Tuition-Free Colleges and Universities

Think college has to be expensive? Think again. Fifteen schools in the United States currently offer free tuition and fees (and sometimes room and board) to all admitted students. The colleges and universities range from highly selective, rural liberal arts colleges, to public universities in the City of New York. Take a look below:

Liberal Arts Colleges

  • Antioch College Located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch is best known for mandatory co-op program where students earn credit for off-campus, experiential educational experiences around the world. It is the only liberal arts college in the nation to have the requirement. The school was famously featured in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives for its commitment to educating students to become effective adults. The college was forced to close in 2008 due to financial instability but reopened in 2011. Antioch is offering full-tuition scholarships to all students entering the school in 2011-2014.
  • Deep Springs College Featured in Donald Asher’s Cool Colleges, Deep Springs is a truly unique undergraduate college. It has been in the public eye this year for its decision to admit women after serving only men for nearly 100 years. This two-year, private college in California with a student body of 26 boasts an acceptance rate of around 10%. Students at Deep Springs operate a self-sufficient farm as a community and is self-governed by students, faculty, and administrators. After two-years students often transfer to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world. The most popular include Harvard, University of Chicago, Yale, and Brown. Deep Springs has always offered its students free tuition, room, and board.

Engineering and Technical Schools

  • Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science Despite rumors to the contrary, Cooper Union will continue to offer all undergraduates free tuition. This privately funded college is located in the East Village of Manhattan. Cooper Union was founded under the principle that all students regardless of background deserve a superior education. It has two undergraduate colleges, a school of engineering and a school of fine arts. Cooper Union is fiercely competitive, with its elite architecture and engineering programs, only about 6% of students are admitted.
  • Webb Institute Webb is a highly specialized college in Glen Clove, New York that offers only 2 majors, naval architecture and marine engineering. The college is made up of only 90 students, 12% of whom are female. The highlight of Webb’s academic program is its ship model basin. Nearly 100% of Webb Institute graduates are employed in the maritime industry immediately upon graduation.

Public Colleges

  • William E Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York A flagship program for 1,400 of the most talented students in the City University of New York (CUNY), Macaulay boasts an average SAT score of 1404 (Math+Critical Reading). Students come from all over the world. All students who attend Macaulay receive full-tuition scholarships, $7,500 grants, MacBook Pros, and specialized advisers.

Service Academies

  • US Air Force Academy Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Air Force Academy trains cadets to serve the nation as members of the US Air Force. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees. To gain admission, all candidates must successfully pass a fitness examination, undergo a medical examination, and secure a nomination from a Member of Congress from the applicant’s local district. Cadets receive their tuition, fees, room, board, and a monthly stipend from the US Government but must commit to serve in the air force for a given number of years.
  • US Coast Guard Academy Located in New London, Connecticut, the Coast Guard Academy trains cadets to serve the nation as members of the US Coast Guard. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees. To gain admission, all candidates must successfully pass a fitness examination, undergo a medical examination, and secure a nomination from a Member of Congress from the applicant’s local district. Cadets receive their tuition, fees, room, board, and a monthly stipend from the US Government but must commit to serve in the coast guard for 5 years.
  • US Merchant Marine Academy Located in Kings Point, New York, the Merchant Marine Academy trains cadets to serve the nation as members of the US Merchant Marines. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees. To gain admission, all candidates must successfully pass a fitness examination, undergo a medical examination, and secure a nomination from a Member of Congress from the applicant’s local district. Cadets receive their tuition, fees, room, board, and a monthly stipend from the US Government but must commit to serve in the merchant marines for at least 6 years.
  • US Military Academy Located in West Point, New York, the US Military Academy at West Point trains cadets to serve the nation as members of the US Army. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees. To gain admission, all candidates must successfully pass a fitness examination, undergo a medical examination, and secure a nomination from a Member of Congress from the applicants local district. Cadets receive their tuition, fees, room, board, and a monthly stipend from the US Government but must commit to serve in the army for 5 years of active duty and 3 years of reserve duty.
  • US Naval Academy Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the US Naval Academy trains cadets to serve the nation as members of the US Army. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees. To gain admission, all candidates must successfully pass a fitness examination, undergo a medical examination, and secure a nomination from a Member of Congress from the applicant’s local district. Cadets receive their tuition, fees, room, board, and a monthly stipend from the US Government but must commit to serve in the navy for 5 years after graduation.

Work Colleges

  • Alice Lloyd College A liberal arts, Christian work college in Pippa Passes, Kentucky, Alice Lloyd College works to educate future leaders of Appalachia. All students receive free tuition and fees in exchange for 10-20 hours of work per week at the college. Alice Lloyd is committed to providing higher education to all students regardless of financial background. As a result, nearly 75% of students are the first in their families to attend college.
  • Berea College Located in Berea, Kentucky, Berea is a liberal arts, Christian work college. Berea is committed to representing all students in higher education and thus 33% of students are ethnic minorities. To earn tuition, all students must work approximately 10 hours per week serving the college. Admissions to Berea is competitive; only 12% of students are admitted.
  • College of the Ozarks A liberal arts, Christian work college in Point Lookout, Missouri, College of the Ozarks offers its 1,300 students Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. Founded on the principle that every hard-working student deserves a free education, all students receive full-tuition scholarships under the condition that they work 15 hours per week and two 40 hour per week blocks over breaks. Like many tuition-free schools, College of the Ozarks is incredibly selective, accepting only 9% of applicants.

Conservatories

  • Curtis Institute of Music This Philadelphia conservatory is the most selective college in the United States, accepting just 4% of applicants (1/3 less than Harvard). Graduates receive a performance Diploma, Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in Opera, or Professional Studies Certificate in Opera. Curtis admits enough students each year to fill a full orchestra, which totals about 160 students per class.

Online Colleges

  • University of the People Though unaccredited, this online university funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to provide all individuals of any academic, financial, or geographic background access to higher education. The University of the People uses instructional models in addition to learning by teaching and peer learning. Leaders of the University include deans from Columbia University, New York University, Yale University, University of Michigan, and Oxford University. The University grants both Associates and Bachelors degrees in business and computer science.

Other

  • Barclay College A Quaker college in Haviland, Kansas, Barclay College seeks to teach its students to become effective Christian leaders. Barclay offers Bachelor degree programs in Youth Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Music Ministry, Bible/Theology, Missions, Psychology and Family Studies, Bi-Vocational Missions, Christian School Elementary Education, and Business Administration. Despite its small size of 167 students, Barclay has soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams.

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