Higher education is a wonderful thing, but the price can be very steep.
The College Board reports that tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year averaged $10,940 at public four-year, in-state institutions and averaged $39,400 at private, nonprofit four-year schools.
But here and there throughout the country are schools where you pay nothing for tuition if you meet certain requirements. There might be work-study involved, but you can save tens of thousands of dollars by attending these schools.
Following is a look at U.S. colleges and universities that don’t charge tuition.
Location: Berea, Kentucky
Berea College, located in Kentucky’s Appalachian region, has been paying for students’ tuition since 1892. As the college’s website explains:
“We believe a college education is crucial for success in the modern world and that it should be available to everyone.”
Berea, like a few of the following institutions, is what’s known as a work college. All students in these schools “participate in a comprehensive-work-learning service program for all four years of enrollment.”
Alice Lloyd College
Location: Pippa Passes, Kentucky
Alice Lloyd College, another Appalachian work college, offers 10 semesters of free tuition to all students from the college’s service area, which comprises 108 counties in Central Appalachia.
“Alice Lloyd is one of a select number of schools in the country that offer programs specifically designed to help students cut down on debt,” the college’s website states.
However, students must participate in Alice Lloyd’s Student Work Program.
Deep Springs College
Location: Deep Springs Valley, California
Deep Springs College, located in the Eastern Sierra region of California, isn’t nearly your typical college. There are only 24 to 30 students, it’s located on an isolated cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in the high desert, and the school takes pride in its “weird” application questions.
But, if admitted, you can’t beat the price. Deep Springs offers its students “a full scholarship valued at over $50,000, which includes tuition, room, and board.”
Location: Haviland, Kansas
This Christian educational institution provides a Full Tuition Scholarship. According to the school:
“The commitment of the college and our 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.”
One stipulation for the full scholarship, however, is that students must live on campus.
College of the Ozarks
Location: Point Lookout, Missouri
Also known as “Hard Work U,” this Christian college nestled in the Ozark Mountains region openly discourages debt and does not provide loans.
College of the Ozarks students pay for their education through a combination of federal and state grants, a scholarship and a work program — which entails 15 hours of work per week and two 40-hour workweeks per school year.
Curtis Institute of Music
Famous composers Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber are among the notable graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music, which only admits about 4% of applicants and maintains a student body of only about 155.
Curtis provides all students with full-tuition scholarships. For the 2022-2023 school year, these scholarships were worth $48,557 for undergraduates and $60,291 for graduate students, according to the institute.
Warren Wilson College
Location: Swannanoa, North Carolina
Warren Wilson College is a liberal arts institution that places a high value on working in the community.
Since the fall of 2018, undergraduate students who are eligible for federal or state need-based financial aid have been able to attend the college tuition-free. Requirements for tuition-free attendance include being a North Carolina resident and participating in the college’s work program.
Location: Glen Cove, New York
Webb Institute is an engineering college focused on naval architecture and marine engineering.
The college provides all students full-tuition scholarships — which are valued at $57,830 for the 2023-2024 school year — and also need-based assistance to cover other costs of attendance.
Williamson College of the Trades
Location: Delaware County, Pennsylvania
This junior college for men based on Judeo-Christian principles offers associate degrees in six mechanical trades, such as carpentry, masonry, horticulture and power plant technology.
All students attend Williamson College of the Trades on full scholarships, which cover the cost of tuition, room and board and textbooks.
Macaulay Honors College
Location: New York City
Macaulay Honors College is the honors college of the City University of New York (CUNY), which offers 475 majors across eight campuses.
Macaulay, located in Manhattan, provides in-state students with tuition scholarships, which cover the cost of eight semesters of full-time undergraduate study as well as summer and winter classes.