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Top Ranked Tuition-Free Universities

4 minute read

By Chelsea Dolan

The total student debt in the U.S is sitting at a whopping $1.67 trillion. According to Investopedia, debt is a burden that 54 percent of students take on when they enroll in university.¹ If you want to attend university and avoid student debt, there are options out there. Some universities grant students free tuition based on family income. You can even search online to find universities that offer free tuition, regardless of financial standing.

Tuition-free universities can help you comfortably afford other necessary expenses like housing, transportation, and living costs. Find out how to apply to these schools with an online search.

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Best Free-Tuition Colleges

Barclay College

Since opening its doors in 1917, Barclay College has grown into an institution with rigorous academics and a Bible-centered environment. The school sits on 20 acres of land in Haviland, Kansas and has eight major buildings.² It offers both online and in-person undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree programs.

Prospective students who plan on living in dorms on campus are eligible to receive a full tuition scholarship. Each dorm resident gets a full scholarship worth $17,000.³ Students must be studying full time with 12 to 18 credit hours per semester and be living on campus. To apply, you’ll need a cumulative high school GPA of 2.3 or higher.

Curtis Institute of Music

Those looking to pursue a degree in music can apply to the Curtis Institute of Music, a school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s been around since 1924 and has a competitive acceptance rate below five percent. Some programs offered are composition, conducting, piano, strings, and vocal studies.

Something that sets this school apart from competitors, such as Julliard, is its free tuition. Both incoming undergraduate and graduate students receive full scholarships, regardless of their financial situation. All that’s required from students is they must live on campus their first two years of studies.

While tuition is paid for, students are responsible for paying $14,363 for room and board.⁴ Additional expenses covering health insurance, administrative fees, and more will cost $6,780 per year.

Deep Springs College

Each year, between 12 and 15 students are admitted to Deep Springs College.⁵ It’s located on a cattle ranch about 40 miles from Bishop, California. The school has seminar-style classes of fewer than eight participants.

All students receive a full scholarship covering tuition, room, and board. In exchange, they are expected to dedicate their lives of service to humanity and work at least 20 hours per week on the farm and ranch. There are a variety of career paths you can pursue such as politics, science, journalism, medicine, law, and lots more.

This school has no majors. Students take two to three classes each semester that teach humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts. After two years of study, students can transfer to four-year institutions to complete their BA or BS.

Best Colleges Providing Free Tuition Based on Family Income

Brown University

Located in Providence, Rhode Island is Brown University. This historic institution was founded in 1764 and is now a leading research university with over 7,000 undergraduate students.⁶ It’s also a prestigious institution for graduate and medical students to pursue their studies.

Brown University covers the cost of tuition for students with a $0 parent contribution. Qualified applicants must have a family income of less than $60,000 per year and assets less than $100,000.⁷ If accepted, students will receive a scholarship or grant equivalent to cover tuition, fees, room, and meals.

Texas A&M

Since 2008, Texas A&M has been covering the cost of tuition for low and middle income families. Texas residents whose family earns less than $60,000 will have their tuition covered by grants or scholarships through the Aggie Assurance commitment.⁸

To qualify, you must be a full-time undergraduate student and maintain a minimum grade point ratio of 2.5. The school also provides some tuition support for first year students whose family income is greater than $60,000 but no more than $130,000.

Princeton University

Not only does Princeton University offer students a prestigious education, but it also provides its student body with generous financial aid. More than 60 percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid. In fact, the average annual grant for the Class of 2023 is $56,500.⁹

The New Jersey-based school awards financial aid solely on need, which means there are no merit scholarships. Tuition costs $51,870 and housing costs $17,150 but students with a family gross income of less than $65,000 can get that entirely covered with a grant.¹⁰

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

One of the highest ranked universities to pursue technological studies at is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was incorporated in 1861, and is ranked number four of the country’s best college and universities by U.S. News.¹¹

To make the school more affordable, MIT offers grants that don’t need to be repaid. Students with a family income of under $65,000 can have their tuition, housing, dining, and other costs paid for by the school. The 99 percent of applicants who receive this scholarship also get $608 toward personal expenses.¹²

While most students end up paying a net cost of $4,389 out of pocket, around 34 percent of students attend MIT at no cost.

Search Online to Apply for University Programs

It’s possible to get your bachelor’s degree without taking on copious amounts of student debt. With some research, you could discover tuition-free universities and generous grant programs that will pay for you to attend school.

To get started, start an online search and choose a program that you’d like to enroll in. Find out who qualifies for financial aid and potential costs you will be responsible for that grants do not cover. Learn more about how to qualify for these programs online and to help your application get accepted.

Chelsea Dolan