Are there free colleges in the United States?

College can be such a great time in your life — making new friends, having new experiences, and moving out on your own for the first time. 

Unfortunately, for many Americans, it also means being saddled with student loan debt most of their lives. While you can file FAFSA® and apply for scholarships, most students still need the help of loans to complete their education.

So, you might be wondering, are there free colleges in the United States? Well, it’s complicated, and the best answer I can give you is, kind of

Where can you attend college, tuition-free?

Before we get into the where let’s discuss what tuition-free means. 

Tuition-free programs are available to students who meet specific eligibility requirements in individual states or at specific schools. Generally speaking, tuition-free programs cover tuition fees, but students are still required to pay for books, supplies and room and board. 

Now, for the who.

How to attend an Ivy League school “tuition-free”

Ivy League schools and other elite colleges are dedicated to having students of excellence enroll in their programs — that includes students who can’t afford the high tuition costs.

These schools have generous alumni and high endowments that allow students who demonstrate financial need to attend, without taking on mountains of debt. 

While I understand that this isn’t a viable option for everyone, it’s still an amazing opportunity for those who qualify. 

US Military Academies

US military academies are free for anyone accepted. However, these schools are very selective. Similar to Ivy League schools, it might not be a viable option for everyone.

Tuition-Free Community Colleges

19 states in the US offer free community college programs! However, the tuition-free programs are only available for full-time students that are state residents. But it’s important to note that eligibility requirements differ by state. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options out there for fully tuition-free college. However, you may be able to reduce your debt or improve the cost of your education by filing FAFSA® and applying for scholarships each year.

Have more questions about tuition-free programs or financial aid? The Frank Team is here to help! You can email us at or text us at (347) 690-7886.