10 Best Tuition Free Universities in The USA to Study

Hello there, are you a high school graduate looking to pursue higher education in the United States? Have you considered the option of studying in the US for free?

I’m excited to let you know that there are universities in the US where you can study for free or at a significantly reduced cost.

In this article, I have compiled a list of the top ten universities in the US that offer tuition-free education.

What are the Academic Requirements to Study in the USA?

Below are the criteria that you need to satisfy to be able to study in the USA:

  • English proficiency test (IELTS and TOEFL )
  • Official academic transcripts
  • 2-3 Letters of Recommendation from teachers or professors.
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • ACT / SAT scorecard
  • Personal essay
  • Proof of funds availability for one year of tuition fee.

What are the USA Application Times?

  1. The Fall Season

Applications for USA Fall Semester 

  • Admission starts in late August and ends in late December or early January.
  • Scholarships and jobs opportunities are also available at their peak during this season.
  1. The Spring Season

Applications for USA Spring Semester 

  • Admission and the spring semester start in January and ends in early May.
  • Fewer scholarships and job opportunities are available at this time.
  1. The Summer Season

Applications for USA Summer Semester 

  • The summer season starts in June and ends in July. It is the shortest of all seasons.
  • There is the provision of special programs during this season.

Top Tuition-Free Universities in the USA

1. University of Houston

Established in 1927, the University of Houston (UH) is a public research institution that serves as the main campus of the UH system. As the third-largest school in Texas, it is also one of the universities in the US that offer tuition-free education.

This is made possible through the Cougar Promise, a program that selects eligible students. To be considered, you must be a first-time, full-time university student and a Texas resident.

Additionally, the University of Houston offers tuition-free education to students from families with an annual income of less than $65,000.

Moreover, applicants from families with a yearly income ranging from $65,001 to $125,000 are eligible for percentage discounts. UH’s academic framework comprises various colleges, including the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Social Science, Natural Science & Mathematics, Architecture, Hotel & Restaurant Management, Law, Arts, Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Social Work, Technology, and Medicine.

2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Founded in 1867 as a public land-grant institution, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is recognized as a “Public Ivy,” offering education of similar quality to Ivy League institutions at a more affordable price, and even tuition-free education in some cases.

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As one of the leading tuition-free universities in the US, the University of Illinois provides free tuition for four years to in-state students as well as students from families with an annual income of $67,100 or less.

Nonetheless, the admission process at the University of Illinois is highly selective and competitive, especially for Engineering majors, as a high GPA and SAT/ACT scores are required for admission.

The University of Illinois features 15 academic colleges that provide over 150 undergraduate and 100 graduate programs. These 15 colleges encompass various fields, including Agriculture, Information Science, Medicine, Liberal Arts & Science, Business, Health Science, Law, Education, Fine & Applied Arts, Engineering, Media, Social Work, Aviation, Labor & Employment Relations, Veterinary, and Medicine.

3. Virginia State University

Virginia State University (VSU) is a public land-grant institution that was established in 1882 as the first state-supported school for African American students. The university is located in Ettrick, Virginia.

Moreover, VSU is among the tuition-free universities in the US and has introduced a program that provides free tuition to eligible students living in close proximity to the campus. Interested students can apply for this fantastic funding opportunity via the Virginia College Affordability Network, which seeks to address students’ needs related to access and completion.

It’s important to note that graduates of Colonial Heights, Petersburg, and Matoaca High Schools are given priority for the scholarship program. However, applicants from other high schools are also eligible to apply for the scholarship.

In addition, Virginia State University’s degree programs are divided into various schools, including Engineering & Technology, Natural Science, Education, Agriculture, Business, Humanities & Social Science, and Graduate Studies. The university currently enrolls around 4,700 students across different departments.

4. Washington State University

Washington State University (WSU) is a public research university located in Pullman, Washington. The university was established in 1890 and is one of the first land-grant schools in the Western United States.

WSU has multiple campuses, including Spokane, Tri-cities, Everett, and Vancouver in Canada. The university is organized into several schools, including Arts & Science, Business, Communication, Nursing, Pharmacy, Agricultural & Natural Resource, Education, Engineering & Architecture, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.

WSU has gained global recognition for its outstanding academic programs in Engineering and Veterinary Medicine, contributing to its status as one of the top public universities in the United States.

