Best Tuition-Free Colleges in the US 2024 Guide: Students might be thinking financial aid is all that can save them from striking college sticker prices. Whereas, having the option of tuition-free colleges seems like an unobtainable dream.
Fortunately, yes, it is possible to avoid paying the tuition fee and attend college at the same time. If you make the decision wisely, you can get admission to tuition-free colleges. If this is your concern, then you will find a list of colleges/ universities that do not ask for tuition fees.
On this page, We have tried to elaborate and put the Best Tuition-Free Colleges on the table for you. If you are on your way to pursuing a higher education degree, then going to a tuition-free college can save you up to thousands of dollars.
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Best Tuition-Free Colleges In the United States
The Tuition Fee is an amount of money that has been paid in exchange for education, especially charged by colleges and universities. It has increased gradually over the years. For the current academic year, there has been a right shift in the curve for college tuition fees in the US.
As per the survey reports, both private and public colleges have increased their course tuition fees for the 2024-2025 academic session.
During the pandemic, fees were lowered to a certain level concerning the impact on the economic conditions of the families. As of now, private colleges’ tuition fees have increased by 4%, whereas public colleges have increased by around 0.8% to 1%.
Now, coming back to the sources through which the students are able to lower the sticker price. Financial Aid! It helps to cut off out-of-pocket expenses with the help of scholarships, grants, loans, etc. Afterward, the net amount (which is less than compared to the sticker price) is paid by the family.
However, many times, financial aid fails to fill in the gap, and many families have to opt for loans. And that is when the Best Tuition-Free Colleges come into the picture.
You might be wondering if tuition-free colleges are only for scholars and students with athletic and artistic backgrounds. Well, let us tell you that this is not the case at all. If you know where to look, you can find a way to avoid paying the tuition fee.
Know more about the Best Tuition-Free Colleges through the following shared lists on this page.
16 Free Tuition Universities In The US
Here, we have listed 16 Free Tuition Universities In The US that you can refer to if you are looking forward to pursuing a college degree. Before starting to present these universities, we would like to enlighten you about the term ‘Demonstrated Need’.
It is an amount that is left after subtracting the expected family contribution from the college tuition fee.
The gap is often used to determine the student’s need for financial aid, and assistance is provided to fill the void. The following are the Best Tuition-Free Colleges as they pledge to fulfill 100% of the students’ demonstrated needs.
Students may go through the Best Tuition Free Colleges In the United States and visit their official websites for more information about the admission application.
1. Antioch College (Ohio)
Antioch College is doing its best to help students with financial problems to have exposure to quality education.
As per the academic session 2017-18, every student received some financial assistance in the form of either need-based or merit-based financial aid.
Most importantly, it promises to provide a full-tuition scholarship to students who have been awarded the Federal Pell Grant.
It is awarded to such students (undergraduates) who have serious financial conditions at home. Furthermore, their approach to admission is need-blind.
Getting admission to such a college can take some weight off your shoulders. Keep in mind the student is required to maintain academic progress to keep getting the benefits.
In addition, the room and board costs are required to be borne by the student himself.
2. Barclay College (Kansas)
The Barclay College, situated in Kansas, provides an opportunity to pursue a tuition-free degree to those students who reside on campus.
Students who have opted for a full-time college course are eligible for this scholarship. However, the general fees, room, technology, and board costs are not a part of the scholarship.
In addition, the college offers other scholarships and grants that are applicable to off-campus students as well.
3. Berea College (Kentucky)
Ever since 1892, Berea College has not been charging tuition fees to students who wouldn’t usually be able to afford higher education.
The college provides free tuition scholarships to students with a family income band of less than $30,000.
You can enroll for admission, and all your worries will be taken care of by Berea College. Its work programs help students to cover their additional expenses.
The college pays from $5.60 to $8.75/hour for on-campus work. Around 1400+ students did not pay any tuition fees. The college depends on donors to make tuition-free education for its students.
4. Curtis Institute of Music (Pennsylvania)
The Curtis Institute of Music is one the known Tuition-Free Colleges In Pennsylvania. The majority of students at the institute get merit-based and full-tuition fee scholarships, irrespective of their financial background.
The tuition-free scholarships include all the educational expenses. Students can avail of the benefits of need-based scholarships to cover other expenses.
The annual scholarship worth for the 2024-2025 academic year is $48,557 (undergraduate) and $60,291 (graduate students). Students are required to renew this scholarship each year of enrollment.
5. Deep Springs College (Nevada)
Students enrolling for admission to Deep Springs College can apply for tuition-free scholarships regardless of their financial background.
What makes this college different from others is that this scholarship, unlike others, includes housing expenses as well.
The cost of room and board will be covered under this scholarship. However, the students will be liable to pay for study material, travel, medical insurance, incidental expenses, and damage deposits. Students can cut off these expenses with the help of demonstrated need aid.
