Sweden, Germany, and Venezuela provide free college for their students, so why can't America -- which is, after all, "the land of the free"?
You might think it is not fiscally possible, but this list of 12 free college and university opportunities in the United States proves otherwise.
1. Alice Lloyd College becomes free after financial aid and grants are applied. Students participate in a 160 hour work-study program for a portion of this money. Candidates come from the 108-county area surrounding the Central Appalachian college.
2. Barclay College offers degrees in various ministries and Christian education. This Haviland, Kan., college has offered free tuition to all on-campus, full-time students since fall 2007.
3. Berea College provides free tuition and laptops in exchange for on-campus jobs. This liberal arts college in Kentucky admits students with high academic achievement such as an ACT score between 20 and 30.
4. City University of New York Teacher Academy awards free tuition and internships to students talented in math and science. Research opportunities and teaching experience local in middle and high schools are part of the program. A teaching position in a NYC school follows graduation.
5. College of the Ozarks, affectionately called 'Hard Work U,' allows students a free education in exchange for hard work so they can graduate without debt, and learn character. Apply only if you are in the top half of your graduating class, and have good ACT and SAT scores. Students should also demonstrate financial need.
6. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City has remained free for 150 years thanks to generous endowments. Of course, you need to get accepted first. Engineering students need a high GPA and SAT score. Art and architecture students must present a portfolio and complete entry projects that test their visual expertise.
7. Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia Penn. offers a free college education for the musically gifted. All accepted graduate and undergrad students receive merit based scholarships that covers tuition. Only 4% of students who audition are accepted.
8. Deep Springs College, in the desert of Inyo County, Ca., on the Nevada border, is a part college, part co-op where men live communally and govern themselves. If you can get into this odd little liberal arts college that admits just 13 young men a year, you won't have to pay a cent for anything. You will, however, need to be a hearty, hands-on, outdoorsy kind of person, as you will take part in running the school's farm. After completing this two-year program, graduates tend to get a free ride from an Ivy League college. The interview process includes ACT or SAT testing, applications, submissions of essays and book lists, transcripts, more essays, and a week-long visit for interviews. The students pick their new classmates.
9. United States Military Academies: Uncle Sam wants you and will pay for 100% of your college expenses if you have what it takes to get into one of its prestigious military academies. These schools include the U.S. Military Academy West Point, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. In addition to strong academics, students must be nominated by a U.S Senator or Representative, and pass rigorous fitness assessments and medical examinations. The trade off for free college is 5-9 years of service in the military and/or reserves after graduation.
10. University of the People, a new, online, global university only charges modest fees for final exams. Enrolled students access everything online and don't pay for tuition or study materials. They are still working on accreditation for the school, but it looks good. University of the People enjoys steady growth and backing of the United Nations.
11. William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY seeks top students from New York and around the world. High test scores are required to enter this liberal arts college as well as several essays. Students receive a computer, funds for research and internships, and cultural passport to NY entertainment venues.
12. Webb Institute requires all students at this Naval engineering college to complete a double major in Naval architecture and marine engineering. A rigorous high school course of study, high test scores, strength and agility are required for consideration to this program.
While some of these colleges still charge fees and don't cover room and board, you can't underestimate the value of an education devoid of student loans or hefty tuition bills, even if in exchange for hard work or time in the military.
And if none of these colleges appeals to you, look into state programs for scholarships and grants, and consider going to college overseas where tuition is much cheaper than it would be in the U.S. Just make sure you know the language of the country first.
Or, consider the School of Hard Knocks, which, last time we checked, always provides free admission.
College for free? Yes, free