These Tuition-Free Colleges Provide a High-Rate Education
New York City's Cooper Union (pictured) offers hopeful young artists, engineers, and architects a tuition-free education that's consistently ranked among the best in national polls. Technically, Cooper Union's tuition is $35,000 per year, but all students receive a full scholarship.
Cooper Union's reputation, both academically and financially, makes it very competitive. It has a 7% acceptance rate and its students rank comparatively high when it comes to winning awards and design competitions.
Curtis Institute of Music
Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music provides full-tuition scholarships to both graduates and undergraduates in an effort to ensure that "admissions are based solely on artistic promise." With an acceptance rate of 4%, Curtis accepts only enough students to maintain a symphony orchestra, piano classes and an opera program.
City University of New York Macaulay Honors College
With the belief that higher education should provide both "equity and excellence," Macaulay Honors College provides a rigorous and tuition-free education within the City University of New York network.
Macaulay Honor College's acceptance rate is 20% and a typical admitted student has a 4.0 high school GPA and SAT score of 1402. More than 60% of Macaulay's students are immigrants or the children of immigrants and 16% are first-generation college students.
Macaulay students also have a $7,500 fund by which to pursue research, service and internships, and they receive both a laptop computer and a cultural passport to New York City arts and cultural venues.
Deep Springs College
If you don't mind a little manual labor--and living on a working cattle ranch and alfalfa farm--Deep Springs College might be the place for you. It's an all-male, two-year liberal arts college located in the California high desert that provides a tuition- and fee-free education. Graduates from Deep Springs College have successfully transferred to schools like Harvard and the University of Chicago.
Tuition-Free Doesn't Mean Cost-Free
While the chance for a tuition-free education is enticing, there are still likely to be costs involved, for such things as books, school fees and health insurance. The Curtis Institute of Music estimates that students will need close to $20,000 per year to cover basic costs and fees. This number can be much higher when factoring in the cost of living near Cooper Union, located in Manhattan's notoriously high-rent Greenwich Village.
However, most schools have fees and most students will have some cost-of-living expenses along with tuition bills. All things considered, scoring a seat in a tuition-free class can be a great way to lower the cost of earning a college degree.