Tuition-free colleges and universities are few and far between but they ARE available…you just need to know where to look! The list of schools below are not ranked in any particular order as they are specific to the needs of the students. For example, one caters to the musically-talented, one is designed for engineers and yet another is for those seeking a position in the religious field. One thing they all do have in common is they offer free (or very close to free) tuition to all students that meets certain criteria specific to each school. Tuition free colleges are available thanks to endowments, donations and the desires of the founders, themselves. It truly goes to show that if you work hard in high school, great opportunities are waiting for you in life!
UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE
University of the People is the first in the world to be an online, tuition-free university! The non-profit’s purpose is to provide an accredited choice for higher education for those otherwise not able to attend a brick and mortar school. UoPeople offers two Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. Their accreditation is provided by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) since the first quarter of 2014. The university, located in Pasadena, California, provides a free tuition to hundreds around the world.
Students are responsible for paying a registration fee determined by income and country of residence, ranging from $10 to $50 and a $100 adminstration fee for each exam taken per student. An Associates degree requires 20 exams and 40 exams to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. If you can’t pay, scholarships are available to apply to pay for these costs.
ALICE LLOYD COLLEGE
Located in Pippa Passe, Kentucky, this liberal arts, Christian college guarantees free tuition to residents of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia who may qualify. The catch? All enrolled students must be employed through the student work program either on-campus or within the local community. Duties would include library assistants, maintenance positions and such for at least 10 hours a week in order to obtain the free tuition. Room and board can also be free if you work at least 15 hours a week with 500 plus jobs available to the students.
Alice Lloyd College is a four-year college, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, that offers 18 bachelor’s degree programs in science, art, medicine, law and more and several minors, such as social science and accounting. They also have implemented eight pre-professional programs. With an acceptance rate of only 18%, ALC has approximately 600 students with a 20:1 student/teacher ratio.
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF THE BIBLE
Located in Moberly, Missouri, this four-year, private college was founded in 1957 and is a nondenominational Christian college. Central Christian College of the Bible offers full-tuition scholarships to this seeking a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the following: Religious Studies, Christian Counselors, Youth and Family Ministry, General Ministry, Christian Education, Christian Counselors, Cross-Cultural Ministry, and Pastoral Ministry. Accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the college serves 300 plus students with its faculty of published scholars and currently also offer certificate programs in Music Ministry and Children’s Ministry. In order to qualify for the full-tuition scholarship, you must be enrolled on-campus as it does not apply to Central’s online programs. The scholarship equals up to 18 hours of study per semester in cost of tuition.
Central Christian College of the Bible also offers several other scholarships.
HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1884 and located in Lawrence, Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University is a public, coeducational, tribal college accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. At nearly 1,000 students per semester, the university represents approximately 140 Tribal nations and Alaska Native communities offering associates and bachelor degree programs. Although there is not a tuition charge, students are responsible for paying semester fees.
The university’s mission statement is as follows: “The mission of Haskell Indian Nations University is to build the leadership capacity of our students by serving as the leading institution of academic excellence, cultural and intellectual prominence, and holistic education to address the needs of Indigenous communities.” and boasts a “unique cultural experience.
Bachelor’s degrees can be obtained in American Indian studies, elementary teacher education, business administration and environmental science.
CURTIS INSTITUTE OF MUSIC
Got a flare for music? At Curtis Institute of Music, founded in 1924, students must audition before acceptance into the school, and with only a 4 percent acceptance rate, you must have be an exceptionally gifted talent. Tuition is paid in full at Curtis, which is located in Phildelphia, and financial need is not a factor thanks to the donations and endowment revenues they receive. An undergraduate tuition at Curtis is valued at approximately $37,000 and a graduate student’s tuition is valued at almost $50,000. Financial assistance for room and board is available based on need alone and students living on campus are expected to pay around $24,000 a year in housing, fees, and other expenses.
The institute provides complete musical training, as well as liberal arts courses, to only 165 students enrolled each year. There is neither a minimum or maximum age requirement to attend and those training at Curtis may receive a performance Diploma, a Bachelor or Music degree, a Master of Music in Opera degree, or a Professional Studies Certificate in Opera.
Talk about highly esteemed teachers, Curtis’ faculty boasts trained instrumentalists that holds 16% of the principal chairs of the top U.S. ochestras!
COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS
With the tuition valued at approximately $18,000 per year, College of the Ozarks offers free tuition to their students by requiring them to work on campus 15 hours per week and, in addition, also work two 40-hour work weeks during the school year in various positions on campus. Students can possibly work as adminsitrative assistants or custodians or even dairy farmers. Located in beautiful Point Lookout, Missouri, the school covers the tuition by receiving grant and scholarship monies from the students, as well as, the school’s endowment. Room and board is either covered via working through their summer work program or simply as an out of pocket expense per student.
Different fields of study are available at this private, liberal arts school ranging from bachelor’s degrees in accounting to culinary arts. By providing free tuition to its 1,400 students, a rigorous program, Chirstian values, and a dedication to their students, College of the Ozarks is considered on the best regional colleges in the Midwest.
Christian-centered Barclay College, located in Haviland, Kansas offers free tuition and room and board for all full-time, on campus residents and off-campus residents receive partial scholarships. This free tuition is offered to only a couple hundred students whom are looking to work in pastoral and religion-based professions. In order to receive the free tuition, valued at approximately $11,000 per year, students must complete 96 hours of service in order to graduate from Barclay College.
Barclay, which currently has a 49% admission rate, offers bachelor’s degree programs in Christian Elementary Education, Youth Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Sports and Recreatioinal Leadership, Business Administration, as well as, Associate degrees in Biblical Studies and General Studies. Professional certificates in Bible Knowledge, Ministry and, also, a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership degree is offered at the school. Barclay’s mission is to “prepare students in a Bible-centered environment for effective Christian life, service and leadership.”
