Students without the necessary means to afford a college education should fret no longer! This list includes outstanding free colleges and free universities (or as close to free as possible) that also offer superb degree programs and majors. The list of schools below is not ranked in any particular order as they are specific to the needs of the students. There are schools on this list that cater to musicians, Christian students, engineers, members of the military, and more! Those students who meet certain standards and criteria are eligible for these tuition-free colleges, yet still, have the same opportunities and resources available to individuals who pay full price. These programs are made possible thanks to donations and endowments, as well as the inclinations of the school founders.
- All information is cited from the unbiased, independent NCES.gov’s College Navigator
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Listing of Free Colleges and Universities
BARCLAY COLLEGE – Haviland, Kansas
Barclay College was established in 1917 as the Kansas Central Bible Training School, and from 1925 – 1990 was known as the Friends Bible College. Now Barclay College, this free Christian college was established by Quakers, yet is a welcoming home to students of all evangelical faiths. The mission is largely focused on preparing students for Christian service and leadership. Some undergraduate degrees include Bachelor’s in Worship Arts, Pastoral Ministry, and Youth Ministry. There are also prominent Master’s programs of which students can take advantage. The free tuition is made possible through the Full-Tuition Scholarship, with which all resident students receive a $15,000 scholarship when they are accepted into Barclay. This scholarship is available thanks to supporters of the school who believe in giving Christian students access to a fantastic education without being overwhelmed with debt.
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BEREA COLLEGE – Berea, Kentucky
This free Christian college supplies students with programs that are shaped by fairness, peace, love, and equality, and students are only required to pay an average price of $1,000 for meals, housing, and fees. Otherwise, the entirety of an individual’s education is completely free! Over a four-year degree, students receive an education that is worth approximately $100,000. Located in the Southern United States, Berea College was founded by reformers and abolitionists with the mission to purvey the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ. Students are actively engaged on campus through the Student Labor Program, through which they serve the community and learn invaluable lessons, and which also helps keep their programs tuition free. Berea College has been recognized many times over for their dedication to students with limited resources, by resources such as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and USA Today, as well as many others.
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ALICE LLOYD COLLEGE – Pippa Passes, Kentucky
Alice Lloyd College is a well-respected institution of higher education that offers free tuition to students within their service area, which includes 108 counties that span over 5 states—Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. This free college is highly dedicated to the success of its students and provides an excellent range of four-year degree programs in a small, private, liberal arts setting. Degrees include those in business, medicine, education, social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and mathematics, each of which challenges students to think outside the box. A huge number of graduates go on to enter excellent master’s programs, and are even more likely to do so thanks to the free college tuition! Alice Lloyd maintains an outstanding 96% job placement rate for its graduates, which is a testament to the superb levels of education provided by the faculty and administration.
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COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS – Point Lookout, Missouri
Through a combination of the college Work Program, institutional scholarships, and federal and state grants, College of the Ozarks students can complete their entire education entirely tuition-free. There are no students loans and no payments due throughout a students college experience, but they are required to give back to the community through hard work. Through this incredible free college, students gain invaluable experiences, ethics, and educations that are incredibly well-founded. Otherwise known as Hard Work U, there are over 100 jobs and positions of which students can take advantage to augment the price of tuition. This free Christian College is also focused on nurturing students’ faith by offering ministry retreats, mission trips, Bible studies, and other such opportunities. C of O has been educating students since 1906 and is founded on the principles set forth by the Presbyterian Church. Students at this free college can look forward to a fulfilling experience and outstanding education.
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WEBB INSTITUTE – Glen Cove, New York
The Webb Institute is an exceptional, top-ranked East Coast school that offers one double-major in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, with which all admitted students receive a four-year free college tuition scholarship. The free tuition is valued at over $50,000 per year, which saves students over $200,000 in student debt upon graduation. Webb offers students a small student-to-faculty ratio at 9:1, where they work closely with their professors in classrooms, laboratories, and out in the field. Students participate in a mandatory Winter Work Term, wherein they labor alongside ship fitters and welders receiving a salary for their work, while also getting invaluable, real-world experience. During the regular school year at this free college, students learn on a stunningly beautiful, 26-acre campus with a private beach. Webb maintains an outstanding 100% job placement rate, and often times alumni will go on to enter eminent graduate programs.
