10 Ways to Get a Free College Education | AHECounselling

10 Ways to Get a Free College Education

It's no secret that the costs of college have increased to an all-time record. There are a variety of ways that a student could do to offset the high costs of college. To go to college for free, You could seek out scholarships and volunteer at your school, search for tuition-free degrees, and more.

What is the cost of college?

In the last 10 years, the cost of college has been rising. College Board data shows that in 2011-12, tuition, as well as fees, averaged $9.890 at four-year public colleges (in the year 2021 in dollars). In 2021-22 that figure was $10,740. The gap is even more for private four-year universities. From 2011-12 until 2021-22, the average fees and tuition rose from $33,320 to $38,070.

The cost of college is in large part on the institution you decide to go to. Here's the way that College Board breaks down average costs for the school year 2021-22:


Average cost

University tuition for public students

$10,740 for in-state students; $27,560 for out-of-state students

Private tuition for universities


Room and board

$11,950 for public institutions; $13,620 for private universities.

Books and other supplies



$1,230 for public universities. $1,060 for private schools.

Personal expenses

$2,170 for public institutions $2,170 for private universities; $1,810 for public universities.

How do you go to college at no cost

It's crucial to investigate every avenue you can use to reduce the cost or even nothing for colleges. The most effective techniques are listed below.

Request grants and scholarships

There are many organizations, programs, and even organizations that provide gratuitous money. The majority of grants are determined by needs as well as scholarships dependent on academic and athletic excellence or artistic merit.

You could apply for grants or scholarships at the federal or school levels by filling out the FAFSA. Contact your high school guidance counselor or the college finance office to determine if you're qualified to apply for local programs or specific institution-specific scholarships.

Search engines for scholarships can help you discover scholarships that are not part of your school's offerings. You can personalize your search according to any range of factors, including:

  • Race.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Gender.
  • Financial need.
  • Potentially major.
  • Military connection.
  • Religion.
  • Physical impairments.

The earlier you begin with your research, the greater amount of cash you can qualify for. A lot of grants and scholarships are offered on a first come basis, first-served basis. So the earlier you submit your application for a grant, the more you can earn.

Serve your country

The U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, Military (West Point), Merchant Marine, and Naval Academies provide free college scholarships to students who will serve following the graduation date. The scholarships are also offered by regional Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs.

It is offered in more than 170 universities and colleges in the U.S. the ROTC program offers a college education as well as guaranteed post-college careers to students as a condition of committing to joining the military after graduating.

Suppose you've been on active duty prior to or on September. 11th 2001, you might also be eligible for the post-9/11 GI Bill, which helps to pay for the costs of tuition and fees for in-state students and also provides reimbursement for living costs, books, and other supplies. People who qualify for the full benefit offered by the program will receive the entire cost of tuition in public schools and fees for a period of 36 months. There are limits on funding for both foreign and private schools.

AmeriCorps is a different national service organization that provides educational awards as a reward for community service. The amount awarded varies across AmeriCorps programs. However, the person who is awarded an award cannot earn "more than the total value from two national full-time service awards." The total education award is equivalent to that amount, which is the maximum Pell Grant amount that is available for the year. Participants also receive a daily allowance while within the program.

Helping the school

Many schools provide discounted or free tuition for staff and employees at the institution. Furthermore, for the parent of a student who is employed by the college, a complete or partial waiver might be offered to that student. The conditions vary according to the institution since there are no minimum requirements, but many full-time workers are eligible for tuition-free classes. Students who are interested in studying can learn the policy of their school by contacting the admissions office.

You can waive your expenses.

Certain students may be eligible for an exemption depending on their academic performance or other aspects.

"Tuition exemptions are available for (current and former) military or bright students," says Manuel Fabriquer, director of College Planning ABC, a San Jose, California-based admissions and financial aid agency. "Even families with high earnings can qualify for tuition exemptions if the youngster meets the required exam scores."

