15 Colleges Where Every Student Gets a Full-Tuition Scholarship

FREESome colleges talk about value as a way to justify the high cost of tuition.  Here are fifteen schools where EVERY student gets a full-tuition scholarship.  Some schools require work, military service, or demonstrated talent and few focus on students with financial need. The possibility of attending school for free and graduating without piles of student loans makes these schools attractive possibilities.

Antioch College (Yellow Springs, OH)

Antioch is working to reinvent itself in the new economy.  With the campaign, “Rethinking American Higher Education at a 160-Year-Old Start-Up,” Antioch is working to rebuild after closing in 2008.  Thirty-five new students represented the first new graduating class when the college reopened in 2011. Four-year full-tuition scholarships for all students entering in 2013 and 2014 should help draw the ambitious, visionary, hard working students Antioch wants.   The campus has historic buildings mixed with modern elements such as the sustainable campus farm.  Students considering liberal arts colleges who want an experience beyond the normal college scene should look into Antioch.

Deep Springs College (Big Pine, CA)

At Deep Springs 26 students live, work, and learn on a ranch in the high dessert on the California-Nevada border.  Deep Springs is a two-year liberal arts college with an intense atmosphere.  Students agree to two basic policies:  1.  No drugs or alcohol and 2.  No visitors or trips off-campus.  Currently the school maintains the all-male policy established when the school was founded in 1917, but the policy comes up for discussion annually.  Admission to Deep Springs is highly competitive with admissions rates similar to Ivy League schools (between 6-11% for the past few years.)  Most graduates continue their educations at four-year universities.

The Cooper Union (New York, NY)

(At the time this article was published, Cooper Union did not charge tuition, but the school has since decided to charge tuition for the first time in 150 years.)

If you want to study art, architecture, or engineering in the middle of New York, Cooper Union is your school.  It is top rated and located in the heart of Greenwich Village. The campus doesn’t include some of the amenities many students come to expect when visiting colleges such as fancy recreation center, but the academic challenge and location, coupled with no tuition, are plenty for Cooper Union students.  The school has had a long history of not charging tuition to all students able to gain admission.  Cooper Union has a sizable endowment and also makes a profit off its real estate holdings which include the Chrysler Building.  Admission to Cooper Union is highly competitive; last year they admitted 7.7% of the students who applied.

College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, MO)

College of the Ozarks, also known as “Work Hard U”, is a Christian school that looks to admit quality students who lack the financial resources to pay for their own education. 90% of entering students must demonstrate financial need and the primary focus is on students living in the Ozarks region (specific counties in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Kansas), but they have students from other parts of the nation and world.  College of the Ozarks is one of the 7 work colleges in the US.  Students are expected to work 15 hours a week during the school year plus two 40-hour work weeks when school is out of session.  By working students develop real world skills, a work ethic, and they help pay for the education they are receiving.  For admission, students should be in the top half of their graduating class with a 20+ on the ACT or 950+ (R&M) on the SAT.

Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA)

Curtis Institute of Music is one of the world’s leading conservatories for exceptionally gifted musicians and performing artists.  The enrollment is small, about 165 students; just the number needed for a full symphony, opera department, and select other programs.  Since 1928 Curtis has offered full-tuition scholarships for all admitted students regardless of need.  Students are admitted based on talent and artistic promise and all students must audition.  Competition is fierce and recently only 3.2% of applicants were admitted.

Webb Institute  (Glen Cove, NY)

Webb Institute is an engineering school with one major: naval architecture & marine engineering.  Webb is recognized as a top engineering school and its graduates have a 100% job placement rate as well as high acceptance rates to graduate schools.  Webb’s 80 students enjoy a beautiful 26-acre campus, really a beach front estate, on Long Island Sound.  Anyone interested in marine engineering should investigate the immersive program at Webb.

Military Academies

Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO)

Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD)

US Military Academy West Point (West Point, NY)

Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, NY)

Coast Guard Academy (New London, CT)

All of the military academies are prestigious and offer students an opportunity to get a world-class education for no cost (tuition, housing, food, books, and fees are all paid for.)  Students at the academies take traditional undergraduate classes, but also receive considerable training in their specific military area.  Service academies are tough – mentally, physically, and emotionally, and each school seeks to admit students who are up for the challenge.  All students agree to serve in their branch of the military for 5-8 years and graduates are guaranteed jobs as commissioned officers.  Many service academy graduates continue to serve in the military once their initial service obligation is over, but other graduates move to the private sector where they find their academy educations are well regarded by employers.

