Student Life

12 Schools that Offer Free College Tuition

Did you know? You could attend college for free. Just check out these free tuition colleges.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

April 14, 2021

12 Schools that Offer Free College Tuition
Going to college for free? That's music to our ears!
In an age when tuition is sky-high, this certainly sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us! Keep in mind, however, these schools can be very competitive, financial-need based or for specialized studies. Either way, going to college for free is music to our ears. U.S. News & World Report has provided their rankings for the best tuition-free colleges that allow you to leave worries about paying for school behind With tuition prices rising, it’s good to know that some colleges have kept up their tuition-free promises.
  1. Alice Lloyd College
    Founded in 1923 by Alice Spencer Geddes Lloyd and Jane Buchanan, the Pippa Passes, Kentucky college offers an education tuition-free to students from 108 counties in the Appalachian region. Students are required to participate in the school’s Student Work Program, which requires a minimum of 160 hours per semester working at a job on campus or locally within the community.
  2. The Apprentice School This school differs from the others listed in that it offers apprenticeship certificates instead of college degrees. The shipbuilding school provides four-, five-, and eight-year apprenticeships in 19 shipbuilding disciplines as well as eight advanced programs of study. Students do not pay for tuition. Rather, they are paid an hourly wage as they learn and work. According to U.S. News and World, “students earn $17.34 an hour in the first term of the program and up to $29.73 an hour upon completing the final term of the program.”
  3. Barclay College This Christian college in Kansas provides full tuition scholarships for those students that choose to live in the dorms. Students that live off campus also receive a generous scholarship of over $7,000 per year. The end goal is to provide students with an education that takes on very little to no student loan debt.
  4. Berea College
    Self-described as “the best education money can’t buy,” with a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, Berea College is located in picturesque Berea, Kentucky. At this school, every student “receives the equivalent of a Tuition Promise Scholarship worth $24,300, or $97,200 for four years.” The college was founded in 1855 and, with deep historical roots, its endowments, combined with federal and state grants, allows the financial stability to offer students enough financial assistance to pay for tuition as well as a laptop that students are able to keep once they graduate. The college offers students the choice of 32 fields of study but students must participate in the college’s Work Program, which pays for their room and board and any other expenses they may have while attending the school.
  5. City College of San Francisco At the City College of San Francisco, students that live in the city and are established California residents are eligible for free tuition. Two-year degrees and certificates are available at City College. It’s also a great place for students to get their initial college credits before transferring to another college to complete a four-year degree.
  6. College of the Ozarks Cleverly nicknamed “Hard Work U,” the College of the Ozarks, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, offers degree programs in more than 40 academic areas and a student to faculty ratio of 13:1. The school accepts 1,400 students that demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Although the school doesn't require that students pay tuition; students must work for their education-15 hours per week during the school year and 40 hours per week while school isn't in session. Students work performances are considered very important, in fact, their work performance is even recorded on their academic records along with their academic grades!
  7. Curtis Institute of Music Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Curtis Institute of Music is for students looking to pursue a career in musical performing arts. The school offers merit-based full ride scholarships, regardless of financial need and in-person auditions are required for all areas of study with the exception of vocal studies (for which they accept recordings through an online portal). There is no minimum or maximum age required to audition for the school. Students at the school are able to participate in scheduled public performances throughout Philadelphia so that students are able to “learn by doing.”
  8. Deep Springs College Deep Springs is currently a male-only institution but is in the legal process of being able to admit women. For those that are selected to attend the exclusive college, tuition, room and board are all covered by the college. Located near Bishop, California, Deep Springs offers its academic experience on an isolated Cattle Ranch in the Deep Springs Valley. Only 12 – 15 students are admitted each year. The student body is responsible for determining who is admitted, who is hired and how their peers are graded. Each student is expected to commit to 20 hours of labor on the ranch.
  9. United States Air Force Academy This military academy is located in picturesque Colorado Spring, Colorado. However, life here is more disciplined than in a typical laid-back Colorado town. While the academy focuses on preparing students to serve as officers in the Air Force, the students do have the option of up to 27 majors to choose from. The academy also boasts a student to faculty ratio of 8:1, allowing individualized attention for any student that may need it, with an average class size of 19 students.
  10. United States Coast Guard Academy The United States Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876. Located in New London, Connecticut, it’s the smallest of the five federal service academies. About 300 cadets enter the academy each summer, with about 200 cadet graduates. Similar to other U.S. service academies, each cadet’s tuition is funded (at this particular school by the Coast Guard). Cadets receive this tuition “deal” in exchange for an obligation of five years active duty service upon graduation – however, the obligation increases if the cadet chooses to go to flight school or graduate school. About 300 cadets enter the academy each summer, with about 200 cadet graduates.
  11. United States Merchant Marine Academy This military academy is also known as USMMA or Kings Point. The school trains officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine, various military branches and the transportation industry. Similar to the Naval academy, students are referred to as midshipmen, where they’re trained in marine engineering, navigation, ship's administration, maritime law, personnel management, international law, customs, along with all other subjects relevant to running large ships.
  12. United States Military Academy Students – AKA cadets – have tuition fees covered when they attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. That’s because the each cadet’s tuition is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each July with about 1,000 cadets graduating. Graduates of West Point earn Bachelor of Science degrees and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.
Although this list only covers the top 12, it’s worth mentioning that the United States Naval Academy takes #13 on the list from U.S. News and World Report.

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