Which College Is Free?

The significance of earning a college diploma or degree cannot be overstated. Education, it is said, is simply the soul of civilization as it is passed from one generation to another. Therefore, an educated society is a powerful society, and an educated being is a liberated soul from darkness. In light of this, the demand for a college education is constantly at an optimal level. As a result, a college education is viewed as a means to an end, which is why so many individuals go to great lengths to acquire it. But, Which College Is Free?

Which College Is Free?

Obtaining a college degree, on the other hand, is unquestionably costly, regardless of your income bracket all over the world. Sit back and relax as you will find answers to this burning question on your college journey. 

Categories of Free U.S. Colleges

It is quite important to note that ‘free’ colleges in the States are very much relative depending on which one suits your current financial status, ability, and needs. 

Some colleges are free (offering a hundred percent scholarship) based on zero tuition fees for people that come from certain states or regions or a low-income background while some are free provided you can offer on-campus work or service after graduation. 

Examples of these institutions will be laid bare in the following headings:

Scholarship-Based Colleges

  1. American University (AU)

International students can apply for partial Merit Scholarships at this university. These scholarships are hugely competitive and are awarded purely on consideration of exceptional academic achievements, excellent command of English communication, leadership, volunteerism, and community service. The AU Global Leader Scholarship is another example of study perks that covers all financial-based AU expenses such as complete tuition, accommodation, and board for one overseas student who will require an F-1 or J-1 study visa in the United States.

Another available financial assistance provided by the institution is the Need-Based Aid (which goes to students with proven requirements for financial need) and student employment program where proceeds from work-study jobs are used solely for academic purposes among the various other financial aid options available at the college.

  1. Berea College

Berea College is the only academic institution in the United States that provides full financial aid to all enrolled international students in their first year of study. Does this not sound fantastic?

During the academic year, all overseas students are also provided with paid on-campus jobs through the College’s Study-Work Program. This is in addition to the school’s provision for summer jobs for international students so they to meet their financial responsibilities in years to come. 

  1. Clark University

Clark Merit Scholarships are available to international students enrolled in their first year of college. This scholarship is given out purely on the ground of academic excellence rather than family needs.

Other scholarships available at the University include; the Richard Traina Scholarship (conferred on incoming students with strong track records in scholarship, leadership skills, and excellent community service), the Robert Goddard Scholarship (awarded to incoming students with huge academic potential and proven ability to excel on meaningful projects both in and out of the classroom environment), the Jonas Clark Scholarship (handed out to newly enrolled students with clear records and ability to break conventional barriers and also having a meaningful impact in the world), and the Presidential Scholarship (granted each year to five students who have displayed outstanding academic record and strong leadership skills).

  1. Columbia College

The College awards significant scholarships based on academic achievement and a variety of other criteria which ranges from leadership to community service among others. Both local and international students are eligible for this aid. The Merit Scholarship, which is accessible to students enrolled in high school or admitted to Columbia College with fewer than 24 completed credits after high school graduation, is one of the multitudes of scholarships awarded by the college. Eligibility for this scholarship as the name suggests is purely based on academic excellence. Aside from that, the College offers a variety of competitive prices, such as; the Provost Scholarship, the Presidential Scholarship, the Diversity Excellence Award, the First Generation Achievement Award, and the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award, among others. 

  1. Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University awards merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid to overseas students in their first year of enrollment. The following are the available scholarships offered by the University;

  • Merit-Based Scholarships: these are granted to qualified international applicants who have excelled academically and scored well on the appropriate entrance exams. These prizes are renewable for up to four years and range from $16,000 to $30,000 per year.
  • President’s Scholarships: this award is granted to eligible international students based on their abilities, interests, and academic achievements. Two full-tuition scholarships are offered each year to highly eligible overseas students which can be renewed for up to four years.
  1. University of Oregon

The University of Oregon offers several sources of financial aid for international students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The following are a few of the available scholarships in the school; 

  • UO Excellence: this award is purely given on academic grounds with no special or additional application required to be considered. 
  • Summit: students with a 3.90 GPA or higher on a 4.00 academic scale are considered for this award. 
  • Apex: This scholarship recognizes students who have excelled in high school. Non-residents will receive $30,000 overall, or $7,500 per year for four years, while Oregon citizens will receive $8,000 total or $2,000 per year for four years.
  • Tuition Scholarships from the International Cultural Service Program (ICSP): The ICSP offers tuition-free scholarships ranging from $9,000 to $35,000 per year for up to 15 courses every term year. This scholarship is awarded based on financial needs, academic excellence, and the ability to make presentations to a wide variety of audiences.
  • ICSP Nascensce Scholarship: this award is granted to a student from China or Hong Kong who is also an ICSP scholarship recipient.

The college also offers a variety of other scholarships such as; International Affairs Endowed Scholarships, Kenneth S. Ghent Scholarship, and John Haines African Student Scholarship, among others.

It is worth of note that colleges with scholarships in the U.S. are almost endless. Some of the other colleges that offer different forms of scholarships are;

  • East-West Center
  • Emory College
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Concordia College
  • Colby-Sawyer College
  • Iowa State University 
  • The University of the West.

Distance Learning or Online Education

While the aforementioned colleges are for educational institutions that offer scholarships (partial, full, or regional based). There are a host of others that provide remote or distance learning facilities, therefore easing the cost of living for their potential enrollees in some parts of the country and also for international students. The under listed are examples of colleges that offer distance learning education in the U.S.A.;

  • University of the People
  • John Hopkins University
  • Northwestern University
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • New York University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Colorado State University


Conclusively, there are hosts of colleges in the United States that are free using different metrics. Yes, it is agreed that a college education is an expensive necessity but your academic achievements, locality, and income level can be used as leverage to propel you into acquiring the much-needed academic skills in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there free colleges in the United States?

Answer: Yes

  1. What are the basic skills needed to acquire these free colleges?

Answer: You can leverage your academic excellence, leadership skills, residency, citizenship in the United States and some other countries, creativity, innovativeness, and contributions to humanity among a host of others.