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Raise your hand if you want a free college tuition. Getting quality education for your kids that doesn’t cost a thing is a parent’s dream. It’s the easiest way to avoid heaps of debt, and the best part is that we’ve researched the options for you.

A debt-free college education is hands down the best freebie you’ll ever get, and the list of colleges with free tuition in the U.S. is steadily growing. In fact, as of April 2022, some type of free college education is available in 30 states — whether it’s scholarships, grants, work programs, or state-sponsored assistance.

Just so we’re clear, free doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear on all fees, but the big costs may be covered if you meet the criteria like income levels, residency, and promise to serve (like the military).

For general savings tips, don’t forget to download the Krazy Coupon Lady app for deal alerts and coupons! Or, bookmark the back-to-school deals page when you’re ready to buy supplies.

 

1. Get free college tuition at Ivy League schools if your household makes less than $150,000.

An Ivy League education is great for your resume but not so much for your wallet.

These Ivy league universities will pay for your education if your family makes less than a certain household income — and you get accepted, of course. By the way, free doesn’t mean that you won’t pay for anything! Other expenses like books, lab fees, transportation, orientation costs, equipment, school supplies, and activity fees still need to be paid.

Brown University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $125,000 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, and books

Columbia University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $150,000 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, and fees
  • Low-income, first-year students receive a $2,000 start-up grant for move-in expenses

Cornell University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $60,000 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, and fees

Dartmouth College

  • Families must have total incomes less than $125,000 per year (covers tuition)

Harvard University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $75,000 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, and fees
  • First-year students receive a $2,000 start-up grant for move-in expenses

Princeton University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $65,000 per year
  • Grant covers tuition, room, and board

University of Pennsylvania

  • Families must have total incomes less than $65,500 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, and fees

Yale University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $75,000 per year
  • Families with an annual income of up to $75,000 – $200,000/year contribute a percentage of their income, based on a sliding scale

Other tuition-free universities that aren’t Ivy League — but are still prestigious — include:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  • Families must have total incomes less than $65,500 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, board, fees, books, supplies, and includes $608 for personal expenses

Stanford University

  • Families must have total incomes less than $75,000 per year
  • Covers tuition, room, and board
  • Families with an annual income of up to $150,000 per year pay no tuition

Most graduate degree programs provide financial assistance in the form of fellowships, grants, work study, and assistantships. With all of these financial aid options, you should also find out how to get free back-to-school supplies.

 

2. Native Americans and Alaskan Natives can receive a free education from Haskell Indian Nations University.

Kansas-based Haskell Indian Nations University is an inter-tribal school that provides tuition-free education to American Indians and Alaska Native students from federally-recognized tribes. On average, Haskell has about 150 recognized tribal nations in attendance from 38 states.

Fees like housing, student activities, and technology (equating to about $700 per semester) still need to be paid. Haskell boasts that tribes save roughly $20,000 annually in tuition and fees due to their admittance policy.

 

RELATED: 30 Dorm Room Essentials

 

3. Tennesseans can jump-start their education with free college tuition thanks to state-sponsored programs.

Adults who don’t have an associate’s degree or technical certificate can attend an eligible community college or four-year university in Tennessee for free thanks to the Tennessee Reconnect grant program.

The grant doesn’t cover all of your tuition and fees — it’s capped at $4,200. The amount the program provides is the difference between any financial aid you received and the capped amount.

To maintain the grant, you must attend school full time (at least six hours per semester), keep a 2.0 GPA, and finish the program within five years.

High school seniors in Tennessee can get free college tuition through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. Yes, you can earn an associate’s degree, technical diploma, or certificate at an eligible Tennessee college or university. Classified as a last-dollar program, the scholarship amount you receive is based on the remaining tuition and fees after state or federal aid has been applied.

High school seniors can apply in November. You must also enroll full time, participate in a mentoring program, and complete eight hours of community service before each term.

 

 

4. Attend community college in Oregon for free if you have at least a 2.0 GPA.

The Oregon Promise program awards free college tuition to recent high school students who have a 2.0 GPA or higher or received 145 on their GED. The grant covers tuition costs at local community colleges, but high schoolers must apply during their senior year.

You must be enrolled at an Oregon community college (with no more than 90 credits completed) and have been an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to college admittance.

