Is it possible to attend college for free?

There are 2 ways that I know of.

  • Get a ROTC scholarship
  • Get a full-ride scholarship

However to get either of this, you need a lot of luck and position yourself as a really good student not only academically.

Here’s a more realistic way to think about it… graduate from college with as little student loan debt as possible.

  • Step 1: Cut your college tuition as much as possible
  • Step 2: Save money in college
  • Step 3: Make money in college

This isn’t the most “revolutionary” way to think about graduating from college with as little student loan debt as possible but in a nutshell that’s how it works.

Circle #1:

There are 2 ways that I know of.

  • Get a ROTC scholarship
  • Get a full-ride scholarship

However to get either of this, you need a lot of luck and position yourself as a really good student not only academically.

Here’s a more realistic way to think about it… graduate from college with as little student loan debt as possible.

  • Step 1: Cut your college tuition as much as possible
  • Step 2: Save money in college
  • Step 3: Make money in college

This isn’t the most “revolutionary” way to think about graduating from college with as little student loan debt as possible but in a nutshell that’s how it works.

Circle #1: Cutting down your college cost

This is the circle that will determine you graduate from college debt-free or stuck paying off a student loan that will take you 20 years to pay off.

Graduate in 3 years

The slower you graduate, the more money you pay to the college and colleges love that! They want you to graduate in 6 years instead of 4 year because they get an extra 2 years of tuition from you.

Sad to say, most students actually do that. Apparently, 58% of students took 6 years to graduate for their bachelor’s degree.

Earn college credits in high school

Getting college credits helps you to reduce your college tuition by allowing you to graduate faster. If you graduate 1 year earlier that would mean a reduction of 1 year for your college tuition. Not only that, you get to save on your other college-related expenses for that year too.

That would be equivalent to $10,000, $20,000 or even $30,000 saved.

Use the 2-step graduation strategy

Start your college journey by attending a community college first. Use the credits you earned from your community college and transfer it over to a 4-year college.

According to Dr. Ronstadt, former vice president of Boston University, he estimates students can save anywhere from $6,800 to $35,000 in tuition and fees.

Get a college guarantee program

If you’re not confident that you’ll graduate in 4 years, this is your insurance policy to pay only for 4 years instead of the full 6 years if you graduate late. Not all colleges offer this so be sure to ask.

Maximise your financial aid

There are over 7 strategies that I know of here like sending all your siblings to the same college to drop your family’s EFC, don’t sell profitable investments at the wrong time, tax loss harvesting, income burning strategy and more.

Negotiate / “appeal”

Colleges are there to give you the least amount of financial aid possible to get you to enroll. Your job is to get as much out of them so you can drop your college tuition.

Circle #2: Save money in college

There are hundreds of posts like this all over the web. Just Google “ways to save money in college”.

Here are 5 just to give you some idea.

  1. Live with your parents or off-campus
  2. Rent or buy used textbooks (You can save $2,620 on this).
  3. Cook at home instead of eating out
  4. Use a $5 prepaid phone plan instead
  5. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry

Circle #3: Making money in college.

Here are 10 ways you can start making money for college.

  1. Tutoring ($12 to $17 per hour)
  2. Proofreading ($12 to $17 per hour)
  3. Offering cleaning and laundry services ($600 per week)
  4. Babysitting ($12 to $18 per hour)
  5. Dog walking ($15 to $60 per hour)
  6. Be an Uber driver ($650 per week)
  7. Do freelance writing ($30 per post)
  8. Design and sell t-shirts (There’s a story of how this person made $3,893 in 1 week)
  9. Be a transcriptionist ($15 to $25 per hour)
  10. Participate in focus groups ($50 to $150 per session)

There are over 60 more on my list and that’s probably too much to list here.

If you mess this up, you’re dead…

Don’t pick the wrong major and college. Don’t be stupid and go to a $100,000 school and your salary potential after you graduate is $30,000. The math doesn’t work.

Ask yourself…

  • How much do I have to take out to pay for this college?
  • Will the job prospect with this major allow me to pay back my loans in 5 years or less?