Moreover, WSU is among the best tuition-free universities in the USA, providing free tuition to students from low to middle-income families. The university covers the remaining tuition balance and other fees not covered by the Washington College or Pell Grants.

Usually, the offer is renewed for three more years or a total of 8 continuous semesters.

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5. East Tennessee State University

ETSU, which was founded in 1951, is a research-oriented institution located in Johnson City, Tennessee.

ETSU is one of the tuition-free universities in the USA and provides free tuition to new full-time freshman students who have been awarded either the Tennessee Student Assistance or the Tennessee Hope Lottery Scholarship.

This scholarship covers the tuition and program service fees of the eligible students, but does not cover other fees such as accommodation. It is important to note that this scholarship is only available to Tennessee residents.

ETSU provides a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including Clinical & Rehabilitative Science, Business & Technology, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Arts & Science, and Public Health.

ETSU also offers exclusive degree programs such as Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music, and Appalachian Studies. Moreover, ETSU is the only university in the United States that provides a Master’s degree in Storytelling.

7. University of the Virgin Islands

The University of Virgin Islands (UVI), established in 1962, is located in the beautiful islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. It is recognized as one of the 101 historically black universities in the USA and is also a land-grant university.

UVI provides a liberal arts curriculum that includes various course programs such as Business, Education, Humanities & Social Science, Nursing, and Science & Mathematics.

To offer engineering courses, it collaborates with American universities like the University of Florida and Washington University, St. Louis. Additionally, it partners with Boston University to provide courses in medicine.

UVI, known as one of the best tuition-free universities in the USA, provides free tuition to residents of the Virgin Islands, regardless of their family income, age, or graduation date.

To qualify for the free tuition, students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.50, otherwise, the scholarship may be revoked.

Additionally, after graduation, recipients are required to work in the island chain for a specified period as a form of repayment for the assistance provided by the university.

7. Middle Tennessee State University

Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is a public university located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It has six colleges: the Colleges of Basic & Applied Science, Liberal Arts, Media & Entertainment, Behavioral & Health Science, Education, and Business, offering over 300 course programs across 35 departments.

Additionally, MTSU is known for its distinctive programs in Concrete Industry Management, Recording Industry Management, and Flight Dispatch.

Furthermore, MTSU offers free tuition to newly admitted full-time, Tennessee-based residents who have received the Pell Grant or the HOPE Lottery Scholarship.

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8. Clark University

Clark University, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a private graduate research institution that was founded in 1887 thanks to a grant from businessman Jonas Gilman Clark. It began accepting undergraduates in 1902.

Clark University, a private graduate research institution located in Worcester, Massachusetts, was founded in 1887 with a grant from businessman Jonas Gilman Clark.

While it started accepting undergraduates in 1902, it still offers free tuition to eligible residents of the University Park neighborhood in Worcester, who have lived there for the last five years. The scholarship covers four years, but the applicant must meet all the federal and state scholarship program requirements.

Clark University is well-known for its graduate programs, including the Graduate School of Geography, School of Professional Studies, Graduate School of Management, School of Psychology, and School of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Furthermore, The University has a Clark College, which serves as its liberal arts college that offers 32 programs.

10. University of Nebraska System

The University of Nebraska system, established in 1869, is a consortium of public universities that includes the University of Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney, as well as a 2-year technical college.

Being one of the leading tuition-free universities in the USA, it provides students from the three campuses with the opportunity to benefit from the Nebraska Promise program, which offers free tuition.

To qualify for this program, students must be full-time undergraduates and Nebraska residents with an annual family income of $60,000 or less.

To be eligible for the tuition-free program, you need to apply to the campus of your choice and fulfill the criteria mentioned above. Additionally, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your family’s income and eligibility.

To continue receiving the scholarship for the entirety of your studies, you must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5.

10. The University of Maine at Augusta

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), established in 1965, is a state institution located in Central Maine. UMA is currently divided into two academic schools: Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies, which together offer over 31 degrees and 37 educational certification programs.

Additionally, UMA is well-known for providing online undergraduate programs in the Information & Library Science field.

Through the Pine Tree State Pledge, it is possible to study at UMA for free. To be eligible for this program, you must have already received the Federal Pell Grant.


With the information provided, you are now more equipped to make an informed decision when choosing a tuition-free university to attend in the USA. We wish you the best of luck on your academic journey.


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