Universities With No Application Fees or Tuition – Get a Degree for Free

Universities With No Application Fees

Universities With No Application Fees, Applying to college can be an expensive endeavor between application fees, tuition, room and board, books, and other costs. Students and families must budget thousands of dollars per year for a high-quality degree.

However, some outstanding universities provide free or extremely low-cost ways to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

In this article, we will explore universities with:

  • No application fees
  • Free online courses
  • Full scholarships covering tuition
  • Free university admission

You can get a world-class education and graduate debt-free if you know where to look. Here are the top options globally for free or affordable university degrees.

Here is a table summarizing the key universities and opportunities covered in the article:

Curtis Institute of MusicPhiladelphia, PANo application fee, free tuition, free room & board
Berea CollegeBerea, KYNo application fee, free tuition, free room & board for low-income students
College of the OzarksPoint Lookout, MONo application fee, free tuition, free room & board through work program
Alice Lloyd CollegePippa Passes, KYNo application fee, free tuition for Appalachian students, work program funds room & board
Cornell CollegeMount Vernon, IAMeets 100% of demonstrated financial need with scholarships & grants
CourseraOnline4,000+ free online courses from 200+ universities
edXOnline2,500+ free online courses from 150+ universities
UdacityOnline200+ free tech & business online courses with Nanodegree certification
FutureLearnOnline1,000+ free online courses from 175+ universities
Macaulay Honors CollegeNew York, NYFull-tuition scholarship & laptop for admitted students across CUNY schools
Harper CollegePalatine, ILFree community college for in-district grads, no application fee

What are the Requirements for Applying to Universities Without an Application Fee?

The requirements for applying to universities without an application fee vary depending on the university. However, in general, the application process for universities without an application fee is similar to that of universities with an application fee.

Here are some typical requirements for applying to universities without paying an application fee:

  • Academic Achievement – Most schools waiving application fees want to see strong high school grades, test scores, and transcripts to ensure you can handle college-level academics. Competitive GPAs and SAT/ACT scores are usually needed.
  • Financial Need – Some schools like Berea College mainly offer free tuition and no application fees for low-income students, which requires submitting detailed financial aid documentation.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Most selective colleges require 1-3 letters speaking to your academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and potential.
  • Essays – The application will involve writing thoughtful essays and personal statements that bring your background to life.
  • Interview – Competitive schools like Curtis Institute of Music often require admissions interviews to assess your skills and fit.
  • Audition – Music schools like Curtis will require a live or taped audition to evaluate your musical talents. Portfolios are needed for arts programs.
  • Leadership – Demonstrating leadership in extracurricular activities can help, especially for competitive honors programs.
  • Community Service – Volunteering and service can boost applications to schools focused on social impact like Berea.
  • High School Transcript – Your official grades, coursework, and GPA are key indicators of collegiate success.

While requirements vary by school, strong academics, test scores, essays, recommendations, and evidence of financial need are common.

Students are typically required to submit an application form, transcripts, test scores, and other supporting documents. Some universities may also require essays, letters of recommendation, or interviews.

It is important to note that some universities may waive the application fee based on the student’s needs or offer need-based application fee waivers. Therefore, it is recommended to check with the university’s admissions office for more information on application fees and fee waivers.

Additionally, some universities may require a fee for paper applications. It is important to carefully review the application requirements for each university and to follow the instructions provided by the admissions office.

How to Find Scholarships for Universities Without an Application Fees?

Finding scholarships for universities without an application fee can be challenging, but there are several resources available to help students. Here are some tips and strategies to find scholarships for universities without an application fee:

Check with the university’s financial aid office: Many universities offer scholarships and grants to students who demonstrate financial need. Contact the financial aid office of the university you are interested in to inquire about available scholarships.

Use scholarship search engines: There are several scholarship search engines available that can help you find scholarships for universities without an application fee. Some popular scholarship search engines include Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and Cappex.

Check with professional organizations: Many professional organizations offer scholarships to students pursuing degrees in their field. Check with organizations related to your intended major or career path to see if they offer scholarships.

Look for local scholarships: Many local organizations, such as community foundations, offer scholarships to students in their area. Check with local organizations to see if they offer scholarships for universities without an application fee.

Apply for need-based fee waivers: Some universities offer need-based fee waivers for their application fees. Check with the university’s admissions office to see if you qualify for a fee waiver.