Certain schools also offer waivers to Native American students, though this policy differs from school to school. To find out more about the waivers that schools offer, you can contact the office for financial aid.

Your employer can cover the cost

There is a myriad of companies offering tuition reimbursements, including Chegg, Google, and Hulu. Find out if your employer is willing to offer either a partial or full tuition reimbursement. The maximum amount of tuition reimbursements per year is tax-free for employers and employees.

Look for a job that is in great demand

Another option to go to the college of your choice is to select a need-based area of study. If you're looking to reduce the costs of college, it's something you should be considered before you begin your college journey.

Nursing, math, science teaching, social work, and other subjects are all areas that colleges can encourage through scholarships. There are other opportunities through organizations such as Teach for America and the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, and you could earn an annual TEACH Grant amounting to $4,000 annually in exchange for the commitment to teach in a low-income institution or educational service agency for four of the initial eight years following the completion of your degree.

Work in the same College

A work college is a different method to obtain a completely discount or free college education. These typically are four-year institutions of liberal arts that provide opportunities for education and invaluable work experience.

It is important to know that all students have to take part in a complete work-learning course during the entire four years of their enrollment. That is, every resident student has worked. Most jobs are on campus. However, there are jobs that are off campus as well. Specific details for programs vary according to college.

Each of the work colleges is accredited and monitored by the U.S. Department of Education and must meet certain federal requirements.

Make sure you choose a school that will pay you.

Certain schools will allow students to focus their studies on a specific topic that they pick. Schools such as The Webb Institute and the Curtis Institute of Music provide various academic programs. They also cover the cost of tuition for each student.

It's crucial to make a plan before you decide to enroll in this particular course. You don't want to be involved in classes at no cost and then graduate only to find out that you're no longer keen on the subject anymore.

Go to a community college and take advantage of the benefit of tuition-free.

There are numerous community colleges offering free tuition; Tennessee, Oregon, California, New York, and Washington are all states that have adopted a kind of free community college.

In some states, you must finish high school in the state school and then enroll full-time in order to be eligible for the tuition-free program. It is also possible to stay within the state for several years following your graduation. While tuition will be completely free, you might need to pay for your textbooks as well as supplies and the cost of room and board.

Look into online tuition-free degree programs.

There are many colleges that offer tuition-free classes. Certain employers offer free college classes to their employees. For instance, Starbucks has partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to provide employees with the full cost of their online programs and degree.

There are two schools that offer tuition-free online programs. Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Berea College in Kentucky are two universities that offer tuition-free online programs. You can conduct a Google search to find more tuition-free online degrees. They could be ideal for those who wish to remain at home.

What happens if I get student loans?

If you've done all you can to get to the college of your choice for free, but you're still required to pay for a part of it, You can make use of student loans to pay for the gaps in your budget.

No matter if you get either private or federal student loans, You should only borrow the amount you require. Every dollar you take out is a dollar that you will repay with interest. The more you borrow today, the greater the amount you'll be required to pay back when you graduate from your school. Although Biden made it clear during his campaign that he'd like to forgo $10,000 in student loan debt for each borrower aren't formal plans in place; therefore, you must plan on repaying your entire amount.

Federal loans for students are offered upon completing the FAFSA. They offer flexible repayment terms such as loans that are based on income, as well as forgiveness options and lengthy deferment and forgiveness timeframes. If you're still struggling to cover the cost of college and have exhausted limits on federal loans, you may require private student loans, which can come with higher interest rates and fewer protections for borrowers. If you're in this situation, it's crucial to look around at a few lenders prior to applying for your student loan to keep the cost as low as you can.

The bottom line is what matters most.

While obtaining a college education is feasible. However, it will take an enormous amount of effort, time, and dedication. Begin your search early and make an application to numerous grants, scholarships, and other programs as you can. By casting a broad field, you will have the greatest chance of attending college at no cost. If you're still unable to fill the gap, getting a student loan could help you on your way.