2024 Best Colleges with Free Applications

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Applying for college can lead to plenty of costs, which is why it’s beneficial to know about colleges with free applications.

Best Colleges with Free Applications

Aside from submitting application materials, such as letters of recommendation and school transcripts, you’ll likely have to pay an application fee for most schools as well. There are some schools, though, that offer free applications to everyone, while others have specific conditions that you might qualify for.

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By being aware of these options, you could increase the number of schools you apply to without any added expenses, especially if you are looking for quick and easy colleges to get into.

Colleges with Free Applications

Colleges with Free Applications

When you’re applying for college, you may be required to pay an application fee as you submit your transcripts, references, and other application materials. Application fees are usually around $40 to $60. There are schools, though, whose application fees can reach as high as $80 or even $105.

Many schools charge application fees because it takes a lot of effort to screen college applicants and answer student inquiries. Students who pay application fees are more likely to take the process seriously instead of applying on a whim.

The downside of this is that the college admissions process can result in heavy costs for students, to the point that some may choose not to apply just because of the application fees.

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It’s typical to apply to more than three colleges, but the costs can add up.

For example, if you have an average of $45 per university, that’s already $180 for four universities, just to apply.

To address this, there are schools with no application fee required. There are also some schools that typically have application fees but offer fee waivers if you fit certain criteria.

How Do You Choose Colleges with No Application Fee?

Colleges with No Application Fee

If you’re considering a college without application fee requirements, here are some key points to look out for:

  • School credentials. If you want a high-quality education, it’s necessary for the college to be accredited. It’s also a good sign if the college has a long history, good rankings, and faculty members with impressive credentials.
  • Costs. Even for colleges with free applications, tuition can vary widely, and there may be hidden costs. For example, you may be charged extra for certain online resources or textbooks.
  • Coursework. Does the program’s coursework match up with your interests? Are the study materials and textbooks updated?
  • Class format. Some programs offer completely online college classes, while others follow a more hybrid format, with a mixture of online and in-person classes.
  • Student support. Does the college offer plenty of student support, such as career services, tutoring, technical help, or internship opportunities?

There are many universities with no application fees that do well in all of these criteria.

Eligibility for Colleges Waiving Application Fees

Colleges With Application Fees

Here are some possible eligibility requirements for an application fee waiver:

  • You already have a fee waiver for the SAT or ACT.
  • You’re part of the National School Lunch program.
  • You live in government-subsidized housing, such as a foster home.
  • Your family’s yearly income meets the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s eligibility guidelines.
  • You’re in a government program that gives aid to students from low-income families.
  • You’re an orphan or ward of the state.

You can ask for a letter from a community leader, financial aid officer, school counselor, principal, or another qualified person to explain your financial situation.

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Some colleges that waive application fees have their own criteria, such as attendance at an official college visit. There are also free application months, weeks, or days for some schools, usually in October and November.

List of Colleges with Free Applications

The following colleges and universities do not charge a college application fee.





























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Getting Your Degree in College Online

online colleges degree

There are many ways to try and lessen the financial costs of college, from government financial aid to free college applications. Even many of the best online degree programs have lower tuition rates since you’d be using fewer of the school’s facilities.

Another way to possibly lower your college cost is to look for online colleges that offer laptops as part of their financial aid packages.

It’s also beneficial to attend a school that’s accredited to ensure you receive a credible, high-quality education.

By researching accredited schools, you can better determine which ones best align with your interests and future goals.

Ready to start your journey?
Ima Ocon
Ima holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Ateneo de Manila University, with a minor in Philosophy. She also participated in the Global Summer Program at Singapore Management University. Currently, she is pursuing a graduate certificate in counseling.