6. Duke University (North Carolina)
Duke University fills the financial gap by offering need-based scholarships to all students. In 2019, more than 50% of its students were free from paying the tuition fee.
In addition, the aggregate funds for grants and scholarships are estimated to be over $160 million in the same year. Furthermore, the college offers federal loans, work-study aid, and scholarships to students to cover their out-of-pocket expenses.
7. Haskell Indian Nations University (KS)
The Haskell Indian Nations University is a tribal university that is based in Kansas. American Indian and natives of Alaska students are eligible for the tuition-free scholarship.
For such a case, the tribe of the students must be recognized by the federal government. Like many universities listed here, this also does not include technology, housing, and other additional fee in the package.
These expenses are around $240/semester for the students who live outside the campus. Whereas for the on-campus students, it ranges from $715/semester.
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is best known as MIT and is very well known for its reputation in the world. Here, students having less than $90,000 in family income get 100% coverage of demonstrated needs from the college.
Students do not have to worry about their tuition fees. The university has some of the best science programs to offer, and around 40 astronauts have graduated from this esteemed institute.
You don’t have to worry about your financial condition; check your eligibility for a free-tuition scholarship and enroll for admission.
9. Stanford University (California)
Stanford University is located in California, where students are offered quality education irrespective of their financial backgrounds. About 65% of its students receive financial assistance to cover the cost of attendance.
In case you come from a family with a weak financial status, the college offers help through need-based scholarships. In addition, the university promise to cover the cost of tuition fee if students’ parents earn under $75,000.
Under this, the cost of room and board will also be covered along with the tuition fee. Moreover, students having a family income band of $150,000 can get their tuition fees covered through need-based scholarships.
10. Warren Wilson College (NC)
This North Carolina college exempts tuition fees for students who are eligible for need-based scholarships. However, these students have to be in-state residents attending college for the first time and for full-time undergraduate courses.
Students at Warren Wilson College have to work weekly for around eight to sixteen hours to develop a craft. The working hour depends on the student’s year in college.
Warren Wilson offers Milepost One, which is a tuition-free scholarship that is offered to 25 students.
For this, the annual family income should be below or equal to $125,000. It is among the Tuition-Free Universities For International Students as well as DACA students.
11. Webb Institute (NY)
The Webb Institute is an engineering school located in Glen Cove, New York. It is offering full-tuition scholarships to US and permanent resident students. 100% of these students receive full-tuition scholarships.
Over the four years, this scholarship is worth more than $200,000 per student. For additional expenses, students can get coverage from the scholarships that are offered concerning the student’s financial conditions. For this, students must complete the FAFSA form; the college code is 002900.
12. University of New Hampshire
Around 88% of first-time students are offered aid and scholarships to fill the financial gap at the University of New Hampshire.
The average annual scholarship that is offered to students amounts to $12.4K. In addition, the university offers free-tuition scholarships to students who are US residents. I
n addition, this is applicable to only full-time first-year students who are also eligible for Pell Grant. Moreover, the university offers various types of scholarships to first-year, transfer, and continuing students.
13. College of the Ozarks (MO)
College of the Ozarks is based in Point Lookout, Missouri. It is a private Christian college that has an enrollment of more than 1,400 students.
Its student work programs and donations enable full-time students to get their entire tuition covered. However, part-time students still have to pay per credit hour; you can check the credit chart on their official site.
Every student is liable to pay for their health and technology services every semester. The college determines eligibility for financing through Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
14. Blackburn College
Blackburn College is located in Carlinville, Illinois. It is a private university that is best known as the Presbyterian tuition-free college.
During the inauguration of Dr John Comerford as the 16th president of the college, an announcement was made regarding the tuition-free program in 2017.
This program enables many students of the state to attend college completely free of tuition. This is the first college in the state that offers such a facility to students coming from low and moderate annual family incomes.
Students who are eligible for Pell Grant are eligible for free-tuition scholarships. In addition, students have to become on-campus residents by enrolling in the work-study opportunity.
15. Princeton University
Princeton University is an Ivy League college that attracts scholars through top-notch education quality, passionate faculty, and, of course, financial aid.
This university was the first in the United States to eradicate student loans from its financial aid package completely. Afterward, many other Ivy League universities took the same initiative.
The university offers need-based and merit-based scholarships to its university to cover out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, students with a $65,000 household income or less can get 100% demonstrated need coverage.
The university encourages students to enroll for admission, irrespective of where they come from. About 80% of its student graduates without the burden of loan debt.
16. Yale University
Yale University is another esteemed Ivy League college located in New Haven, United States. The university hunts for talented students and encourages them to get admission regardless of their backgrounds.
For this purpose, the university offers financial assistance to every student in need, including international scholars and undocumented immigrants (DACA). During 2019-20, the university offered scholarships to its students that were estimated to be $180 million.
