mandates its own financial and academic eligibility requirements.
1. Alice Lloyd College
Located in Pippa Passes, KY, ALC enrolls students from 108 counties in the Appalachia Mountains regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia for free.
What’s the catch? All eligible students are required to work at least 160-240 hours per semester in an on-campus job or in the local community in the Student Work Program.
2. Barclay College
What’s the catch? Students must live on-campus, and as part of the graduation requirements, all full-time students are required to report a minimum of twelve clock hours of Christian Service per semester. Service hours must be completed during the semester in which they are being reported.
3. Berea College
What’s the catch? Each student must work 10-15 hours per week in approved jobs on campus or in the community while carrying a full academic course load. From over 100 labor departments, students can decide which area they’d like to work in for extra pay and will earn a lower-than-average hourly rate ranging from $3.80 to $6.25, depending on the job. Students will learn the values of being in the workforce and gain extra cash for school books, and for room and boarding.
4. College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks, a private, Christian liberal arts college located in Point Lookout, Missouri, offers free tuition to full-time students. The majority of applicants are required to show financial need.
What’s the catch? Students must work at least 15 hours every week at an assigned campus work station (over 80 options!). In addition to the normal weekly 15 hours during each semester, students will work two 40-hour weeks each year chosen from the weeks when classes are not in session.
5. Curtis Institute of Music
Curtis Institute of Music, located in Philadelphia, PA, provides merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of their financial situation. The institute has a very selective process as approximately 4.8% of applicants are accepted every year.
What’s the catch? At registration, new and returning students must pay a comprehensive fee of $1,700 upon admission, as well as other fees and deposits.
6. Deep Springs College
Enjoy manual labor? Deep Springs College, a school located in Big Pine, CA, offers a two-year education in liberal arts. Every attendee at Deep Springs College receives a full scholarship for tuition, room, and board, regardless of financial need, country of origin, or any other considerations. The process is selective as only 15 students are invited to enroll each year out of 180-250 applicants.
What’s the catch? All students must work at least 20 hours on the ranch at Deep Springs College.
7. Macaulay Honors College
Macaulay Honors College, a public institution located in New York, NY, offers all students a tuition scholarship, which funds four years of full-time undergraduate study, excluding fees.
What’s the catch? Students must meet CUNY NYS residency requirements for in-state tuition to receive the tuition scholarship, and they are also required to pay all associated fees. Also, all students must perform 30 hours of community service throughout the course of their time at Macaulay.
8. United States Military Academy at West Point
Located in West Point, NY, those who are selected to attend USMA receive a college education that is unparalleled in the world with tuition, room and board, and expenses fully paid.
What’s the catch? Upon graduation, you will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and serve for five years on active duty (if you choose to depart the Army after five years, you will be required to serve three years in the Inactive Ready Reserve). During your senior year, you’ll find out which specialized field you will enter based on the needs of the Army and your preferences.
9. United States Coast Guard Academy
At the Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, CT, there is no cost for tuition, room or board. This elite education, currently valued at more than $280,000, is fully paid for by the government.
What’s the catch? Upon graduation from the Coast Guard Academy, there is a five-year commitment to serve as a commissioned Coast Guard officer, but 85% of graduates choose to serve longer. Your commitment guarantees you a career in a position of leadership.
10. United States Naval Academy
At USNA, located in Annapolis, MD, the Navy pays 100% of the tuition, room, and board, medical and dental care costs of Naval Academy midshipmen. Additionally, midshipmen pay is $1,087.80 monthly, from which laundry, barber, cobbler, activities fees, yearbook, and other service charges are deducted. Actual cash pay is $100 per month your first year, which increases each year thereafter.
What’s the catch? ALL students who attend the Naval Academy do so on a full scholarship in return for five years of active duty service upon graduation.
11. United States Air Force Academy
At USAFA, located in Colorado Springs, CO, cadets receive full tuition, room and board, free medical care and access to a low-cost, government-sponsored life insurance program, and a monthly stipend to cover incidental expenses – over a $415,000 investment paid for by the Air Force.
What’s the catch? All that is required in return for a fully paid world-class education is your commitment to serve as an officer in the Air Force. The length of commitment depends on your career path and other opportunities, such as graduate or medical school, which may extend it.
12. United States Merchant Marine Academy
At USMMA, located in Kings Point NY, midshipmen receive their full tuition, room and board, uniforms, and books at no cost from the Federal Government. However, midshipmen are responsible for paying certain costs of educational supplies and services which are NOT provided by the government.
What’s the catch? In exchange for a taxpayer-funded education at the USMMA, all midshipmen commit to fulfilling a maritime service obligation that continues after graduation.
13. Webb Institute
Located in Glen Cove, NY, Webb Institute provides all enrolled students full-tuition scholarships to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, valued at almost $50,000. Webb Institute provides a dual undergraduate degree option in both Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Plus, all Webb students graduate with 100% job placement, so there’s no fear of not landing a job after graduation!
What’s the catch? As part of their Winter Work Term which guarantees them 100% job placement after graduation, freshman-year students are required to work alongside ship fitters and welders in shipyards. Sophomores serve as student observers aboard ocean-going ships, and juniors/seniors network and apply themselves in design and engineering offices around the world.
14. Williamson College of the Trades
Williamson College of the Trades, a men’s junior vocational college located in Media, PA, offers all students a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, board, and textbooks. However, students pay entrance costs for personal items, annual fees for certain equipment, books that they retain for personal use, and annual fees for breakage and yearbook.
What’s the catch? All students must live in an on-campus dormitory supervised by an adult dormitory manager. Also, students must follow the college’s regulations, policies, and procedures in the Student Handbook, including assisting in food service operations & campus maintenance.
Considering an Ivy League School? 🏈
The Ivy League schools (such as Brown University, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Yale) are some of the most expensive schools in the nation. However, most Ivy League schools also provide free tuition and other financial assistance for students from families with a minimum household income ranging from less than $60,000-$120,000/year.