7 Ways to Go to College for Free

Want to go to #college for free? These are 7 real and legit ways that you could actually do just that ...Tuition. Fees. Books. It all adds up! College can be ridiculously expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Don't accept the idea that you're going to pay an arm and a leg for college. You can go to college for free....Tuition. Fees. Books. It all adds up!

College can be ridiculously expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

Don’t accept the idea that you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for college.

You can go to college for free.

How to Go to College for Free

Take a look at some of these methods that have the potential to put you through college for free. Some will work well with your circumstances, others won’t – think through them to decide what’s best for you!

1. Serve Your Country

The Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, Merchant Marine, Military, and Naval Academies offer a free college education to those who serve after college.

The requirements vary, but military training is required and those serving must commit to up to 10 years of service. That’s a lot of service, but it’s for a great cause.

Serving your country is a noble endeavor, and should you choose to do so, you absolutely deserve a free college education.

2. Work at Your College

While colleges charge students tuition, it’s not always the same for college employees.

That’s right, you might be able to get a free college education by working at your college of choice. Even if you don’t get an entirely free college education, many colleges offer at least some degree of tuition assistance to those who help around the school.

3. Have Your Employer Pay

Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs, especially for areas of study related to their industry. For example, if you’re working for a medical clinic, your employer may pay all or part of your education to become a registered nurse.

Ask your employer (or future employer) if they offer tuition reimbursement (if you’re shy, read through the benefits online).

4. Secure Grants

By applying for FAFSA, you’ll find out if you qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.

But there are many more college grants available, and you can find them at Edutopia.org.

5. Apply for Scholarships

There are also scholarships available at many colleges, offered by generous donors. Talk with your college to see what scholarships are available. Check out a college scholarship guide to learn where to apply, and then apply for as many as you can!

You can also find scholarships through Fastweb.com, a database of scholarships that automatically matches scholarships with your Fastweb profile.

6. Find a Tuition-Free College

It’s surprising, but they do exist.

There’s a good list on U.S. News, although many of the tuition-free colleges require some kind of special condition – such as enrollment in a music program.

Barclay College is one example of a Christian institution that, upon acceptance into the program, gives all resident students a $11,000 full-tuition scholarship.

7. Try Fundraising

Are your friends and family extra generous? Try fundraising!

GoFundMe is a great way to fundraise that allows you to create your fundraising campaign, share it with family and friends, accept donations, and withdraw funds to your bank account (or you can request a check).

Many people use GoFundMe for their college fundraising campaign, and the website even advertises this as an option.

Also, you won’t have to worry about your donors getting charged anything extra beyond their donation amount. Other online fundraising services sometimes charge donors an extra fee. Instead, GoFundMe charges you a 5% fee from each donation you receive. That’s not bad, and would probably be made up by increasing donations through the use of their well-designed website.

Final Thoughts

Many who sign up for student loans end up paying those student loans for years to come. Even if you can afford to pay in cash, college can take a huge chunk out of your bank account.

You can go to college free of charge. Brainstorm your plan, work hard to achieve it, and be amazed at the results!

Are there any other ways to go to college for free? Leave a comment!

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18 Comments
  1. Mario

    You don’t necessarily have to commission through one of the service academies to get school paid for; you can also go through ROTC at an otherwise civilian college like I did 🙂

    • Allie

      Or enlist and use Tuition Assistance or the GI Bill

  2. Tiffany

    Moody Bible Institute in Chicago will also pay your tuition for 4 years through scholarships and sponsors, as long as you’re a full-time student. Find out more details at http://www.Moody.edu/Chicago/tuition You will have to pay some other fees, though, but tuition is a pretty big chunk. 😉

    • Carolyn

      I was just about to post a link to Moody. My daughter is currently attending MBI. It is a wonderful school with a strong reputation in most evangelical circles.

  3. Marianne

    I live in Norway, and here college and university is for free, also for foreign students. you are all welcome here 🙂 Quite a number of courses are in English as well.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/10/29/7-countries-where-americans-can-study-at-universities-in-english-for-free-or-almost-free/

    • Pamela Parker

      Thank you for this informative post!

  4. Janis

    There are also loan forgiveness programs that will greatly reduce what you owe. My husband (a teacher) will have his loans forgiven after 10 years of on time payments and is only required to make monthly payments of a fraction of the usual amount. Yes, he’s paying some, but after getting loans for both his bachelor and Master’s degree, it’s a very generous program.

  5. Wendy

    You also can get free schooling if you have a parent that works at the college you go to.

  6. C.K.

    Serve in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard reserves, and receive tuition assistance after you’ve trained for your specialty. In the state in which I live, annual tuition is set at the equivalent of a year at the largest state university (one of the Big 10 schools), so this is a great benefit. If you’re called into active duty, you would additionally qualify for the GI Bill and other federal programs as well. Yes, there is a chance you’ll get called to active duty, but 80% of military positions are non-combat, so choose a specialty that’s not combat-related.

    Also, if you join the military full-time, your college tuition will be reimbursed 100%, so you can earn college credits while serving full-time and then use the GI Bill to complete your education after your enlistment is complete. The Air Force has the largest community college in the U.S. and every enlisted soldier is automatically enrolled and given an opportunity to earn credits while in the USAF.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks for adding that, CK!

  7. Melanie

    These are all good ideas. The FAFSA determines what the federal government thinks that your family should be able to contribute (EFC-estimated family contribution) to the cost of attending (COA) college. This is based on income and property owned etc. The sad part is their estimation is often way off of what a family today can actually afford. My husband and I both work, and have saved, but our EFC was estimated at way more than we could afford especially with 2 more children to go-we have one in college now. I recommend that you start saving what you can when you can. Also, be honest with your kids and begin having conversations when your kids are young about everyone’s expectations. Our 2 older kids work, and are expected to pay for all out of pocket expenses once in college. Also, they have worked for good grades and have earned their BSA Eagle Scout awards. Colleges really do look at the whole picture when deciding on students and their financial award packages.
    Melanie @yayas2cents.com

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks, Melanie!

  8. Greg Szepanski
    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks, Greg!

  9. Lacy

    If you are in NY or want to attend school in NY, there is always the new Excelsior Scholarship program to look into. Not sure of the details but I plan to review it more closely.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks for sharing, Lacy!

  10. Michel

    Yes the idea of working for your college is definitely a brilliant idea IF you are patient. When I was in RVA, I worked in the office of admission full time and I had the opportunity to take 6 credits every semester free…Obviously it is going to take longer but if you plan on being there for more than 4 years, why not? However, you may not find what you want at your preferred college or work schedule may be a little tight to allow you to take the classes you want…I suppose you could enroll in their online program if they have it.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks for the comment, Michel!

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