No contribution has to be made towards the fees by families having less than $65,000 yearly income.
Additional expenses are covered through types of grants and scholarships. More than 80% of students graduate college happily without any student loans. Check out more about the admission procedure through their official website.
Also Check: The 10 Best Comedy Clubs For College Students
Tuition-Free Community College in USA 2024
Community colleges are priced reasonably as compared to four-year colleges. However, it is beneficial only when you enroll as an in-district student.
According to a 2022 study, around 20 states have the facility of Tuition-Free Community College. This means if you are residing in the concerned state, then you can get admission completely free of tuition fees.
However, like any other college, you have to pay for other expenses like study materials, travel, health, etc.
The community college provides financial assistance in two ways i.e. First Dollar & Last Dollar. Under First-Dollar, students’ tuition fees are completely covered first. After that, additional grants are offered to the students.
Other educational expenses can be covered through additional financial aid. Whereas Last-Dollar means that the student will be offered the aid first, and then the gap, if any, will be filled and paid by the college.
This does not cover the tuition fees; instead, it pays the remaining gap. Check the states below that provide offers Tuition-Free Community College through last-dollar or first-dollar approach:
Best Tuition-Free Colleges Online
By now, you must have gone through some of the Best Tuition-Free Colleges. These colleges will help you grow by taking care of the cost of attendance.
Additionally, we would like to introduce you to some colleges/ universities that can be a cheaper option for you.
The above-mentioned colleges do offer tuition-free scholarships, but students have to bear other expenses. Such expenses can be lowered by enrolling in Tuition-Free College Online. Some expenses can be lowered by enrolling online; check the universities that do so:
- Alice Lloyd College | A light unto the mountains
- Arizona State University
- Brown University
- City College of San Francisco
- College of the Ozarks
Free College Tuition Pros and Cons
Does the tuition-free college have a negative impact? It is a question that cannot be answered clearly. Keeping this in mind, we jotted down some of the Free College Tuition Pros and Cons.
By doing so, we came to the conclusion that it is a good cause for society. However, many challenges will be stacked up for the government to face. Check the breakdown of some of the positive and negative impacts of a Tuition-Free College:
- Less Student Loan Debt – Having access to a tuition-free college can result in less student loan debt. The tuition-free scholarships cover the complete cost of attendance, and most students only have to pay for their books, health, travel etc expenses. Many times, even such expenses are covered for students having serious financial conditions.
- More Low-Income Students Graduates – Around 4 in 5 students find college ‘expensive’ and ‘hard to afford’ in the United States. Many enrolled students decide to drop out of college because of their inability to pay the succeeding tuition fees. However, free college can eliminate such situations and encourage students to complete graduation regardless of their financial conditions.
- Choosing Major Freely – Students and their families focus more on opting for majors that can bring in more money to pay back the borrowed student loans. Due to such pressure, many cannot pursue a major that they are passionate about. Fortunately, free colleges provide tuition fee coverage and take some weight off the shoulders.
- Attract More People – By providing such scholarships and grants, many students would be attracted to attend college. Students must not be burdened with the cost of education. Hence, there are many university/ college that offers financial aid irrespective of students’ financial background.
- Increase in Taxes – If the scholarships are provided for tuition fees then it doesn’t mean that it is not being paid. Of course, the government is going to utilize taxes to cover the tuition fees of such students. Eventually, the public will be paying these tuition fees and can see an increase in taxes.
- A shift in Student Behaviour – It is a human tendency not to take things seriously if something comes free of cost. Students might enroll in classes randomly and not take their studies seriously.
- Decrease in Education Quality – To maintain such a program, the college might not be able to provide quality education. Faculties will be offered less pay; technologies may often not be replaced by the updated ones. A college should be an experience of quality education for the students, and it will be hard to keep up with the free college program.
Are other educational expenses covered under tuition-free scholarships?
Covering other educational expenses under a tuition-free scholarship completely depends on the college/university. Many colleges do not cover these expenses, while students get them covered through additional aid. However, there are some colleges, like Deep Springs College and Stanford University, that include room and board costs under tuition-free scholarships.
What is Demonstrated Need?
The demonstrated need is a difference between the family contribution and tuition fee. This amount helps in determining the financial aid package of the student. Check our page to learn about colleges that promise to cover 100% of the demonstrated need of the student.
Are there tuition-free universities in the USA for international students 2024?
Yes, there are tuition-free universities for international students. However, its existence is comparatively lower than those colleges that offer free tuition to domestic students. Colleges like Warren Wilson College offer such scholarships to international students.
Could you suggest Tuition-Free Colleges In Pennsylvania?
Curtis Institute of Music is based in Pennsylvania, where the majority of students get merit-based and tuition-free scholarships. We have given more information about the university on our page.