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10 Tuition-Free Colleges in the United States

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As education becomes a high priority on many people’s lists and a determination factor for higher paying jobs, the one setback that can prevent anyone from obtaining a higher education is the cost of attending college. However, tuition-free colleges are appearing more recently and becoming a new trend in the education industry. With free colleges and topnotch education, it’s the perfect combination and opportunity for many who are seeking a better life through higher education. 

From tuition payments, dormitory fees to textbooks - it is not a secret that college comes at a cost. But quality education does not need to be expensive! Here are 10 tuition-free colleges in the United States that you can check out: 

1. Alice Lloyd College 

Photo credit from Alice Lloyd College Official Website ( 

Founded in 1923, Alice Lloyd College guarantees tuition coverage for full-time students residing in the college’s 108-county Central Appalachian service area. To give back to the college, students can accept jobs through the study work program. This requires a full-time student to work a minimum of 10 hours per week and 160 hours per semester.  

This 4-year liberal arts college is located at Pippa Passes, Kentucky and offers bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Business Management, Business Administration, Biology, Nursing, Education, English, History, Sociology, and Sports & Fitness Programs Management.  

2. Barclay College 

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Located in Haviland, Kansas, Barclay College is a 4-year evangelical college and offers a $15,000 full-tuition scholarship upon acceptance. Students covered by the scholarship are required to live in on-campus housing.  

The school welcomes students from all evangelical faith traditions. They offer bachelor’s degrees in Youth Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Worship Arts, Bible/Theology, Missions, Psychology and Family Studies, Sports and Recreational Leadership, Elementary Education, and Business Administration. 

3. Berea College 

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Established in 1855, Berea College is a private liberal arts college in Kentucky and was the first interracial and co-ed college in the south. As part of the college’s mission to help students with limited economic resources, Berea offers each student a four-year tuition scholarship worth $100, 000 in exchange for working jobs. Berea offers degrees in over 30 fields including business, education, nursing, and religion. 

4. College of the Ozarks 

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Founded in 1906, College of Ozarks is a Christian liberal-arts college in Missouri. Full-time students are given the opportunity to study without paying for debt. Each student should also participate in the on-campus work program for 15 hours per week and two forty-hour work weeks for one school year. The college provides more than 100 campus or industry jobs.  

College of Ozarks offers undergraduate programs as well as pre-professional programs.  

5. Curtis Institute of Music 

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The Curtis Institute of Music was established in 1924. With enrollment limited to 175 students, Curtis is one of the most selective conservatories in America but offers merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to its students. This high standard of admission allows the school’s renowned faculty to focus on the students and ensures the students the highest quality of education.  

Curtis offers diploma programs in keyboard, string, brass, woodwind, timpani and percussion, and voice and composition.  

6. Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York (CUNY) 

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Founded in 2001, Macaulay Honors College offers its students a merit scholarship package that includes tuition, a laptop computer, a Cultural Passport to New York city arts and cultural events, and access to the Opportunities Fund. Students can enroll in one of the eight CUNY colleges through their Macaulay Advising Program where academic programs are personalized for every student. CUNY offers more than 200 majors including Chemistry, Mathematics, Business, Political Science and Economics.  

7. Webb Institute 

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Located in Glen Cove, New York, Webb Institute offers all students a dual bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. The program includes mechanical engineering, ship design and systems engineering, electrical engineering, and civil/structural engineering. Enrolled US citizens are also guaranteed a full-tuition scholarship. Student costs are limited to room and board, textbooks, transportation and a laptop fee.

 8. Harvard University 

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Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the US and was considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the world. With more than 30,000 applicants worldwide, Harvard has one of the most selective admission policies. While education in Harvard is not entirely free, financial aid is need-based. Tuition and other fees of students whose families earn an annual income of below $65,000 is covered by the university’s financial aid. 

Harvard also offers options when pursuing a degree with over 3,000 courses in 50 undergraduate fields including Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Mathematics, History and Physical Sciences. 

9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology has over 11,000 students and five schools focused on scientific, technological and engineering education and research. MIT is among the top 10 universities, and ranked the top university in 2012 by QS World University Rankings. Financial aid is entirely need-based and for students whose families earn an annual income of below $80,000, free tuition is guaranteed.   

10. Cornell University 

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Located at Ithaca, New York, Cornell University guarantees a debt-free education for students whose families earn less than $60,000 and total assets less than $100,000. This ivy league university enrolls over 20,000 students and has seven undergraduate schools with more than 80 available fields of study including agricultural sciences, economics, religious studies, and government.