Schools Without Hidden Expenses

16 Schools that Offer Free College Tuition

Schools without Hidden Expenses: Part 3

Getting into college is one thing, but figuring out how to pay for it is another.

It’s a challenge that millions of Americans face every year. Usually, it doesn’t matter where you live; for in-state and out-of-state schools, both public and private, cost of attendance can be thousands — and often tens of thousands — of dollars per semester, leaving you scrambling to find ways to make financial ends meet. Merit- and athletic-based scholarships aren’t always available, and need-based grants will only take you so far. Student loans can serve as a short-term solution but, in the long run, can leave you drowning in debt well beyond graduation.

Many schools, however, are aiming to eliminate those financial struggles with a deal that sounds too good to be true but isn’t: free college tuition. At these 16 institutions, you can rest easy knowing that the expenses for your education are already covered.

Alice Lloyd College


Located in Pippa Passes, Ky., Alice Lloyd College prides itself on “providing a quality education to mountain students regardless of their financial situation.” All admitted applicants from the school’s 108-county service area — which includes select counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee — can receive free tuition for up to 10 semesters by participating in a student work program. The program requires 10 hours of work per week and 160 hours per semester either on campus or in the surrounding communities.

Barclay College


At this Christian school in Haviland, Kan., students receive a $15,000 full-tuition scholarship upon acceptance. The cost of tuition is funded by the college’s supporters, and the only condition is that students must pay to live on campus while enrolled.

Berea College


Through the support of alumni and other organizations, Berea College provides every student with a Tuition Promise Scholarship worth nearly $100,000 over four years. Students must work 10-15 hours per week while carrying a full academic load but can choose from more than 100 on- and off-campus programs.

City College of San Francisco


Since the fall of 2017, City College of San Francisco has offered free tuition to admitted students who have established residency in California and San Francisco for at least one year and one day prior to their first day of instruction. According to CNN, the community college’s tuition program is funded by a real estate transfer tax that was increased for residential and commercial properties in San Francisco in 2016.

College of the Ozarks


Full-time students at College of the Ozarks receive free college tuition in exchange for their participation in the school’s work program. The school’s attendees are required to work 15 hours per week, along with two additional 40-hour work weeks per academic year, in order to qualify. Part-time students, on the other hand, must pay a fee of $310 per credit hour.

Community College of Rhode Island

Rhode Island

This two-year college in Warwick, R.I., covers tuition for full-time students who maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, earn 30 credits each year and enroll for both the fall and spring semesters for two years. However, this deal is only available for high school graduates of the current year who are younger than 19 years old.

Curtis Institute of Music


This Philadelphia school has a policy that will be music to your ears: All undergraduate and graduate students at the Curtis Institute of Music are awarded merit-based, full-tuition scholarships upon admission. In addition to their fully covered tuition, attendees also have access to grants and loans that go toward covering housing and dining expenses.

Deep Springs College


Not only does this small Nevada two-year college pick up the tab on tuition, but it also covers room and board. While enrolled, though, your responsibilities will include pitching in to work on the school’s cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in addition to your academic course load.

Macaulay Honors College at CUNY

New York

The merit scholarship package to Macaulay Honors College at CUNY includes free college tuition, a laptop and access to the institution’s Opportunities Fund. The scholarship, which is awarded to all students, covers four years of undergraduate study.

United States Air Force Academy


Tuition, room and board, and medical care are all fully covered for cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In addition, a monthly stipend is provided for those attending the military school. In return, each cadet must serve at least eight years as a commissioned officer in the Air Force after graduation, including five years active duty.

United States Coast Guard Academy


At this military academy in New London, Conn., cadets receive approximately $12,000 per year along with free tuition and room and board. The $12,000 is furnished by the U.S. government and goes toward paying for uniforms, military equipment, academic supplies and other personal necessities. Upon graduation, cadets must serve five years as a commissioned Coast Guard officer.

United States Merchant Marine Academy

New York

Students at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., enjoy the financial benefit of having their tuition, room and board, uniforms and books fully covered by the government. Following graduation, midshipmen are “required to fulfill the terms of a service obligation.”

United States Military Academy at West Point

New York

Those selected to attend West Point receive their college education with tuition fully paid along with room and board. After finishing college, each graduate is commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and required to serve for five years on active duty. Should you choose to leave the Army after those five years, you must serve three years in the Inactive Ready Reserve.

United States Naval Academy


Midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis have 100 percent of their tuition, room and board, medical and dental care costs paid for by the Navy. Like other military academies, though, there is a post-graduate commitment; midshipmen must serve five years on active duty following their graduation from the school.

Webb Institute

New York

Every student who attends this engineering college in Glen Cove, N.Y., enjoys the benefit of a full-tuition scholarship (valued at $48,350 for the 2017-18 academic year). Students are also welcome to apply for additional need-based aid that can help cover other expenses while enrolled in school.

Williamson College of the Trades


This 130-year-old junior college in Middletown, Pa., provides all students with full scholarships that include the cost of tuition and textbooks as well as room and board. Each student still must pay an entrance fee of $200 that will be refunded upon graduation or, if applicable, once they have properly completed the withdrawal procedure.

About the author

Alison Blankenship
Senior Marketing Manager
I graduated Cum Laude from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with degrees in Marketing and Communications. I’ve been working in the textbook industry for over 10 years, and my work has been featured by College Confidential, Mercy College of Health Sciences, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Tribune, Montana Technological University, Oregon Live, and other organizations.

I’m an obsessive lover of dachshunds and a passionate reader of books. I’m an avid Pinner and poster, and I’m all over our Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Pinterest.