Best Tuition Free Universities in USA and How to Apply for Each

tuition free universities in USA

I recently discovered tuition free universities in USA something I never thought existed but there are and in this article, I have clearly discussed each of these US tuition-free universities and how you can apply for them.

I would never, in a million years, believe that there are tuition free universities in USA. I had to dig deeper by doing broader research to be sure of their existence and there truly are such universities in the US. The reason why this first came as a shocker to me is because of how expensive post-secondary institutions are in the US.

It is common knowledge how expensive tuition is in the United States. I once came across a channel on YouTube that conducted interviews asking US citizens how much they owe. One of the videos on this channel is an interview asking college graduates how much school debt they owe, and oh my! it was a lot. Some owed $20,000, $30,000, and even some owed up to $50,000 in student debt. It blew my mind.

Now, discovering that there are tuition free universities in the US makes me wonder why these same people and the many others out there burdened with paying student loans couldn’t apply to these same free tuition institutions.

This bothered me with questions such as “Is there something wrong with these schools? Are there hidden charges that make the total fee greater than schools with tuition? Are the schools not accredited? Is the academic quality of the schools below average?” I had these questions before I started my research on tuition-free colleges in the USA.

When I finally concluded my research, I realized that there was nothing wrong with those schools, they are fully accredited, their academic quality is just fine, and there are no hidden charges. So what’s the catch? Because there had to be a catch, there is always a catch in something like this. US education is too quality to be that free and then that was when I found the answer, thanks to US News & World Report.

And here is the catch, ladies and gentlemen; you may have to hail from a certain state or region or come from a low-income background to attend a tuition-free school in the US. Also, some schools require on-campus work or service after graduation. However, these tuition-free colleges also charge for room and board, among other fees.

If you don’t want to graduate with huge student debt that would take years to pay back or you want to attend college but cannot afford it and you are still not eligible for loans, these tuition-free colleges in the US are for you. Another way is to apply for scholarships, I have published several scholarship guides on this platform over the years and we usually update with new information.

To that effect, you will find a list of US scholarships such as scholarships in the USA for international students and public universities in the US with scholarships.

Here at Study Abroad Nations, we help you do the deep digging so you can access the information you seek at a lower cost. Talking about the list of tuition-free colleges in the USA, I have dedicated my time to research this and give the best you need to know about it.

Tuition Free Universities In USA And How To Apply Each

  • Alice Lloyd College
  • Barclay College
  • Berea College
  • College of the Ozarks
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Deep Springs College (Jr. College)
  • Antioch College
  • Haskell Indian Nations University
  • The Apprentice School
  • US Air Force Academy
  • Webb Institute
  • US Naval Academy
  • US Coast Guard Academy
  • US Merchant Marine Academy
  • US Military Academy

1. Alice Lloyd College

Alice Lloyd College is one of the best tuition free universities in the USA as it is one of the 9 official work colleges in the nation, every eligible student in this school is automatically awarded the Appalachian Leaders College Scholarship which covers their full tuition expenses.

Though the cost of tuition at Alice College is free, beneficiaries must work 10-20 hours a week in exchange for the free tuition.

Is Alice Lloyd College free?

Alice Lloyd College is not entirely free as students are expected to still take care of their housing, transport, feeding, and other personal expenses, and students outside the 108 counties eligible for the free tuition at Alice College would possibly have to pay tuition fees.

You can check out the 108 counties in the US eligible for free tuition at Alice College.

2. Barclay College

Barclay College is one of the known tuition free universities in the USA today. It is a Christian college with Christian values and is located in the heart of Kansas, USA.

The school offers fully-funded scholarships to all full-time dorm students living at either their Haviland or Kansas campus.

Barclay College is committed to preparing students for effective Christian life, service, and leadership. It is in this quest that the school provides full tuition scholarships which are given to all students who live in the dorm.

The commitment of the college and its supporters is that students should not graduate from college and carry a large debt load into their future that might prevent them from following God’s call.

So as a dorm student, in Barclay College, you have to worry about nothing but your academics as you enjoy the merits of a free, quality education offered by the school.

3. Berea College

Berea College as one of the best tuition free colleges in the USA also doubles as one of the universities in the US with no application fee. You can apply to this university fully online right on the university website without having to leave your room.

All students receive full scholarships in exchange for working jobs in the college or community service throughout the Appalachian region, including programs keeping mountain crafts and traditions alive.

Berea accepts only students who need financial assistance according to FAFSA, and for a little work, you get a $100,000 education.

Berea students pay an average of just $1,000 which is spent towards housing, meals, and fees, with financial assistance for books available.

4. College of the Ozarks

At College of the Ozarks, your full annual cost of education is covered by the university’s scholarship, plus the government grants and the available student work.