Alice Lloyd College (Pippa Passes, KY)

Alice Lloyd, the school’s founder, believed educational opportunities were lacking in this part of Appalachia.  The mission of Alice Lloyd College is to educate local students for positions of leadership while developing work ethic and Christian values.  Like College of the Ozarks, Alice Lloyd is one of only 7 work colleges in the US.  Tuition is guaranteed for full-time students who live in the 108 Appalachian county service area (Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia). Some students come from outside this area and may receive some scholarships.

Berea College (Berea, KY)

Berea is similar to Alice Lloyd and College of the Ozarks in that students have financial need and tend to live in Kentucky or surrounding areas.  The college incorporates work ethic and every student works 10-15 hours a week to earn money for books, food, and expenses. Berea’s endowment funds 73% of the school’s operating expenses

Saint Louis Christian College (Florissant, MO)

SLCC is a small Bible college located in suburban Saint Louis that is dedicated to helping students prepare to share the gospel with others.  Many students intend to enter the ministry upon graduation.  All full-time students who live on campus receive 100% tuition scholarships.

Barclay College (Haviland, KS)

Barclay is another college dedicated to preparing students for lives of Christian service.  Barclay was founded by Quakers, but welcomes all evangelical faiths. All full-time on-campus students (just over 200 of them) receive full-tuition scholarships.  The campus is located in a small town and has a conservative feel, what you would expect from a Christian Bible College.

Of course, with free tuition, acceptance to most of these schools is very competitive.  Students need talent, good grades, strong applications, and competitive test scores to get in.  Check out my online SAT course if you need to improve your scores for these schools or any other colleges.

How To Prioritize Saving For College

Guest post by Andrea Travillian

As parents we want the best for our kids.  We want to give them what we did not have growing up, set them up for success and basically give them the world.  Including letting them go to the best college they can get into.  It’s just part of being a parent that you want the best for them.

Yet when we give too much and do not focus on the right things we end up not only hurting our kids, but ourselves.

How can we be hurting our kids by giving them all we can?  When we don’t prioritize our savings and financial health over the things we think our children need we are not setting a good example on how to manage money.  Additionally when not taking care of our finances we hamper our ability to help them with extra money when they actually reach college.

How are we hurting ourselves?  By making sure that our kids have all the money and resources they need, we forget to take care of our own finances.  We end up with not enough money to retire, too much debt to manage and limited options to achieve our financial goals.

When it comes to saving for your child’s education you want to make sure you are doing things in the proper order to ensure that you and your kids are taken care of.  Following is the order that best takes care of you so that you can take care of your kids.

Live On Less than You Make

This is the number one most important thing you need to do with your money, even if you are not planning on paying for your child’s college tuition.  If you are not spending less than you make then you are creating debt continually.  When you constantly create debt it becomes harder and harder to live on less, because those credit card payments keep getting bigger.  Eventually the equation ends in bankruptcy.  So before you can do any type of saving you need to make sure you are not spending everything that you have.  It is not possible to be financially stable without this happening.

Clear up Credit Card Debt

Debt eats up your cash that you should be using to save money. By reducing debt you can redirect those funds to begin investing.  I mainly point out credit card debt as this is one of the most detrimental types of debt.  This is because it is typically a sign that we are overspending on things we cannot pay for today!  Plus the rates are typically really bad, and they do not make sense to carry a balance.  When you have learned to live on a budget and can pay your credit card every month in full, then it is not a drain.

Once you have eliminated the credit card debt, then you can begin to tackle car debt, and all the other debts.  Look at debt as a monster eating your investing money.  If you eliminate the monster, finding the money to achieve your goals becomes easier.

Save for Retirement

The most important part of saving for retirement is to start and start as early as you can.  You may be thinking that you will begin saving after the kids are gone, but you will have to save much more money if you start later than if you had started to save early.  Plus, kids can always borrow, get scholarships or work their way through college, you cannot do that same with retirement.  No one is going to loan you money to retire, it would be a bad loan.