 

5. California residents can attend community college without paying enrollment fees.

The California College Promise Grant waives enrollment fees to residents who attend two years of community college on a first-time, full-time basis.

This program is similar to those at Oregon and Tennessee colleges. Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, Montana, and Oklahoma also have similar initiatives, though eligibility may vary. Check out the list of participating California Promise community colleges.

 

6. New Yorkers may qualify for free college tuition via the Macaulay Tuition Scholarship.

Eight City University of New York (CUNY) colleges participate in the William E. Macaulay Honors Program. It awards students who meet CUNY New York State residency requirements and have outstanding academic records with free college tuition.

Prospects also need to complete the FAFSA and file a New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application. If you qualify for the highly competitive program, you will also receive a free laptop.

 

7. Families making less than $60,000 per year can attend Soka University in California for free.

Even with its base in Aliso Viejo, California, Soka University of America is a global liberal arts school because of its connection to the Buddhist sect of Japan. The private school covers tuition for families — including domestic, dreamer, and international students — earning less than $60,000 annually.

The Soka Opportunity Grant is only available if you’re an undergraduate, liberal arts student seeking a bachelor’s degree. But, what’s really cool is Soka’s study abroad program is included in the cost of attendance. By the way, you must participate in the program (available in 15 countries), but who wouldn’t want to travel and learn?

 

8. Get two years of education for free at Deep Springs College in California.

Deep Springs College is located in Deep Springs Valley and 40 miles from its closest town — Bishop, California. This small, rural two-year college gives all its students a $50,000 scholarship that pays for tuition, room, and board. Only 12 –15 students are admitted each year! The only items you need to pay for are books, insurance, and incidentals.

You can study academics, student self-government, and manual labor, and you’ll work on campus about 20 hours per week. You’re also expected to pay for your own books and supplies, but you can ask for additional financial assistance if you’re unable to do so.

 

 

9. Alice Lloyd College offers free college tuition to residents of 108 Appalachian counties.

Alice Lloyd College is one of many colleges with free tuition, but you have to live in the right place to get it. Students living in one of the 108 counties throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia can get a free, four-year college education through Alice Lloyd.

The catch? You need to work 10 – 20 hours per week on campus through the school’s Student Work Program. And, the tuition scholarship is only good for up to 10 semesters, but that’s a huge help! The college encourages you to apply for state and federal financial aid to cover other expenses.

 

10. Barclay College in Kansas provides free tuition to any full-time student living on campus.

Barclay College is a four-year Quaker university in Haviland, Kansas. To qualify for their full-tuition scholarship (valued at $17,000 annually), you must pay room and board to live on campus (which is non-negotiable for those receiving free tuition), but after that, tuition is covered.

You also have to be enrolled full time and are responsible for all school fees. If you’re a graduate student, you can receive a discounted education through Barclay’s Graduate Leadership Scholarship program, which grants up to $500 per semester to prospective Master of Arts students.

 

11. Berea College offers free tuition to working and volunteer students.

Berea College in Berea, Kentucky only accepts students who qualify for financial assistance. Through their Tuition Promise Scholarship, they charge $0 for tuition, and the Empowering a Dynamic Generation through Education program gives every student a laptop. How awesome is that?!

You’ll need to pay for your own room and board and other expenses and must work on campus (at least 10 hours weekly) or commit to local community service — including working with programs focused on extending the life of historical mountain crafts and traditions. Berea College is one of nine federally recognized “work colleges” in the country.

 

12. The College of the Ozarks offers free tuition in exchange for part-time work.

The College of the Ozarks, a Christian liberal-arts college located in Missouri, will pay tuition for full-time students who complete 15 hours per week of on-campus work and two 40-hour weeks during the school year.

The free tuition college breakdown is a combination of grants, the Tuition Assurance Scholarship, and work program credits that equal zero cash cost to you. Room and board, books, and other school fees are the only out-of-pocket expenses. Nicknamed “Hard Work U,” the College of the Ozarks boasts zero student debt and 100% hard-working students.

 

13. The Webb Institute in New York will teach you how to build ships for free, then place you in a job.

New York’s The Webb Institute has an incredibly narrow focus — naval architecture and marine engineering — but your bachelor’s degree is paid for. You’ll just have to pay for books and fees. The school awards full-tuition scholarships to students, but you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

And don’t worry about getting a job afterward: Webb Institute’s job placement rate is 100%.