Use some common sense and think of that before you sign that paper. A lot of students take the “I`ll figure it out later” approach which is 1 way to dig yourself into a deep student loan debt hole.


This answer was partially taken from the $0 College Blueprint.

Having researched this issue over the last several years, the answer to this question is definitely "yes" but there are several caveats. Most top 30 schools (including the eight Ivy league schools) do not offer academic scholarships. Also, people need to distinguish between full tuition scholarships and "full rides," which cover not only tuition and fees but also room and board.

Students may be able to go to college for free if their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is zero and the school is willing to completely cover the student's Cost of Attendance (COA). Stanford, for example, will

Having researched this issue over the last several years, the answer to this question is definitely "yes" but there are several caveats. Most top 30 schools (including the eight Ivy league schools) do not offer academic scholarships. Also, people need to distinguish between full tuition scholarships and "full rides," which cover not only tuition and fees but also room and board.

Students may be able to go to college for free if their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is zero and the school is willing to completely cover the student's Cost of Attendance (COA). Stanford, for example, will not require a student to pay any tuition if the family's income is under 125k and that same student can get a "free ride" (tuition, fees, room and board) if the family's income is under 65k. Harvard and other Ivy league schools have similar programs. The problem of course is that Stanford's acceptance rate is sitting around 5% and students with non-affluent parents often find it impossible to rack up near perfect grades, test scores and extracurricular activities that many other candidates have at these schools.

Assuming that we are not talking about top 30 schools, the answer is that you can attend college for free but students wanting to do so must either be an academic superstar at the school or otherwise have a special talent or school that makes the student particularly attractive to a school.

In terms of academics, students can go to college without paying tuition (and sometimes can get a "free ride") if they are a National Merit Finalist. NMF designations come from placing in the top 1% on the PSAT, although students must submit an application, and show grades and an SAT score which "validates" the PSAT score. There are in fact dozens of major colleges and universities that offer full tuition or free rides for NM Finalists. To determine what schools offer such programs, you need to just look at the schools that are known to enroll the most NMF (and then ignore the top 20 colleges). While not comprehensive, Texas A & M, Oklahoma, Alabama and Minnesota are well known universities that are known to financially support NMF. Also, some major private universities, including USC and Northeastern, are known to offer very generous scholarships for NMF. In particular, USC offers 1/2 tuition scholarships to any admitted student who is a NMF. NMF are not guaranteed admission at USC but such students to be excellent candidates for admission.

Let me lead off by saying that nothing is free... "free" or not, someone is paying for whatever you are consuming. Now the question is, who do you want to pay for your stuff?

The wording of your question tells me that you don't think that you can manage getting full-ride scholarships to school. I have done a lot of things, I have managed to prove I can do well in college by maintaining a high GPA, and I have managed to get a fair amount of scholarships. Those scholarships don't even add up to a small fraction of my education and cost of living.

So what is next? Government funded (more co

Let me lead off by saying that nothing is free... "free" or not, someone is paying for whatever you are consuming. Now the question is, who do you want to pay for your stuff?

The wording of your question tells me that you don't think that you can manage getting full-ride scholarships to school. I have done a lot of things, I have managed to prove I can do well in college by maintaining a high GPA, and I have managed to get a fair amount of scholarships. Those scholarships don't even add up to a small fraction of my education and cost of living.

So what is next? Government funded (more correctly, taxpayer funded) education. You can go for financial aid and grants. But you will quickly find a hatred for cheap Ramen Noodles. This route, mixed with loans, will get you through college. However, I am never one to advise loans. They should be a last resort. A point of desperation. They will control your life and potentially be the start of lifelong hole.

Another option is to move to Germany, or elsewhere that pays for your education. But that could be more work than just working your way through school.

So then what is my advice? You said it in your question details... get over it. "It" being defined as "what other people have." It doesn't matter. If you actually care about "it" as you go through college you will make yourself crazy. Because I promise that most of your so-called peers will be... [pointless, angry rant not added] ...parentally funded.

