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Attending college without paying any tuition may seem like a tall order, an impossible dream. Reading about student loan debt is common. The more you read about it, the more it seems like all students who attend college take huge loans and graduate with massive debt. Unfortunately, what goes unmentioned is the number of students who attend college tuition-free and graduate debt-free. Yes, it is possible.

Some Of The More Prominent Colleges That Offer Free Tuition To Qualifying Students

  • Dartmouth offer free tuition to admitted students whose families earn less than $100,000 a year.
  • MIT offers free tuition to admitted students whose families earn less than $75,000 a year.
  • Harvard, Stanford, and Yale offer free tuition, room and board to admitted students whose families earn less than $65,000 a year.
  • Columbia, Cornell, and Brown offer free tuition, room and board to admitted students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year.

All of these colleges’ have very rigorous admission requirements but if you meet them, you will be one of the privileged students to attend college tuition-free and in some cases, completely free.

What about students who don’t meet the admissions requirements for these colleges? There is good news. There are several other ways you can attend college without paying anything towards tuition.

Work On Improving Your Academic Performance

Different colleges may have varying eligibility criteria but the one thing they all appreciate and reward is good academic scores. The better your performance and scores in high school, the more attractive your reward is likely to be. While some colleges offer scholarships or discounted tuition fees, there are many that offer tuition completely free of cost.

Depending on the school, your SAT/ACT scores may also be taken into consideration to determine whether or not you qualify for a full merit-based tuition.

Pay Your Way Through College With Scholarships

Scholarships are free money. All you need to do to get this free money is to look for opportunities that you qualify for and apply to them. Unfortunately, the majority of students do not look hard enough and end up taking unnecessarily hefty loans. Don’t make that mistake. Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes—from academic and athletic to weird and wacky. Take the time, make the effort and exhaust all possible resources looking for scholarships that you may qualify for.

Start with the internet, but don’t stop there in your search for free money. Businesses often offer scholarships to local students to encourage higher learner to members of their community. Check your local newspapers, make inquiries at local organizations and look up notice boards in your local library to discover these sources of free money. Ask your parents to check if their employer has a scheme in place that offers some scholarships to their dependents.

The beauty of scholarships is that there is no limit to the number you can apply for and accept so don’t turn down the smaller amounts. Every little helps. Your efforts may pay off big time and the total scholarships you win may just allow you to attend college tuition-free.

Don’t Forget About That Other Source Of Free Money—Grants

Applying for grants is another way to get free money towards your college tuition. The difference between scholarships and grants is that scholarships are merit-based (the criteria for each scholarship may differ but they are all based on merit), whereas grants are need based. Your financial need is taken into consideration to determine whether you qualify for a grant. For this you must fill out the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

When you fill out the FAFSA, you will be required to provide detailed information about your family’s income. This is used as the basis to calculate whether or not you are eligible for a grant and how much you are eligible for.

Apply to Work Study Programs

Several colleges have set up excellent systems that allow students to work on campus for a specific number of hours in exchange for free tuition. This is truly a great opportunity for anyone who can handle working about 15 to 20 hours a week without compromising on their course work. These kinds of work-study programs also help you gain valuable work-experience that can boost your job resume when you are looking for employment after you graduate.

The type of work you may have to do will depend on the college and the openings they have. Some colleges, such as the College of the Ozarks, offer interesting jobs. Possible work opportunities at this school include custodial work and dairy farming. Other colleges may offer jobs that range from hospitality and accounting to landscaping and data entry.

Serve Your Country

You can get a tuition-free education by demonstrating your patriotism and serving your country by joining the Military, Navy, Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard or Merchant Marine Academies after college.

Another option is to enroll in a Reserve Officer Training Corps or ROTC program. The service requirements may vary from one program to another but in general you must commit to up to 12 years after completing military training on campus. The exact number of years you must commit to depends on the branch of service you join. Not only do you get free education through this route but you are also guaranteed a job and can avail of several other opportunities for free education if you wish to study further.

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