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DEEP SPRINGS COLLEGE – Deep Springs, California
Deep Springs College is an incredibly unique school for men that offers a two-year, free college tuition scholarship valued at over $50,000. A small school, Deep Springs accepts about 315 applicants each year, of which about 14 are accepted after a second round of applications, essays, and interviews. 24 to 30 students are in attendance each year where they live and work on an alfalfa farm and cattle ranch in eastern California. The farming atmosphere is not the only thing that makes this free college of the liberal arts so unique—the student body is the deciding group for many aspects of maintaining the college such as admissions and hiring faculty. Students start their day with classes and lectures and then are sent off to work on the farm where they labor for no less than 20 hours each week. Students have gone on to work in journalism, agriculture, medicine, politics, and much, much more after their fulfilling and free college experience at Deep Springs College.
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WARREN WILSON COLLEGE – Swannanoa, North Carolina
This small, Southern liberal-arts college of about 680 students offers North Carolina residents a free college tuition plan for those who qualify for state or federal need-based financial aid. Warren Wilson College distinctive need-based grants and scholarships, cover the remaining cost for these students, giving them a free college experience of an impeccable register. One such grant includes the WWC work-grant, wherein students participate in campus and community labor by working with one of many different work crews in maintenance, publishing, garden work, cattle raising, and much more incredibly gratifying areas. In fact, much of the food available at the dining hall is grown and raised right on Warren Wilson’s gorgeous 1,135-acre campus! Education at this free college offers students 44 majors and concentrations that can be combined to suit individual goals and pursuits.
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CURTIS INSTITUTE OF MUSIC – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Cutis Institute of Music is a highly competitive school that offers free tuition to undergraduate and graduate students, alike. The student body is quite small at about 175 students and accepts only 4% of applicants each year. In this way, Curtis students receive an incredibly in-depth and personalized music education that is focused on “learning by doing.” There are over 200 offerings through orchestral groups, opera, chamber music, and more, all of which are led by world-renowned musicians and instructors. The free college tuition covers an annual amount of $42,320 for undergraduate students and $52,548 for graduate students, however, all are required to pay for administrative fees and textbooks. The Curtis Institute of Music has been maintaining the free tuition for all students since 1928 through scholarships and merit-based aid.
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MACAULAY HONORS COLLEGE – New York City, New York
A school within the City University of New York system, Macaulay Honors College offers free college tuition for four-year undergraduate students (except for administrative fees). Macaulay is CUNY’s Honors College and provides an incredibly unique free college experience for New York state residents. The free tuition is available thanks to scholarships from institutional, federal, state, and TAP sources. Macaulay is a competitive and selective institution of higher education that is considered one of the top 5 honors colleges in the country. Students can attend this free college at one of CUNY’s 8 campuses throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, yet all students attend some courses and lectures at the home campus in Manhattan’s upper west side. Not only do students receive free tuition, but they also receive an Apple laptop that includes all of the most up-to-date and necessary applications for their needs at Macaulay.
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UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE – Pasadena, California
University of the People is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online American university. This school is distinctive among others on this catalog as it offers students 100% online degrees! Aside from the $60 application fee and the $100 assessment fees per course, students have a completely free college experience throughout their time at this online school. Students do not pay for books or course materials of any kind and attend tuition-free university courses online. UoPeople is partnered with many impressive companies and organizations that make the free tuition possible, such as Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft, as well as many others. The university also has partnerships with top-ranked institutions of education, such as NYU, UC Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, and the International Baccalaureate. The school has received glowing recognition from outstanding sources including BusinessWeek and The Economist. Students at this tuition-free university can enroll in associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees programs in the areas of Business Administration, Computer Science, Education, and Health Science.