So instead of giving you some empty advice about what I think you should do, I will just tell you what I did, starting at zero dollars. I joined the Marine Corps, I paid into the GI Bill (yes you pay into the GI Bill), then I boosted my GI Bill by paying more into it, then I got out and got a job. I saved money and I went off to college. Shortly after getting to college, I got a job in a bar, where I have worked as I attended school for a mechanical engineering degree. I applied to every scholarship I can find that I am sure is not a scam. When I started my GI Bill I researched it before making any rushed decisions and saved myself a lot of money by doing such research. Now I live comfortably and more importantly, pridefully, at the fact that I am going to school on my own. I think it should be stamped on my diploma.

But in the end... it doesn't matter. You just need to do, what you must to do, to get to where you want to go. If you don't want to work for it, then maybe it isn't what you really want.

Yes, be a high level student applying to a lower rated college. My son was offered a free ride including room, board, books, tuition and some payments to go to Georgia Tech which is a very good school. He attended MIT where he received virtually no financial support except Stafford loans. I paid the rest. My ex-wife, a pediatrician refused to pay a dime because he could have "gotten his education for free" and that "all schools are the same." She even refused to split the cost of his coming home for holidays. When she learned that he would therefore spend the entire holiday with me she d

Yes, be a high level student applying to a lower rated college. My son was offered a free ride including room, board, books, tuition and some payments to go to Georgia Tech which is a very good school. He attended MIT where he received virtually no financial support except Stafford loans. I paid the rest. My ex-wife, a pediatrician refused to pay a dime because he could have "gotten his education for free" and that "all schools are the same." She even refused to split the cost of his coming home for holidays. When she learned that he would therefore spend the entire holiday with me she decided to help with airline tickets. I know my son would have done very well at GA tech and gotten a good job, but the MIT name means more. He will receive his BS and MEng in 4 years on June 5. He starts at Apple at $150k plus tremendous benefits in July. I think the benefits are worth $25,000-$50,000 alone. Stock, options, free transportation, free meals, gyms, insurance, life insurance etc.

So I paid it forward to him. He worked hard and got his face squarely in front of the MIT fire hose. I had the money though it cost me my retirement. If I hadn't he could have gone to school for free at a huge number of schools, but he is a brilliant kid. I hate to admit it, but he may be smarter than I am.

You ask a question about free college education, but do you know why you need this education so much?

In our society so many people are convinced that without college degree they will not succeed in the adult life. It's only partly true. College degree gives the opportunity to choose better careers, to earn more money and to be a part of well-educated society. But without it, you still could be a smart and successful person - you can launch your own business, be talented musician or artist.

There are so many things you could learn on your own, without additional help from someone.

But if you're s

You ask a question about free college education, but do you know why you need this education so much?

In our society so many people are convinced that without college degree they will not succeed in the adult life. It's only partly true. College degree gives the opportunity to choose better careers, to earn more money and to be a part of well-educated society. But without it, you still could be a smart and successful person - you can launch your own business, be talented musician or artist.

There are so many things you could learn on your own, without additional help from someone.

But if you're strictly convinced that without a degree, you have no chance to enter your chosen career path, you should do something. Investigate, discover and search for available opportunities.

  • There are countries with free higher education for everyone/for students choosing programs in the local language (Germany, Norway, Czech Republic...) Think about this opportunity.
  • Besides, you could try to win grant or scholarship in your country. Yes, it's a piece of a hard work, but who said it would be easy?
  • There are many online programs available at online colleges and universities such as UoPeople - The world's first tuition-free online university. Check them out, think is this acceptable for you.

And remember, this is an adult life. You should think about your future on your own. Don't rely so much on advice from strangers, who doesn't know what you need and what could be the best choice for you.

Have excellent test scores and excellent grades; added bonus if your family is low-income. Depending on the school, that means anywhere from less than $120,000 (Ivies) to less than $50,000 (Pell).

You may be able to take advantage of in-state tuition discounts.

You are in Montana; most Western states will give you a tuition discount or have you pay the same rate as in-state. Lots of students qualify for Montana tuition waivers; see Free School Grants for Students in MT. If you are in a qualifying class, you get free tuition.

