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11 Top Tuition-Free Colleges

The average annual tuition at a public university is nearly $10,000, and the average tuition at a private school is more than three times that amount. But good news: there are a number of colleges and universities that offer free tuition to students who qualify. Get your degree debt-free with colleges and universities like these.


College isn't cheap. But this free Financial Aid Guide is.


1. Berea College

Location: Berea, KY

School overview: Berea College, founded in 1855, is one of the first four-year universities to offer free tuition. The college has an enrollment of around 1,600 undergraduate students and offers a variety of liberal arts degrees.

Tuition policy: As part of the college's Tuition Promise Scholarship program, every student admitted to Berea College receives a full scholarship. Students are required to work at the college for a minimum of 10 hours per week to give students funds for room, board, books and other college-related expenses.

2. City College of San Francisco

Location: San Francisco, CA

School overview: The City College of San Francisco is a two-year college with a total enrollment of 65,000 students. With one main campus and seven satellite locations, the college offers more than 50 academic degree programs.

Tuition policy: The free tuition policy is open to all students, full-time and part-time, who are California residents and live in San Francisco.

3. Curtis Institute of Music

Location: Philadelphia, PA

School overview: Curtis Institute of Music has offered full scholarships to its students since 1928. The Philadelphia-based school requires students to audition for admission and offers bachelor of music degrees. Curtis is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, with just a four percent admissions rate on average and an enrollment of only 175 students.

Tuition policy: All undergraduate and graduate students receive a merit-based, full-tuition scholarship. However, new and returning students are required to pay a $1,700 annual comprehensive fee.

4. U.S. Naval Academy

Location: Annapolis, MD

School overview: The U.S. Naval Academy offers a variety of liberal arts degrees and has been ranked among the top U.S. public liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. The college, with an enrollment of around 4,500 students, is a U.S. historic campus affectionately known as "The Yard."

Tuition policy: There is no charge for attending the U.S. Naval Academy. Students are required to serve in the U.S. armed forces upon graduation.

5. College of the Ozarks

Location: Point Lookout, MO

School overview: This Christian, liberal arts college is affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and is located between Branson and Hollister, Missouri. The college has an enrollment of around 1,500 students and offers bachelor of arts and science degrees in 30 majors.

Tuition policy: Full-time students receive no tuition in exchange for working on-campus 15 hours per week during the regular school year and two 40-hour weeks during semester breaks.

6. Barclay College

Location: Haviland, KS

School overview: Barclay is a private, Christian college located in south-central Kansas. Enrollment is around 200 students and undergraduate degree programs include Youth Ministry, Missions, Psychology and Family Studies, K-6 Elementary Education and Business Administration among others.

Tuition policy: Barclay offers free tuition to students who live in the school's residence halls.

7. New York State Public Universities

Location: New York State

School overview: Eligible universities include all State University of New York (SUNY) and all City University of New York (CUNY) schools.

Tuition policy: The State of New York offers full scholarships, the Excelsior Scholarship, to all students in two- and four-year public colleges and universities from families that earn less than $125,000 per year. Students are required to live and work in New York state for the same length of time they received the scholarship.

8. U.S. Air Force Academy

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

School overview: Located just north of Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy was founded in 1954 and has an enrollment of around 4,200 students. The campus is half Air Force base, half civilian university and covers 32 academic disciplines.

Tuition policy: Like the other U.S. military schools, there's no charge for an education. However, upon graduation, students are required to serve in the U.S. Air Force.

9. U.S. Military Academy, West Point

Location: West Point, NY

School overview: Located 50 miles north of New York City, along the banks of the Hudson River, the U.S. Military Academy has an enrollment of around 4,500 students. The college, a historic site and a popular tourist attraction, offers bachelor of arts and science degrees in over 30 majors. The most popular of these are foreign languages, management information systems, history, economics and mechanical engineering.

Tuition policy: Like the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point offers a free education to all students in exchange for serving in the U.S. military upon graduation.

10. Webb Institute

Location: Glen Cove, NY

School overview: A small engineering school on Long Island, Webb Institute has an enrollment of around 100 students and offers just one course of study, a double bachelor's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering.

Tuition policy: Webb Institute offers free tuition to all U.S. citizens or permanent residents. International students pay tuition and fees.

11. Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

School overview: Duke University, ranked No. 9 by U.S. News and World Reports in their list of best U.S. universities, is a private, global research university with more than 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Founded in 1838, the university is well known for its engineering, business and science programs.

Tuition policy: Duke does not require families with incomes less than $60,000 to pay tuition. The estimated cost of attending Duke for one year is $59,343.

In addition to four-year colleges that offer free tuition, a number of states, including Rhode Island, Tennessee, Oregon, South Dakota and Arkansas, have programs that allow residents to attend in-state community and technical colleges without a cost. Attending college doesn't have to keep you in debt for life. Choose your college or university carefully, and you could earn your degree debt-free.

2018-2019 Financial Aid Guide

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