15 Homeschool-Friendly Colleges that are Tuition FREE!

How would you like to attend college for FREE? Tuition-free colleges – also known as full-scholarship colleges – are one of higher education’s best-kept secrets. Colleges that do not charge tuition are made possible through large endowments by benefactors, donations from alumni, government funding, and/or investments in real estate. These include several of the best colleges in the nation. Many of the campuses have long histories dating back to the 1800’s, although at least one was established in the past decade.

In some cases the student will have to work part time for the school or be willing to enlist in the military, but for others no work requirement is involved. You may still have to come up with room and board or other expenses, but having the free tuition saves thousands of dollars. In most cases, Federal financial aid and outside scholarships can be applied to lower any extra costs, allowing you to graduate from college with little or no debt. Of course, you must be accepted into these schools in order to be eligible; and most of them are highly selective and extremely competitive. But if you meet the admission qualifications, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try! All of them are open to homeschoolers.

Alice Lloyd College (Pippa Passes, KY) – Alice Lloyd is a four-year liberal arts college with a guaranteed tuition policy for residents of 108 rural Appalachian counties. Full-time students from within this territory will have the cost of their education met by a combination of grants, scholarships, and required participation in the Student Work Program. The school is located in a “dry county” dating back to the Prohibition era which means that alcoholic beverages are prohibited in that part of the state. Alice Lloyd was ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2009. Applicants must score at least a 17 on the ACT or 430 verbal and 400 math on their SAT. They must have at least a 2.25 GPA (grade point average) in pre-college curriculum courses. Of the 1,365 students who applied in 2007, 43% were accepted. This college is known to have admitted homeschoolers. Estimated value of tuition: $7,000 per year. Website: www.alc.edu

Barclay College (Haviland, KS) – Barclay is a Bible college with an emphasis on Christian life, service, and leadership. Many homeschool students have found a warm welcome and inviting community at Barclay College. Some of the college staff are homeschool parents, so the unique aspects of homeschooling are understood and appreciated on the Barclay campus. The college has the same admissions requirements for homeschool students as for all others – documented completion of a high school curriculum with a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 or higher, and scores of 500 or better on the SAT verbal test or 18 or better on the ACT English test, which is the preferred exam. The student’s course of study can be documented with a portfolio or transcript, and a graduation date should be included. If grades are not used, work samples can be used to determine achievement levels. The academic office will be very happy to help homeschool parents prepare records. Students must also submit a statement of faith and references. Homeschool students who do not meet the normal admissions criteria may be considered for admission on a conditional basis. Of 182 applicants for the class of 2013, 51% were accepted. Through the Home College program, interested students can select from more than 30 courses and can earn up to 30 hours toward a degree without ever leaving their homes. Students can also receive up to 30 hours credit by examination through the CLEP and DANTES programs. Since 2007, Barclay College has awarded a yearly tuition scholarship to all full-time on-campus students.  Estimated value of tuition: $8,000 per year. Website: www.barclaycollege.edu

Berea College (Berea, KY)Berea College is a four-year Christian liberal arts college offering degrees in 28 fields including Language Arts, Math, History, Philosophy, Religion, and Speech Communication. This was the first interracial and coed college in the South, and today it is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number one comprehensive college in the South. Thanks to a large endowment, every student admitted receives a full-tuition scholarship valued at more than $90,000. Room, board, and books are not covered, but the work-study program enables students to lighten their financial load even more. All students are required to work at least 10 hours a week in one of more than 140 departments. Of the 2,083 students who applied in 2007, 28% were accepted. The majority of applicants have limited financial resources and come from Appalachia. Applicants are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.0. Most students score between 20 and 30 on the ACT or between 1410 and 1980 on the SAT. This college has admitted homeschool applicants. Chris Backe, author of The Homeschoolers Guide To College, received his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Berea College in 2004. Website: www.berea.edu