New Mexico’s Amigo scholarships are pretty generous; lots of Californian

Have excellent test scores and excellent grades; added bonus if your family is low-income. Depending on the school, that means anywhere from less than $120,000 (Ivies) to less than $50,000 (Pell).

You may be able to take advantage of in-state tuition discounts.

You are in Montana; most Western states will give you a tuition discount or have you pay the same rate as in-state. Lots of students qualify for Montana tuition waivers; see Free School Grants for Students in MT. If you are in a qualifying class, you get free tuition.

New Mexico’s Amigo scholarships are pretty generous; lots of Californians take advantage of that.

As a Montanan, you have an edge applying to East Coast universities and highly selective liberal arts colleges. You also have a much easier time qualifying for National Merit than someone from California or New York.

TLDR: Make less than $50,000, keep up your grades, select honors courses, prep for SAT and ACT.

There are six ways (and Bryce has hit on one)

Undergraduate:

  • Attend an elite private college and be Poor and the college will meet the complete financial need that the college perceives that you need.
  • Attend another college and receive a full merit scholarship (very few and the elite private colleges do Not offer merit scholarships)
  • Play a sport Very Well and receive a full athletic scholarship to play at the NCAA D-1 level (Ivy League does Not award athletic scholarships)
  • Have a parent that is a Professor at the college, and most colleges will provide free tuition for faculty members children at

There are six ways (and Bryce has hit on one)

Undergraduate:

  • Attend an elite private college and be Poor and the college will meet the complete financial need that the college perceives that you need.
  • Attend another college and receive a full merit scholarship (very few and the elite private colleges do Not offer merit scholarships)
  • Play a sport Very Well and receive a full athletic scholarship to play at the NCAA D-1 level (Ivy League does Not award athletic scholarships)
  • Have a parent that is a Professor at the college, and most colleges will provide free tuition for faculty members children at that college and up to half-tuition at another college. Some colleges will provide free tuition for a full time employee's children. For two people I know, that was part of their salary negotiation (MIT).


Graduate school:

  • Get a degree that requires a research thesis and the college will give you Free tuition and a stipend towards living expenses
  • Get a job, do very well, and have your employer pay for your graduate degree (typically a Masters with no thesis, but I have seen employers pay for a full PhD). If you work at a college then this is normal.

Realistically, no, not in the US. It’s absolutely impossible. Your expenses are:

  1. Opportunity cost - the money you aren’t earning by working
  2. Tuition - the cost you pay for academic programs
  3. Fees - whatever other costs the college or university imposes
  4. Living expenses - room, board, transportation, and related costs above what you would pay if you weren’t in school, since obviously you need to spend some money on this
  5. Books and similar expenses (computer, subscriptions, memberships, etc.)

Scholarships can cover a lot of #2 and #3, and sometimes the majority of #4. In rare circumstances, you can get #5

Realistically, no, not in the US. It’s absolutely impossible. Your expenses are:

  1. Opportunity cost - the money you aren’t earning by working
  2. Tuition - the cost you pay for academic programs
  3. Fees - whatever other costs the college or university imposes
  4. Living expenses - room, board, transportation, and related costs above what you would pay if you weren’t in school, since obviously you need to spend some money on this
  5. Books and similar expenses (computer, subscriptions, memberships, etc.)

Scholarships can cover a lot of #2 and #3, and sometimes the majority of #4. In rare circumstances, you can get #5 covered, but that’s exceptionally rare. There’s no realistic way to cover #1, because you could always work more hours.

In my experience as an advisor, I’ve seen two things that are both critical and often ignored: a small amount of family cash support (on the order of $500 a semester as being hugely impactful) and NOT having a car.

How can college be free? It can not be free. Nothing is free. Someone always has to pay. When people speak of college being free they are really saying someone else (besides themselves, of course) will pay for it. And that, friend, means the taxpayer.

