The first thought that instantly comes to mind when an average high-school graduate thinks about going to college is the enormous payment that must be done and all the risks that come along with the college debt. Even if you manage to achieve the required GPA level and feel motivated enough to learn, the financial situation usually appears far from being good.
According to the statistics provided by the Department of Education, the student debt total in 2020 is $1.67 trillion with the $1.54 trillion being federal payments sum and $131.81 billion related to private payments. Moreover, the loans that are taken by college and university students surpass most forms of debt like credit card debts and consumer matters. Turning to TICAS data, we have 11.54% of college graduates with student loan debt. Speaking of average loan debt for 2019, the numbers go up to $28.950.
The only possible solution is examining the opportunities provided by tuition-free colleges, which quickly become a popular solution in the field of education. It must be noted that the "free" part does not mean any deterioration in terms of instruction or quality. On the contrary, one still receives top-class education as long as you are the underprivileged or a bright student who has good grades and determination to study. Even if you do not fit in any particular category, you still have a legal right to tuition-free education by turning to one of the colleges in the country.
How Does Free College Tuition Function in Practice?
The next challenging question that most students would ask about is how does the free college tuition work and what are the requirements for that. In practice, it all depends on an institution and the rules that are provided. You still pay for various student fees, the books, and the boarding of choice. Nevertheless, not paying for tuition itself, you can consider post-secondary studies per se! In most cases, a student applying for free tuition must be eligible or meet certain requirements. Since it will always depend on whether you are thinking about Ivy League Schools or have served in the military, your chances will either increase or decrease in terms of academic choices. As an alternative, such free tuition may be possible because of community work or participation in particular charity services. Even if such programs are mostly designed for certain social or humanitarian majors, there are always exceptions to the rule that must be considered.
The free college options that you must consider in terms of major enrollment differences:
- Elite Colleges. Also known as the Ivy League Colleges, this type of educational institutions seek the students with the highest skills and knowledge regardless if they can or cannot pay for the studies. If you are a bright student who can offer something unique, you can apply for one of the "free" programs since it all works because of the large investments by the former alumni. Essentially, the grants provided by the sponsors is how the Ivy League colleges function.
- U.S. Military Education. It is a known fact that getting enrolled in the military academy in the U.S. is akin to getting enrolled at Yale University or Harvard due to their selection process and the extreme requirements. Still, there are some positive points like free tuition, room, and boarding that you do not have to cover.
- Employment Solutions. Some colleges still provide free tuition for those students who do not mind working at the same time. The most famous example is an excellent liberal-arts College of the Ozarks that offers over thirty various majors. It requires students to work 15 hours a week on campus, and two weeks of 40-hour per week during the study breaks. It only sounds fair!
- First-Generation College Students & Low-income Families. It also includes underprivileged groups, ethnic minorities, foster children, North American Indians, and those who represent the victims of the natural disasters among other cases.
Discovering Elite Colleges Option
You might have heard about the term called "Ivy League" before, yet even if this sounds like something new and out of reach to you, there are still possibilities to become a part of it. This term stands for the elite or most prestigious educational institutions in the United States. Even though there are usually from eight to twelve colleges that make the list, there are more universities since the only criterion that works here is being an outstanding student with the highest rankings.
You might be thinking that we are very far from the truth and that an average student from a poor family cannot join the likes of Harvard or Yale University. We are happy to prove you wrong because the Ivy League works exactly like that:
- You are a bright student with the highest graduation rank from your high school.
- You have participated in various school programs and did hours of community work.
- Your CV includes working with various research projects or proposals.
Of course, other factors come at play, yet most elite colleges seek students who can show something out of the ordinary. As a rule, the payments are always supported by grants and scholarships, which makes it possible even for those who cannot afford it in terms of finances.
Here are some options worth checking out:
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- Yale University
- Brown University
- Princeton University
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Cornell University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
The Military Colleges
Joining the military college is another option that an average American student must consider when looking for free tuition. However, it is probably easier to become a part of Harvard than to get enrolled in one of the military academies. Still, things are not that dim either! The military schools are quite competitive, yet it is worth it because you also get the boarding, room, special training, and the other services covered. Moreover, the military service academies represent the biggest number of scholarships in the United States. The most important factors here are discipline and education. Just like the elite colleges that we have reviewed before, the military academies do not get stuck with the good grades alone but seek those people who can offer something unique and be disciplined, physically-fit, and well-mannered.
Here are the most famous U.S. Military Academies to consider that offer various programs that range from Data Science and Political Science to Psychology and Marine Navigation. Make sure that you study the requirements step by step to make sure that the right scholarship program has been chosen.
- West Point's U.S. Military Academy
- U.S. Naval Academy
- U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
- The United States Air Force Academy
- The United States Coast Guard Academy
- The US Merchant Marine Academy
The General List of Tuition-Free Colleges
- The University of People Online College. Here we have a private and non-profit distance education university, which is one of the most famous American institutions where you can study with full accreditation.
- College of The Ozarks. The Liberal Arts college with a strong link to Presbyterian Church. It has over thirty majors to choose from. The key part of studies is the strong moral code with no alcohol or immoral behavior allowed. It has a very high ranking. You must show financial need proof to be accepted. On-Campus work is required, which is around 15 hours a week on campus with the flexible off-campus schedule.
- The Cooper Union. If Science and Art, Engineering, and Architecture fall into your preferences list, you can consider this option. In this case, every undergraduate or graduate student receives free tuition assistance as a scholarship.
- The Curtis Institute of Music. It provides training to especially gifted musicians free of charge. The Liberal Arts courses are provided for musicians and performers as a bonus.
- Barclay College. The Bible-centered college environment offers free tuition for those students who follow evangelical faith traditions and require academic knowledge in subjects that are taught through the lens of the Bible.
- Deep Springs College. Based on service to the community, this college focuses on leadership abilities and the readiness to make a difference in the community. If great social skills are your strong side, consider this as an option. The essay and the interview matter more than the grades here.
- Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades. All students enrolled receive full scholarships that also cover room, boarding, and textbooks. The students must participate in community work, food service operations, and keeping the campus area tidy. The presence of previous community work or religious Judeo-Christian education is a bonus.
- Webb Institute. It offers great financial assistance to students that pursue Naval or Marine Engineering programs. It is the only institution in the US that is precisely aimed at these subjects. It also includes the other Engineering disciplines. The students are obliged to live on campus. A private area with a beach included free of charge.
- Alice Lloyd College. A private Liberal Arts college aimed at students who major in Healthcare, Law, and Education. Strong Christian values are required. One of the colleges with the highest ranking in terms of education quality.
- Macaulay Honors College, New York. It mixes traditional tutoring style with technical innovations. Offering over 210 various courses, it is focused on research work, internships, and a strong collaboration with the world's top companies.
- Berea College. Another Liberal Arts college that covers over thirty academic fields and programs for the foreign exchange students and the Native American representatives.
- School of Public Health at John Hopkins University. Master in public health, study such subjects as Epidemiology and Rural Medical Practices. If you are ready to serve people, consider it.
Education Can Be Free For All
Education should be made possible for all students regardless of their financial state. It is one of the reasons why free-tuition colleges exist. While it may sound like something unreal, it is only necessary to look through the possible options and choose the one that fits your skills, subject, and knowledge. If you are ready to work hard, show strong morals, and dedication, you will definitely graduate without it costing a fortune or being left with enormous student debt!