College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, MO)College of the Ozarks is a Christian liberal arts college with strict chapel requirements and dress codes offering bachelor’s degrees to students who are found worthy but who have financial need. One of the top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and one of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2009, College of the Ozarks was Number 4 on the Princeton Review‘s list of Top 10 Stone-Cold Sober schools in 2008. College of the Ozarks is nicknamed “Hard Work U.” Students are required to work at least 15 hours a week on a farm or at a campus work station in exchange for free tuition. They can also work summers if they want room and board covered. Students are graded on their work performance in addition to their academics. Ninety percent of each entering class must demonstrate financial need. Students should be in the top half of their graduating class and have at least a 19 on the ACT or a 910 on the SAT. Of the 2,728 students who applied in 2007, 12% were accepted. The college is known to have accepted homeschooled applicants. Estimated value of tuition: $15,900 per year. Website: www.cofo.edu

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (New York, NY)Cooper Union is a school for students pursuing degrees in architecture, art, engineering, and humanities/social sciences. Its mission reflects founder Peter Cooper’s fundamental belief that a high quality college education should be as “free as air and water” and should be available to all who qualify, independent of race, religion, gender or social status. For 150 years, the college admitted students based on merit alone and provided each with a full-tuition scholarship. [Starting in the Fall of 2014, all students enrolling for the first time at Cooper Union receive a half-tuition scholarship currently worth $22,275.00 per year.] Applicants need to submit a portfolio and complete a home test of six or seven projects. Architecture applicants are accepted based on their academic achievement and a home test evaluation. Engineering students are admitted based on their high school average, SAT scores, and other math or science exams. Cooper Union is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, and its alumni win a vastly disproportionate share of the nation’s most prestigious awards. Even with an acceptance rate generally below 10% (although both the art and architecture schools have acceptance rates lower than 5%), the college has admitted homeschooled applicants. Estimated value of tuition: $130,000 $90,000. Website: www.cooper.edu

Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA)Like the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute is considered one of the most prestigious performing arts conservatories in the world. Unlike Juilliard, tuition at Curtis is free. Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise. However, admission is highly selective and extremely competitive. Besides singers, pianists, organists, conductors and composers, only enough students are admitted to fill a single orchestra. Accordingly, enrollment is approximately 160 students. All piano, harpsichord, composition, and conducting majors are loaned Steinway grand pianos. As part of their training, students at Curtis host over 100 public concerts each year, and receive one-on-one instruction from the musically accomplished faculty. The school seeks students with strong musical aptitude who want to pursue a professional music career. Students must submit an application and schedule an audition at the school. According to statistics compiled by U.S. News & World Report, Curtis has the lowest admission rate (4%) of any undergraduate institution of higher education in the United States. Oliver Aldort, an accomplished young musician who was homeschooled all his life, was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in the Fall of 2011. For the 2018-19 school year, the annual value of the tuition scholarship is $43,590. Website: www.curtis.edu

Deep Springs College (Big Pine, CA)Deep Springs is an all-male two-year liberal arts college with a focus on academics, labor, and self-governance. Students have a say in what subjects to study, what professors to hire, and even what applicants to admit. This school is located on an isolated cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in the Inyo-White Mountains of California’s High Desert. Required manual labor ranges from washing dishes to milking cows. The school offers just 26 students at a time the opportunity to study for free including tuition, room, and board – an estimated value of over $50,000. Students need only pay for travel, books, and incidentals, which are estimated to be less than $2,800 per year. Applicants must take the SAT or ACT and complete a two-stage application that includes essays, transcripts, test scores, a book list for the past year, and a list of favorite books with explanatory descriptions. In lieu of an official transcript, homeschooled students can include a list of courses taken during high school. Those that make it to the second round are asked to write three additional essays, pay a four-to-five day visit to the school for interviews, and complete an optional creative supplement. Of the approximately 200 students who apply each year, only 10-15 are admitted. Many Deep Springs students transfer to prestigious schools such as Harvard and Yale to complete their degrees. Deep Springs College was founded by Lucien Lucius Nunn, an electrical engineer and power plant pioneer who would recruit young men of character to work for him in exchange for a unique in-house education. Deep Springs admitted its first class of 20 in 1917. Website: www.deepsprings.edu