Cooper Union, located in New York City, is a highly regarded institution of learning that features the School of Art, the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, an the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. Undergraduate and graduate students receive free tuition scholarships, a value of over $19,000 per semester. It’s not completely free though…due to growing financial concerns, the school has abandoned, as of fall 2014, its free full tuition scholarship but still offers a half tuition discount to all incoming freshmen. There is also additional aid based on the students’ needs to help with tuition, housing, food, books, etc.
Cooper Union, also known as The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, has a 7% acceptance rate, a 94% freshman retention rate and consists of almost 1000 students.
Kentucky’s Berea College is a tuition-free college in which students are required to work at least 10 hours on-campus per week in one of over 140 departments in order to receive the free tuition and a low salary to help with room and board and school books. The private, liberal arts, faith based school is able to offer free tuition thanks to its very large endowment and grant money that is required to cover up to $25,000 per year in tuition charge per student. Berea feels that requiring students to work in order to pay for their way gives them a good sense of the real world through a dedication to the work and studies combined.
Located in Berea, Kentucky, the college has about 1,600 undergraduates from all over the world in attendance studying in one of 28 degree programs. In addition, they boasts an 11-to-1 student/faculty ratio and has an 11% acceptance rate along with an average of 79.5% freshman retentiion rate. All students are required to live on-campus unless they are married, a parent or are 23 years of age or older.
DEEP SPRINGS COLLEGE
Deep Springs College, located in Inyo County, California, is a very small two-year college that is only available to men until a ruling that attempted to change that policy in 2013 to include women has been delayed until the 2015-2016 school year at the earliest. Students, usually no more than 26 at a time enrolled, have full scholarships that cover tuition, room and board but are required to work at least 20 hours a week on the school’s alfalfa farm and cattle ranch or in positions relating to the school or the community. With a tuition value of about $50,000 annually and an admissions rate that varies between 6% and 15%, students obtaining this unique experience generally go on to complete their degree at a four-year college and are accepted at some of the most pretisgious institutions in the world.
One of the coolest facts about Deep Springs is that the students are the decision-makers on many important happenings within the college itself such as the hiring of faculty members, admissions and the curriculum itself. But, in order to gain admittance into this college, one must be exceptional and two of the key factors in the admissions process are the required essays and the interviews conducted.
WILLIAMSON FREE SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL TRADES
Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades is an all male junior college that provides its students with free tuition, in addition to, covering their textbooks and room and board. All students of the school are required to live on campus, be unmarried and less than 20 years old in order to be eligible for admission. Located in Media, Pennsylvana, its 250 students are also required to attend a daily chapel service, follow a dress code, and participate in, at least, one student activity each year which includes team sports, student government or the student newspaper.
The “Judeo-Christian” school provides programs of study in the areas of carpentry, horticulture, turf management, landscaping, masonry, painting, machine tools and power plant technology. Most graduate with an Associate’s degree and the term of study is generally three years.
Of the 95 new students admitted each year, the school’s preference of selecting students from the Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania regions is clear.
Located in Glen Cove, New York, Webb Institute is a small, engineering college that offer free tuition, valued at $41,500 per year, via endowments to any academically driven student seeking a career in engineering. All students double major in naval architecture and marine engineering. With a 37% acceptance rate and an average 87.2% freshman retention rate, 100% of their graduates land jobs in the maritime industry. Students also must work in the industry during Winter Work Term and receive a salary which gives them real-world experiences. Room and board is not included but students may apply for federal loans and grants to cover these expenses.
Webb Insititute, a highly accredited school that has 80 students, is the only ship-design engineering school in the nation that offers a full, four year scholarship for their students thanks to endowments and donations. Programs include ship design, mechanical engineering, marine engineering, systems engineering, electrical engineering and civil/structural engineering.
WILLIAMSON E. MACUALAY HONORS COLLEGE
At Williamson E. Macualay Honors College, located in New York City, tuition is free for in-state residents, a value of $5,730 per year. Accepting exceptional students only, Macualay also provides a laptop and $7,500 in what they call “opportunity funds” that students may use for various research projects, internships and study abroad programs, as well as, a Cultural Passport to New York City arts and cultural events. With a student body of 1,400, all students are required to complete 10 hours of community service in each of their first three years at a minimum.
UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
Located in West Point, New York, students’ tuition is covered under two requirements…one, that they join the military after graduation and two, that they play on a sports team each semester. A nomination received from either a member of Congress, the President or the Vice President of the United States is required upon a candidate’s application for admission to the Academy.
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY
Located in New London, Connecticut, the United States Coastal Guard provides free tuition, valued at $72,000 per year for at least five years of service after graduation. The program offers students a choice in Bachelor of Science degree in eitherm Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Operations Research/Computer Analysis, Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering, Management, Government and Marine and Environmental Sciences.
UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, enrollees, also known as midshipmen, at the United States Naval Academy receive free tuition by serving in the U.S. Navy after graduation. Twenty-five majors are offered, including, Aerospace Engineering, Oceanography, Physics, Nuclear Engineering, to name a few. Candidates, much like the US Military Academy, for admission must apply directly to the Naval Academy as well as receive a nomination generally from a member of Congress.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY
Located in El Paso County, Colorado, the United States Air Force Academy also offers free tuition to its students graduating and then serving.
UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY
Located in Great Neck, New York, students attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy are required as well to serve after graduation but in addition, they spend a year of college (generally part of their sophomore and junior years) upon a merchant ship to gain the real world experiences and visiting many foreign countries. The USMMA calls this the Sea Year program. Midshipman are trained in maritime law, marine engineering, customs, international law, personnel managment, navigation, among many other skills needed to run a large ship.