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HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY – Lawrence, Kansas
Haskell Indian Nations University was founded to give American Indians and Alaska Natives a strong and substantial free college experience. Students at this free university save about $20,000 per year, and only pay the annual institutional fees which total $715 for on-campus students and $240 off-campus students. Haskell maintains strong traditions and Indigenous Peoples’ practices, and students have the distinctive opportunity to engage with over 100 tribes each semester. In 2015, there were over 70 students representing Cherokee tribes at HINU who, cumulatively, saved about $350,000 thanks to this free college. Students can major in associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in the five colleges available at the university, which includes: the College of Humanities, the College of Natural and Social Sciences, and Professional Schools. This free university is unique among all institutions of higher education in the United States and provides excellent opportunities for American Indians and Tribesman.
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BLACKBURN COLLEGE – Carlinville, Illinois
Blackburn College offers a free tuition promise to local students in the state of Illinois whose families earn an average of $60,000 per year or less, which is known as the Affordable Access Award and was enacted by the Blackburn College President, Dr. John Comerford. Blackburn is a well-established school that has been educating students since 1837. This free college offers over 30 degrees and programs and some of the most popular include business administration, management, accounting, and criminal justice. Blackburn is known as a Work College, where students are required to work at least 160 hours in a semester, wherein they can earn $5,500 each year! In this way, Blackburn College is incredibly well-supported by its students who, for example, have built 9 of the 20 buildings on campus through the work program. There is an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio and the current enrollment is about 570 students, making the campus an intimate, close-knit learning environment with a huge amount of access to professors and facilities.
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CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF THE BIBLE – Moberly, Missouri
This free Christian college offers a full-tuition scholarship to 100 new or transferring students each year that covers up to 17 credit hours per semester. However, the scholarship is not limited to these students, as Central Christian College of the Bible also retains the right to award the free tuition to other students. Each person who receives the scholarship continues to receive free college tuition until they finish their first undergraduate degree. Retaining the award requires that students attend an on-campus degree, keep at least a 2.0 GPA, complete 90% of the Christian Service hours every semester, and attend 80% of the Chapel Services. There is a strong tradition of Christian beliefs at this free college, which operates under values such as prayerful ministry, a heritage of biblical authority, and discipleship. The student enrollment is quite small each year, at around 200, and students only have the most excellent things to say about their alma mater.
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WILLIAMSON COLLEGE OF THE TRADES – Media, Pennsylvania
Williamson College of the Trades is a young men’s college that offers free tuition to all students. There are certain requirements by which each student must abide, which includes being under the age of 20 prior to admission, completing the designated work hours each semester, engaging in school activities outside of class such as athletics, attending chapel services, and adhering to the dress code and grooming regulations. This free college of the trades is tied to the Judeo-Christian faith and maintains a strong focus on moral conduct and excellence. There are about 265 men enrolled at Williamson who major in Associate in Specialized Technology Degrees and Craftsmen Diplomas. Some examples of programs in the school include horticulture, masonry, carpentry, and machine tool technology. The campus includes numerous shops, labs, and plants, as well as educational centers in which students learn and perfect their trade of choice.
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CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco, California
The City College of San Francisco offers an exciting opportunity for residents of the city to attend the school under a completely free tuition program through a partnership with the city itself. This two-year college is well-accredited and has a vibrant campus life. The free tuition gives students access to an enormous amount of opportunities through the resources, clubs, and academics provided by the City College. Not only can students attended on-campus programs, but there are also fantastic options through the free college courses online! Some of the most popular programs at this free college include the Liberal Arts and Humanities degrees, those in the Social Sciences, and the Biological and Physical Science. Students graduate with transferrable credits to carry over into an undergraduate degree of their choice, as well as the skills and understanding necessary to begin a career in their area of choice, if possible. Students have excellent things to say about this school, especially about the active campus and mindful professors.
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ST. LOUIS CHRISTIAN COLLEGE – Florissant, Missouri
While a student’s entire four-year undergraduate degree is not entirely paid for by St. Louis Christian College, through the NexGen+ program, high school graduates receive 2 years of free tuition. Through this scholarship program, individuals can complete an associate’s degree without paying a dime, and have a solid foundation to continue their degree at St. Louis, or elsewhere. After the first two years, there are numerous other grants and scholarship programs that can make the already low tuition costs even more affordable. This free Christian college is quite small with an enrollment of around 100 students each year. There is also a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, making the classes small, intimate, and capable of giving each and every student a voice. The most popular program at SLCC is the Biblical Studies program. This school maintains a strong faith in the Bible and follows the traditions of Evangelism and Christian Unity.
