Who Can Go to College for Free?

Wondering how to get a free college education? You’re not alone. The high cost of a college education has many students searching for a list of free colleges in order to attend school in a way that doesn’t break the bank. “How can I go to college for free?” you may ask. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to find colleges that are free, depending on your situation. 

If you’re a student who is wondering where can you go to college for free, you’re in luck. There are many options to help you get the assistance you need to go to college. If none of the colleges you can go to for free is a good fit for you, don’t forget to apply for financial aid each year. Many schools offer aid packages that can completely or partially cover the cost of tuition, even if they aren’t advertised as tuition-free schools. If you have any special interests, such as hobbies or athletics look into whether special interest groups provide scholarships. When you begin to dig online, you’ll find lots of free money for college that you can use to further your education. 

Military Academies

The United States Service Academies associated with the military are free to those selected to attend. If you’re wondering, “Where can I go to college for free?” enlisting in the armed forces is a great way to lower or eliminate the cost of your education. This place on the list of colleges that are free doesn’t mean that attending one of these Academies comes easy. Admission is extremely competitive, and only a few students are selected each year. Often, the ability to attend college for free comes with an agreement to serve in the military for a predetermined period of time. 

Many students who graduate from the United States Service Academies go on to have extremely successful military careers as high-ranking officers. After their twenty year service commitment to the military, these graduates go on to myriad job opportunities. Attending a United States Service Academy provides graduates with a reputation for excellence that will follow them for a lifetime.

Work Colleges

There are tuition free colleges in the country that require students to work for the school for a predetermined number of hours each semester. The Work Colleges Consortium is made up of eight colleges that were founded and continue to provide free college education for students in exchange for on-campus work. These colleges where tuition is free are known as work schools. 

Many of these work colleges, like Warren Wilson College, began as a means for poor and rural students to get a college education. Others are simply philosophically inclined to making education free. Work on these colleges includes everything from: 

  • Office work
  • Farm labor
  • Essential services (like laundry, janitorial, etc)
  • IT services

Whatever your skills, a work college will find a place for you (and you’ll learn new skills too). Students attending these work colleges with free tuition receive a quality education while participating in a work program that helps keep the school running smoothly.

Ivy League, Southern Ivies, and Polytechnics

Tuition free colleges include some of the most elite institutions in the world. There are some tuition free colleges that reduce (or eliminate) tuition expenses for students who show a substantial financial need. These schools become similar to no tuition colleges as the school’s scholarships defray the student’s costs while attending college.

The Ivy Leauge universities – Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and their ilk – are all committed to providing a free education to students whose family income is under a certain threshhold (usually around $60,000 or $75,000 annually). The same is true of most of the Southern Ivies, like Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory, and Rice.

Furthermore, some of the world’s top polytechnic institutes, like MIT and Stanford University, make sure all student financial need is met. The reason? They want the very best students in the world, regardless of their family background, where they come from, or how much tuition they can afford. 

Religious Colleges and Universities

Many religious institutions provide free or nearly free tuition for students who belong to their denomination or church. For instance, Latter-Day Saints students receive a steep discount at Brigham Young University, thanks to the support of the Mormon church; many receive scholarships to make their cost zero. 

Smaller Christian liberal arts colleges often have substantial scholarship support as well, due to the support of their denomination and giving from their alumni. 

MOOCs and Online Colleges

Then, there are those tuition free colleges that offer coursework online through their distance learning platforms. These online colleges where tuition is free, offer a variety of programs in several academic disciplines. Other online sources of classes from no tuition colleges include those provided through the many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) providers. Additionally, many quality universities and colleges with free tuition are available directly through the school’s proprietary websites.

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