For tuition, 15 hours a week working in some institutional job station, keeping the college going (including a fruitcake bakery); during breaks, full 40-hour work weeks; for room and board, summer jobs.

5. Curtis Institute of Music

The Curtis Institute of Music is a music conservatory in Philadelphia, Founded in 1921.

Acceptance is extremely competitive; the institute only accepts the number of students it needs to seat an orchestra and populate an opera company, along with some composers and solo pianists, so that’s only around 150 students yearly.

The amazing thing here is, that every one of those students gets a full scholarship covering up to 100% of their academic expenses.

6. Deep Springs College (Jr. College)

At Deep Springs College, tuition is free for all students, with an expectation that students will work or perform service on the college’s ranch, farm, or community.

The school assigns work to students and students are not paid for doing this work. The work, in turn, covers part of their academic expenses that the school fully takes care of.

7. Antioch College

Antioch College is a private liberal arts college in Ohio and one of the tuition-free colleges in the US. And yes, there is a catch to Antioch being a tuition-free university and this is how it works:

Up to one-third of undergraduate students are Antioch College engage in full-time work or research. As part of Antioch’s College Work program, all Pell-eligible new and returning students receive full-tuition, last-dollar scholarships. To continue receiving the scholarship, students must maintain a GPA of 2.0. Note that this scholarship does not cover room and board.

8. Haskell Indian Nations University

Haskell Indian Nations University is based in Kansas and it offers free tuition to American Indians and Alaska Native students from federally recognized tribes. According to the school’s website, each tribe saves around $20,000 per year in tuition fees for every member sent to the Haskell Indian Nations University.

9. The Apprentice School

The Apprentice School is a 4-8 year apprenticeship vocational school in Virginia operated by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company. Tuition at this school is free and here is how it works:

The Apprentice School provides full-time employment in various shipbuilding trades to students who then earn an hourly wage plus benefits. At the end of the apprenticeship, the student graduates with a certificate and an associate of applied science degree in their trade.

10. US Air Force Academy

The US Air Force Academy is completely free. There are no charges. You will be a cadet and trained to serve in the US Air Force or US Space Force for a minimum of 8 years or 10 years if you are a graduate with flight training.

11. Webb Institute

Webb Institute is an engineering-focused college in New York ranked among the tuition-free colleges in the US. Wait, Webb Institute is not exactly free, the college offers full-tuition scholarships to all incoming students who are citizens or permanent residents of the US. Room and board are not covered.

12. US Naval Academy

The United States Naval Academy is similar to the US Air Force Academy, there is free tuition and room and board for midshipmen who pledge to serve in the US Navy for 5 years after graduation. They also receive $1,273 per month as a stipend budget to use toward additional costs like laundry, haircuts, activity, and other service fees.

13. US Coast Guard Academy

If you want to serve in the US Coast Guard, the academy is entirely free for you. Not just tuition alone is covered but room and board are free as well. Also, a postgraduate service of 5 years is required but many of the graduates usually decide to serve longer. Cadets also earn salaries.

14. US Merchant Marine Academy

Students of the US Merchant Marine Academy referred to as midshipmen, are not charged tuition in exchange for their service after graduation. The cost of their textbooks, room and board, and uniforms are also covered. As midshipmen, they spend a “Sea Year” during college, visiting many countries aboard commercial vessels while receiving hands-on training related to ship repair and maintenance, cargo loading, and navigation.

15. US Military Academy

If you wish to join the US Military, the cost of your tuition and other fees will be covered for the duration of your years as a cadet. However, you must do some years of military service when you graduate.

How to Apply for Admission into Tuition Free Colleges in the USA

As an American student, you are entitled to apply for any of the tuition-free colleges in the USA if you meet the application requirements. Most listed schools here admit international students too and enjoy the free education grace just like other students.

After admission or during admission processing, if you indicate interest in any of the options for free tuition, your application will be reviewed to ascertain if you qualify for such after which it would either be granted or rejected.

Anyway, this is for the schools where there is provision for students to school for free and also an option for students to pay tuition fees. Some of the schools listed here don’t have these options, they automatically place every admitted student on work-school programs and scholarships covering full tuition.

International students from other countries should check to ensure that the college they want to apply to accepts non-American students to take part in any of the provisions granting free tuition to students.


What an interesting and eye-opening piece!

You now know and believe that there are free tuition universities in the USA and with the aid of this article, you now know these universities and how they operate to provide free tuition to students.

You may consider applying to any of the schools that suit your life focus, enroll in them, and get an education free of charge without student loans to be repaid when you graduate.



  1. Hi Divine

    Actually this is a list of some Tuition free universities in the US as per my research. There is is also more more tution free universities and as time goes on, we will keep adding to this list. I also have discovered that Harvard University also offers tuition free opportunities to international students and I will be posting the guideline soon. Just keep coming around or better still, subscribe to our email list for free updates on study abroad issues.

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