 

14. Claim a spot at the Curtis Institute of Music for free, top-notch classical training.

Are you a classical musician and/or vocalist? If you claim one of the 150 competitive spots at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, you’ll be trained as an orchestra musician, opera singer, or composer for free.

How do they offer free tuition? Through merit-based scholarships (with a value of at least $47,000), full tuition is covered for both undergraduate and graduate students. The funding covers general expenses and must be renewed annually.

Most of these graduates go on to earn a spot in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

 

15. Get a free education at one of the U.S. Military Academies.

While you’ll need to go through a fairly competitive selection process that includes a congressional recommendation, and both physical and academic evaluations, the education you’ll receive at one of the U.S. Military Academies is top notch. While the education is free, you’ll need to agree to serve for at least four years in your selected branch of the military upon graduation.

Here are a few military schools you can attend for free once you’ve been accepted:

Air Force Academy

  • No tuition or room and board fees
  • Cadets need to serve at least eight years post-graduation

Coast Guard Academy

  • No tuition or room and board fees
  • Cadets need to serve at least five years post-graduation

United States Merchant Marine Academy

  • No book, uniform, room and board fees
  • Midshipmen need to serve at least five years post-graduation

U.S. Military Academy (West Point)

  • No tuition or room and board fees
  • Cadets need to serve at least eight years post-graduation
  • Each semester, must serve on a sports team

U.S. Naval Academy

  • No book, uniform, room and board fees
  • Midshipmen need to serve at least five years post-graduation

 

16. Blackburn College offers free Illinois tuition for Carlinville residents.

The Macoupin Promise is committed to providing local residents with a college education without the debt. Families who make less than $60,000 a year and are graduates of a Macoupin County (IL) high school are eligible for free Illinois tuition to Blackburn College — of course, as long as you meet the admission requirements, which includes being a first-timer or transfer student.

Eligible students must receive a full Federal Pell Grant and Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) assistance and take part in the university’s work program.

 

 

17. Antioch College offers free college tuition in exchange for work.

Like many other colleges with free tuition, the Antioch College Works program offers full-tuition, last-dollar scholarships to students who qualify for the Federal Pell Grant. The scholarship covers what the Pell Grant doesn’t.

This special financial aid is only for undergraduate students who have financial need and haven’t previously earned a college degree.

If you attend the Ohio-based liberal arts college, you must also work on campus and are responsible for meal plan and boarding costs (though you could apply for additional grants to cover them). But, you could get all four years paid for if you maintain grades and eligibility.

 

18. Prospective shipbuilders pay no tuition at The Apprentice School in Virginia.

If your dream is to build ships and money is tight, a trip to Newport News, Virginia may be necessary. The Apprentice School is tuition free, but you have to work for that advantage.

Students — or apprentices — are “hired” into the program as full-time workers and receive on-the-job training along with completing trade theory classes. You can choose from 26 skilled trade programs. On average, the apprenticeship lasts 4 to 5 years, resulting in a certificate or an associate’s degree.

 

19. Full-time, first-year students qualify for free tuition at the University of New Hampshire.

If it’s your first time enrolling at the University of New Hampshire and you’re planning to attend full time, you may qualify for full tuition coverage. Sweet, huh? The school’s Granite Guarantee program provides a free education for up to four years.

Eligible students will qualify for the Pell Grant — which is for students with financial need. Plus, if you’re transferring from a Community College System of New Hampshire school, you can qualify for two years of tuition-free learning.

 

20. North Carolina residents can receive a tuition waiver at Warren Wilson College.

Warren Wilson College in North Carolina is a work college that grants tuition waivers (aka scholarships) to in-state students who are enrolling for the first time and are undergraduates. In addition, you must be enrolled full time, work 8 – 16 hours per week, and establish a craft. You also need to show that you’re qualified for state or federal financial aid like Pell Grants and be a legal resident for at least one year.

Yes, that’s a lot of qualifications, but any bit helps! If your family earns less than $125,000 per year, Warren Wilson College has a Milepost One scholarship program for up to 25 students that covers full tuition.

These U.S. Schools Offer Free College Tuition for Students