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UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY – El Paso County, Colorado
Cadets in the United States Air Force Academy receive free tuition and free room and board in an education that is valued at over $400,000. Students at this institution engage in military, athletic, academic, and character development programs while completing an education and training in the air force. There are over 20 majors and minors available to students and some of the more popular are, for example, Business Administration, Economics, and Systems Engineering. Acceptance is competitive at the US Air Force Academy as only 15% of applicants are accepted. The student body is a little larger than most of the schools on this list with over 4,000 students in attendance. Upon completing an education at this free college, members go on to complete 5 years of active duty and 3 years reserve. Cadets are pushed to their limits and learn to exercise all of the skill, knowledge, and strength at their command.
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UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY – New London, Connecticut
At the United States Coast Guard Academy, the free tuition, which is valued at over $280,000, is made entirely possible by the government. Students at this prestigious military school are actually paid a salary, as well, which means that some students graduate with more money than when they entered college! This free college gives students an incredibly solid education, after which they are required to serve in the Coast Guard for 5 years, yet 85% of alumni stay on for more than that. Graduates also automatically achieve positions of leadership. There are excellent programs in engineering and computer sciences at the US Coast Guard Academy, as well as those in government and management. The school has around 1,000 enrolled cadets with an average of 16 students per class, making the campus close-knit and highly supportive. This free college boasts a 100% job placement rate, which is very rare and, of course, the best in the entire country.
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UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY – West Point, NY
The United States Military Academy, which is most commonly known as West Point, accepts 10% of applicants every year, all of whom receive free tuition, room, and board. The goal of the USMA is to create strong leaders within the military, and, in doing so, provides their students with rigorous training and education programs from day 1. Students are encouraged to create a unified and supportive environment for one another in the more than 40 academic majors available. Some of the most popular degree programs at West Point include Business Administration and Management, Mechanical Engineering, and Systems Engineering. This free college provides a well-disciplined, academically challenging, and highly supportive learning environment, all of which takes place on a gorgeous campus with Norman-style academic buildings and residence halls and is situated north of New York City on the western bank of the Hudson River.
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UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY – Annapolis, MD
As the undergraduate college of our country’s naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers and leaders of sailors and Marines. Naval Academy students are midshipmen on active duty in the U.S. Navy. They attend the Academy for four years, graduating with bachelor of science degrees and commissions as ensigns in the Navy or second lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Naval Academy graduates serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps.
The Navy pays 100% of the tuition, room, and board, medical and dental care costs of Naval Academy midshipmen. This means ALL students who attend the Naval Academy do so on a full scholarship in return for 5 years of active duty service upon graduation. Additionally, you also enjoy regular active-duty benefits including access to military commissaries and exchanges, commercial transportation and lodging discounts and the ability to fly space-available in military aircraft around the world.
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Students who are lucky enough to earn enrollment at one of these free colleges or universities are some of the most fortunate individuals in higher education. Many students exit their degrees with a staggering amount of debt to be paid off over the next few decades, yet graduates from these schools can enter the workforce and start saving money right from the start. Many of these free colleges and universities represent some of the finest and most well-respected higher education institutions in America. With free college tuition, these students have the ability and opportunity to pour their attention into other ventures without being over-burdened by college debt! There are a considerable amount of different learning environments included on this list so that students can feel at home with whichever free college they choose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these schools all 100% free?
Many of these schools are 100%, and some, such as the United States Military institutions, even give their students a salary throughout the school year! However, there are some schools on this list that do require students to pay some administrative fees, but these amounts are negligible considering what they would be paying at other schools.
Is there anything extra expected of me since I am not paying for school?
Indeed, a lot of these free colleges and universities require that their students follow specific rules and regulations to maintain their enrollment, such as a dress code attending chapel services, or completing service/work hours. However, most students cherish these activities and are proud to give back to their alma mater.
If I am not paying for my college tuition, then who is?
Free college tuition is made possible thanks to the generous donations of alumni and other benefactors, as well as state, federal, and institutional grants and scholarships. Often the local community contributes to the tuition costs of these college students, as well.