In and of itself, this is not necessarily a bad idea. College costs are getting ridiculous and it is becoming more and more difficult for the average family to pay the costs. Student Debt is getting close to becoming a form of servitude. And no one quite seems to know what to do about it. Just saying education should be free is the talk of idealis

How can college be free? It can not be free. Nothing is free. Someone always has to pay. When people speak of college being free they are really saying someone else (besides themselves, of course) will pay for it. And that, friend, means the taxpayer.

In and of itself, this is not necessarily a bad idea. College costs are getting ridiculous and it is becoming more and more difficult for the average family to pay the costs. Student Debt is getting close to becoming a form of servitude. And no one quite seems to know what to do about it. Just saying education should be free is the talk of idealists and fools.

The devil is in the details. Who decides who will get ´free´ education? What will be the criteria for selecting those students? How will the cost of education be decided? How much does each college receive? All those people who want to wave a magic wand and declare education to be free ignore all this. The time, the effort, the cost and the bitter political fighting over free education will be very expensive to all of us.

There are a lot of options available for students on a budget to study abroad. There are many ways to curtail the costs related to higher education overseas

1 Scholarships

2 Opting for countries and universities offering subsidized education

3 Education loan (you will have to pay back)

Scholarships are generally provided on a merit basis , so all the top performers have a better chance of securing scholarships

Here are a few of the top countries that offer excellent education almost free of cost for international students:

  • Germany- Germany is one of the most highly developed industrial nations in th

There are a lot of options available for students on a budget to study abroad. There are many ways to curtail the costs related to higher education overseas

1 Scholarships

2 Opting for countries and universities offering subsidized education

3 Education loan (you will have to pay back)

Scholarships are generally provided on a merit basis , so all the top performers have a better chance of securing scholarships

Here are a few of the top countries that offer excellent education almost free of cost for international students:

  • Germany- Germany is one of the most highly developed industrial nations in the world and, after the USA and Japan has the world's third largest national economy. Only university administration fee is charged, which is exactly what we pay as annual fee in a DU college. VISIT https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN116/germany
  • Norway –all UG, PG and PhD level programs in Norway are absolutely free of cost, regardless of your nationality. But they demand you to do a proof of proficiency in the language. So in case you plan to apply, better start learning the language course just of 1 year VISIT https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN137/norway
  • Sweden - until 2010, Sweden had been one of the few European nations’ countries that had no tuition fees. Regardless of your nationality, Swedish taxpayers would foot the bill. Even though there are no tuition free universities in Swed which offer you free Higher education, except at some public universities. But then again, even that fee is affordable. Add this country to your higher education list that can enhance the perks of your living en anymore, but there are major of institutions which offer full scholarships (tuition waivers) for international students VISIT https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN136/sweden
  • France –another beautiful country in the country of Eiffel Tower and Paris! Tempting, isn't it?https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN113/france
  • Belgium - International students have to pay a minimal fee to study in Belgium, which doesn't cost at all and you will a exposure to a new culture and experience a totally overall different environment.https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN139/belgium
  • turkey - a multicultural country that act as a bridge between the west and east ,rich history and high standards of education . an ideal education destiny to enhance your capabilities and standards of livings. https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN124/turkey
  • Austria - Education in Austria is not tuition free, but tuition and fees is quite low! For EU/EEA nationals tuition is almost insignificant and for non European countries its <1000 Euro per semester. https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN144/austria
  • Czech Republic - Higher education here is free for all nationalities but free things come at cost i.e. The law here! You need to know the local language. And even if you want to study in English, a nominal fee of will suffice as tuition fee.https://www.abroadshiksha.com/Countries/CN119/czech-republic

Our Experts have assisted numerous students in securing admissions to free of cost universities , So can you.

We help our students in finding education loan opportunities making it affordable for them and their family

TO KNOW MORE VISIT www.abroadshiksha.com

  • Get a full-ride scholarship. The most obvious way to get college for free. Most elite schools in the U.S. don't offer full-ride scholarships based on merit, only based on financial need. However there are many smaller schools throughout the country that offer full-rides. You have to be a top student though.
  • Participate in a co-op program. You work half the time and go to school the other half. This will probably pay for your college completely if you can find good jobs for your work terms. It helps if you go to a top school and are top of class for finding a job.