Save for College

Once you have cleaned up your expenses, reduced debt and started your retirement savings you can now begin to save for your child’s education! This is the right time to put aside money for your kids to use in college, anything before this will put a damper on your ability to lead a financially healthy life.

Work the Steps at the Same Time?

Can you do all this at one time: save for retirement, pay off debt and save for college?  Well that all depends on your budget and extra cash.

If you only have $30 extra a month then it does not make sense to put $10 on debt, $10 in retirement and $10 in college savings.  Instead it is better to work on reducing the debt.  Remember that eliminating the debt creates more cash that you can then either put towards savings or even paying cash for college.  If you have $600 extra a month, then it might make sense to do debt and retirement at the same time, because you can make progress on each with $300 a month.  Take the time to create a budget and a plan that works for you and your money.

Ultimately the thing you have to do the entire time is spend less than you make.  I would recommend doing both the retirement and debt payment at the same time, and add college to the mix only when you have eliminated the debt.

Remember by cleaning up your finances now you have placed yourself in a position to teach your kids about money management today, help them later in life by having extra cash and to not be a hindrance on your kids later in life when you don’t have retirement money.  It turns into a win-win for all when you put your finances first.


Andrea Travillian has her MBA and BBA in finance and works to help people understand their money and how to achieve more with it!  Andrea is the author of “Healthy Money Healthy You” and “Little Kids Big Money: Tools for Kid Friendly Finance”.  For additional information on personal finance and investing visit Andrea’s Site

Encouraging Juniors To Begin The Scholarship Process

Guest post by Monica Matthews,  Scholarship Expert

College scholarship searching and applying are traditionally done in a student’s senior year of high school.  High school juniors, however, can take a huge leap in the process by starting before their crazy-busy senior year begins.  There are many benefits of starting the college scholarship searching process early.

First, the competition for scholarships aimed at the high school junior is much less than for those directed at high school seniors.  Most students and their parents are not even aware of college scholarships that are just for high school juniors, such as the Nordstrom Scholarship and the Discover Card Scholarship, to name a few.  Encouraging students to search for and apply for these scholarships gives juniors experience at writing essays, personal statements, and calculating community service hours.

Another benefit of applying for scholarships as a junior is making early contact with high school teachers and asking them to write letters of recommendation.  A high school junior can prepare a scholarship resume, hand it to their favorite teacher, and show that teacher how serious they are about winning scholarships to help pay for college.  When those same teachers are swamped with letter of recommendation requests from seniors in the fall for college and scholarship applications, high school juniors who have already applied for scholarships will have their letters in hand ready to submit.

There is a lot of money out there to be won in the form of college scholarships.  The earlier a student can prepare and apply for them, the better their chances of winning.  Becoming comfortable with the scholarship process early gives students feelings of confidence and takes away the fear of the unknown that often accompanies writing essays, filling out applications, and asking for letters of recommendation.  For more tips and advice on winning college scholarships, visit

Common Financial Aid Errors


What are the most common mistakes students make on the financial aid application?

I think we can all agree; higher education is expensive.  The cost of a four year degree is as much as the cost of a home in many areas.  Financial aid is intended to cover the gap between what a family can afford to pay and the total cost.  However, every year students fail to receive aid, often due to application errors.  Here are the most common errors to avoid:

1.  Failing to apply. 

Some families knowingly don’t apply under the mistaken belief that they make too much to receive aid.  Before you decide not to apply, you may want to determine the amount your family would be expected to pay before receiving aid.  There is no application fee to submit the FAFSA; it will cost you a little time.  You can also try some of the FAFSA estimators online.  If your family contribution far exceeds the cost of college, you won’t qualify for aid.  However, many families find they can qualify for aid.

2.  Failing to complete the application.

Some universities require a school specific forms or the CSS profile while others don’t.  Applying for the FAFSA doesn’t mean you have completed the financial aid process for each university.  Check the requirements and deadlines for each school. Some students complete the application but submit incomplete or incorrect information, thus delaying the process.

3.  Waiting too long to apply. 

Financial aid can be like going through a buffet – the people in the front of the line get their choice of the best offerings while those at the end may be left with table scraps.  Universities have a limited amount of grant and scholarship funding, so those who apply late are likely to receive only loans.

To ensure you receive the best possible offer, apply on time and make sure your application is complete and accurate.