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Needham, MA) – Olin College is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #6 college for undergraduate engineering programs. Olin was founded in 2002 on the premise that financial considerations should not stand in the way of an excellent engineering education. This means that family finances are not considered when making admission decisions. The estimated value of tuition: $80,000-$130,000. However, due to the ongoing economic downturn, Olin has had to reduce its full-tuition scholarship by 50 percent beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. All accepted students will receive the Olin Scholarship which pays for half tuition. However, Olin is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of families seeking financial aid and restoring the scholarship to 100 percent as soon as financial conditions allow. The Class of 2014 would be able to benefit from this change if it comes to pass while they are still enrolled. Olin College looks for students with a strong calculus and physics foundation. Applicants are asked to take either the SAT or ACT, along with two SAT subject tests in math and science. Olin does not accept AP credits. The college is homeschool-friendly, but they do ask homeschooled students and their parents to fill out the “Homeschool Supplement to the Secondary School Report” to give a concise picture of their homeschool environment and curriculum. Of the 1,054 students who applied in 2007, 11% were accepted. Website: www.olin.edu

Saint Louis Christian College (Florissant, MO) – Saint Louis Christian College (SLCC) is a private four year undergraduate Bible college accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. For 50 years, SLCC has been equipping Christians for ministry. While preparation for vocational ministry is the dominant focus of its academic programs, the college is equally concerned that students mature into Christians who will minister to the world around them, regardless of their vocation. The Ministry Advancement Program (MAP) is an academic requirement for all SLCC students that puts you out in the field for practical hands-on ministry and community service activities. Since the 2005-2006 school year, the college has guaranteed full-tuition scholarships for all full-time traditional students who live in campus housing, complete a FASFA and have a qualifying GPA, as well as half tuition scholarships for full-time commuter students. SLCC is homeschool-friendly, with small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio (11:1) that encourages personal interaction and attention. The faculty are not only capable scholars in their fields, they are leaders in area churches and models of effective ministry that students consistently rate as the most valuable asset of the college. At SLCC, you will be challenged to make ministry a part of your life. Website: https://stlchristian.edu

Webb Institute (Glen Cove, NY)Webb Institute is a private Honor Code college offering every eligible enrolled student a four-year, full-tuition scholarship with a double major in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Estimated annual value of tuition: $28,000 per year. Students are required to live on campus for all four years and must pay for room and board, books, and various fees. There is a mandatory winter internship period where students work in the maritime industry and get paid a salary during each of their four years of study. Webb is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #2 college in the Engineering category. The Webb student body typically numbers around 90, with 20% being female. The school looks for applicants with a strong engineering background. Students must have at least a B average in physics, chemistry, and mathematics, as well as strong grades in other subjects. The average SAT score for students is 1370 out of 1600. Of the 102 students who applied in 2007, 31% were accepted. Webb Institute is known to have accepted homeschooled applicants. Website: www.webb.edu

U.S. Military Academy (West Point, NY)
U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO)
U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD)
U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London, CT)
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, NY)
Homeschoolers who are willing to serve time in the military should consider one of the five U.S. Service Academies. These government-funded institutions pay all expenses including tuition, room and board for four years. Students also receive a monthly stipend. However, the military does expect a commitment of five to ten years of service in return. Homeschoolers have been admitted to each of these academies. Applicants must complete a physical fitness test, a medical examination, and either the SAT or ACT. In addition, applicants are required to obtain a nomination from a U.S. Senator or Representative. Other requirements vary by school. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is considered by some as offering the finest education in the land. The Military Academy and Naval Academy each have acceptance rates between 14% and 15%, while the Air Force Academy accepts about 19% of its applicants and the Coast Guard Academy accepts 24%. Estimated value of tuition: $187,000 over four years at the West Point Military Academy. Websites:
www.usma.edu (U.S. Military Academy at West Point)
www.usafa.af.mil (U.S. Air Force Academy)
www.usna.edu (U.S. Naval Academy)
www.cga.edu (U.S. Coast Guard Academy)
www.usmma.edu (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy)

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