Use online resources: There are several websites that provide lists of universities in the USA without application fees and scholarships available for students. Some of these websites include ScholarshipTruth, IvyWise, Prepler, and Leap Scholar.

It is important to note that scholarships are highly competitive, and it is recommended to apply to as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances of receiving one.

Universities With No Application Fees

Application fees, which are typically between $25-$100 per college submitted to, can quickly add up. The following schools do not charge any fees just to apply.

Curtis Institute of Music

The renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia offers a tuition-free conservatory education to all students. There is also no application fee. Students only pay for room and board. Admission is very selective, with 4% acceptance rate.

Berea College

Berea College in Kentucky charges no tuition or fees. There are also no costs to apply. Students receive free room and board. The school primarily admits academically promising students from low-income families, with 95% receiving financial aid.

College of the Ozarks

nick-named “Hard Work U”, the College of the Ozarks in Missouri provides a free education and room/board to all admitted students through their student work program. Applying costs nothing.

Alice Lloyd College

This small liberal arts college in Kentucky offers free tuition to Appalachian students after other gift aid is applied. There are no costs to apply. Students work 10-20 hours weekly to fund room and board.

Universities With Free Online Courses

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) from top universities provide free learning to people worldwide. Completing these online courses can count as college credit through prior learning assessments.


Coursera partners with 200+ leading universities to offer over 4,000 free online courses in topics like computer science, business, and humanities. Students can access courses from Yale, Duke, Google, and more top institutions.


Created by Harvard and MIT, edX provides free access to 2,500+ courses from 150 prestigious schools. Subjects span computer science, engineering, humanities, math, business, and more. Many courses offer certificates upon completion.


Udacity’s catalog includes over 200 free online courses focused on technology and business subjects like programming, data science, digital marketing, product management, and more. Nanodegree programs provide certification.


FutureLearn partners with over 175 top schools like Cambridge, Oxford, and Yale to offer 1,000+ free online courses. Subjects include arts, health, business, computer science, and more.

Universities Offering Full Scholarships

Scholarships help students attend college tuition-free. The following schools provide full-ride scholarships covering 100% tuition, room & board, fees, and more.

Curtis Institute of Music

In addition to no application fees or tuition, Curtis provides free room and board to all enrolled students. The conservatory is tuition-free due to an endowment.

Berea College

This Kentucky college offers the Tuition Promise Scholarship, covering 100% of tuition for every admitted student. Students only pay room and board. Over 95% of students receive financial aid.

Alice Lloyd College

Located in Kentucky, Alice Lloyd provides the Student Work Program alongside the Appalachian Leader Scholarship to cover 100% tuition. Students work part-time to fund room/board.

College of the Ozarks

This Missouri college guarantees to meet 100% of financial need for full-time students through scholarships and on-campus work programs. No tuition is charged.

Cornell College

This Iowa college meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for every admitted student through scholarships and grants. Over half of students pay no tuition.

Universities With Free Admission

Some leading universities provide free admission, meaning no application fee and no tuition charged. These schools are extremely selective.

Curtis Institute of Music

In addition to no application fee, all admitted students receive free tuition, room and board, and access to instruments. The acceptance rate is around 4%, making it among the most selective schools.

Berea College

This tuition-free Kentucky college accepts about 33% of applicants. It primarily admits high-achieving, low-income students and provides generous financial aid. No application fee is required.

Alice Lloyd College

Located in Kentucky, Alice Lloyd offers free tuition and requires no application fee. Students must demonstrate financial need and academic capability. The acceptance rate is 67%.

Macaulay Honors College

Accepted students receive a full-tuition scholarship and laptop at this highly selective honors college with branches across CUNY schools in New York City. No application fee is required.

Harper College

Harper College in Illinois provides free two-year community college admission to in-district high school graduates. Recent changes removed the application fee.

Key Takeaways

Students and families concerned about affording college should know:

  • Excellent universities like Curtis Institute of Music, Berea College, Alice Lloyd College, Cornell College, and more provide free or heavily discounted tuition through scholarships and work-study programs.
  • Hundreds of free online courses are available from prestigious schools via MOOC platforms like Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn. These can count as college credit.
  • A small number of highly selective colleges like Curtis Institute of Music and Berea College offer completely free admission and education.
  • Avoiding application fees by applying only to certain tuition-free colleges can save money during the admissions process.

With proper planning and research, it is possible for dedicated students to graduate from renowned universities debt-free by utilizing these special opportunities. The resources exist to make higher education affordable for all.

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