Home > News, Policy > Tuition-Free Colleges – What’s Available?

Tuition-Free Colleges – What’s Available?

An article from Associated Content today notes that due to the flailing economy, more students are looking into the possibility of going to tuition free colleges.  Some colleges are tuition free for everybody, but most offer programs where tuition is free only for those students whose parents make under a certain amount of money. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even when such aid is offered, there may be hidden costs such as computers, books, room and board, etc. that aren’t factored into the aid equation.  I spoke with one financial aid official at a large public university that put it this way, “You have to be careful about proclamations that schools make about free education.”

That caveat aside, here is a partial list of what may be available:

Berea College: Free tuition for all admitted students in exchange for at least 10 hours per week of work.

College of the Ozarks: Full-time students work rather than pay tuition.

Cooper Union: Offers full-tuition scholarships to all admitted students, though it is extremely selective.  (Note that the link here is to the Wikipedia page rather than the school itself – their web page, www.cooper.edu  was down at the time I posted this.

Miami University of Ohio: Available for Ohio residents whose total family income is equal to or less than $35,000.

Michigan State University: Available for Michigan students whose family makes below the federally established poverty guidelines.

Rice University: Tuition free for student from families making under $60,000.  Additionally, the maximum loan amount required from anyone is $14,500 for all four years.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: Tuition free for students whose family’s annual income is under 200% of the federal poverty level – or about $41,300 for a family of four or $27,380 for a single parent family with children.

University of Pennsylvania: No student loans required for students whose family’s make under $100,000 per year.

University of Virginia: Uses an individualized system based on family income and other factors to determine the expected family contribution.  There are some situations in which a student’s entire tuition may be paid for with grants, but there is no set cut-off point for determining this.

West Point (United States Military Academy): Free tuition in exchange for five years of ative duty and three years of reserve duty military experience.

I’m sure there are many more out there so if readers have other options they’d like to share, please put them in the comments section.


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