The best colleges that offer free tuition for low-income students can make an unforgettable difference in a student’s life.
There’s no doubt every student deserves equal access to top-quality education, regardless of their economic status.
However, many colleges are far too expensive for low to middle-income students to afford.
With the help of colleges with free tuition for low-income students, education can become far more accessible to a larger chunk of the population.
In this guide, we’ll review ten top-ranked institutions known to offer free tuition for students that find it challenging to afford.
Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $25,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Low-Income Students
1. Haskell Indian Nations University
2-4 Year; Lawrence. KS
Average Annual Cost: $3,271
Students in Kansas are in luck if they’re hunting for a college that gives them access to free education if their family income is below a certain amount.
Haskell Indian Nations University is a tribal university currently offering free tuition to American Indian and Alaska Native students.
That said, you must be from federally recognized tribes to be eligible to apply.
Like many other free tuition programs, students will be responsible for paying for other aspects of their time at school.
For example, you will need to pay for activity and athletics fees, housing, technological items, and more.
On average, these additional costs range from $200 to $700 per semester, depending on if you live on or off campus.
According to the school’s website, this program is a fabulous way to help tribes save up to $20,000 a year on tuition fees and additional costs.
It’s also a unique opportunity for American Indian students to qualify for post-secondary education from a tribal university.
2. College of the Ozarks
4 Year; Point Lookout, MO
Average Annual Cost: $7,195
College of the Ozarks has a unique tuition platform since they don’t charge tuition to full-time students.
That said, part-time students must pay $310 per credit hour, guaranteeing their placement in their chosen courses.
Of course, this is a phenomenal opportunity for students seeking a college education without graduating with thousands of dollars in debt.
However, like many other tuition-free programs, students must continue to meet certain qualifications.
At the College of the Ozarks, full-time students must work 15 per week while attending school full-time.
You must also work two 40-hour weeks per academic year to continue qualifying for free tuition.
In addition to employment requirements, students will be responsible for a few additional fees.
Each semester, you can expect to pay around $250 for health, tech, and other services.
These fees are subject to change depending on the costs associated with attending the school.
3. Williamson College of the Trades
2-4 Year; Media, PA
Average Annual Cost: $6,030
At Williamson College of the Trades, students can explore six different trade programs, which include landscaping, carpentry, machinery, masonry, power plant technology, and construction technology.
As a faith-based all-male career college, they offer one of the less competitive scholarship options for their enrolled students to consider.
If you are eligible for need-based aid, you could receive the Williamson scholarship, covering up to $36,500 in costs.
4. Curtis Institute of Music
4 Year; Philadelphia, PA
Average Annual Cost: $10,097
Curtis Institute of Music is a fabulous option if you’ve always had a penchant for music and creativity.
With their remarkable learning opportunities, students can unlock full-tuition scholarships to help them afford their schooling.
This school’s free tuition platform is unique because it’s available to undergraduate and graduate students without any strenuous prequalifications.
It’s important to note the value of the scholarship changes per year, depending on the cost of courses.
For example, the scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year is just under $49,000 for undergraduates and over $60,000 for graduate students.
It’s also important to note you are likely responsible for additional fees, similar to other free tuition programs.
Students will also pay for activity fees, health services, insurance, and other extra items.
On average, you can expect to pay $1750 for most of your fees per year, whether you’re a new or returning student.
5. Webb Institute
4 Year; Glen Cove, NY
Average Annual Cost: $13,657
Webb Institute is a specialty engineering school that gives students access to full-tuition scholarships.
Over four years, students can save as much as $200,000, making it a massive saving for low-income students.
To make this offer even more inclusive, it’s available to all full-time students, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
6. Alice Lloyd College
4 Year; Pippa Passes, KY
Average Annual Cost: $15,045
Alice Lloyd College has a unique residency-based free tuition program that’s entirely dependent on where you live.
Students in specific counties within Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia can qualify as long as they live within the Central Appalachian Service Area.
Known as the Appalachian Leaders Scholarship, this free tuition opportunity is a great option for students seeking assistance.
With this scholarship, you’ll have your entire tuition covered for up to ten semesters.
You will also be responsible for maintaining a job while studying at the school, which is common for free tuition programs.
Students are responsible for working at least ten hours weekly in any industry, including office administration, maintenance, or food preparation.
7. Antioch College
4 Year; Yellow Springs, OH
Average Annual Cost: $19,686
Antioch College is a fantastic option for career-oriented students looking for a post-secondary school to fuel their future job prospects.
With the programs at this institution, you can get the in-class and real-world experience you need to excel in your specialty.
The school is also well-known for its research and full-time working opportunities students can explore.
As a part of the College Work Program at Antioch College, students could qualify for full tuition coverage.
They must also be Pell-eligible but can be either new or returning students.
A couple of other scholarship opportunities are available at the school, including last-dollar scholarships.
Like many of the other free tuition programs in this guide, students will still be responsible for their share of fees.
These fees may include room and board costs, health insurance, and technology costs.
In addition, you will need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to continue qualifying for free tuition.
8. University of New Hampshire
4 Year; Durham, NH
Average Annual Cost: $24,160
The University of New Hampshire’s free tuition option is relatively new, as it became available in 2017.
Called the Granite Guarantee, this program is designed to give full tuition to in-state students for up to four years of study.
It’s only available to full-time, first-year students eligible for the Pell Grant.
It’s also important to note that students who graduate from the Community College System of New Hampshire who are also Pell-eligible qualify.
However, it would help if you immediately transferred to the University of New Hampshire after graduating from community college to apply.
9. Warren Wilson College
4 Year; Swannanoa, NC
Average Annual Cost: $24,696
Warren Wilson College is a great option for in-state students seeking free education with lower socioeconomic status.
The school features a tuition waiver as a scholarship for which every student can qualify if they’ve previously qualified for need-based aid.
That said, some prerequisites must be met, such as students must attend school full-time and for the first time.
Warren Wilson College also has a few other options available if you don’t qualify for the free tuition scholarship.
One of the most notable is the Milepost One scholarship, which covers the full cost of your tuition and is available to up to 25 students per year.
To qualify for the application, your family income must be below $125,000 annually.
It’s also important to note that all students at Warren Wilson College have to worry about their studies and holding a job.
You will require a job that gives you up to 16 hours per week, helping you develop a professional craft.
It’s a great opportunity to help diversify the education of students both in and out of the classroom.
10. Barclay College
4 Year; Haviland, KS
Average Annual Cost: $24,760
If you’ve always wanted to live on campus at your college or university, Barclay College’s free tuition program is sure to impress.
Every full-time student that lives on campus can qualify for a full-tuition scholarship at the private Christian college.
That said, you will still be responsible for added fees, such as room and board, technology, and general fees.
According to the school, a fundamental tenet of its platform is to help students graduate without debt.
Thanks to this scholarship, you can find many fantastic course options at a fraction of the cost you would find at other institutions.
Choose Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Low-Income Students ASAP!
It’s no secret that a college education is expensive because aside from the tuition fee, you’ll have other overhead expenses to help you get through.
Fortunately, some colleges offer free tuition for low-income students, but undoubtedly, they are bound to fill up quickly.
That is especially if their courses are exclusive.
That said, you must get your application in to be considered for top-quality learning at a fraction of the cost.