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How to Go to College for Free

Receiving a college education may be the single most important accomplishment that one may achieve in their entire life time.

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College is expensive, but you can actually go for free if you want to, believe or not.  Going to college for free does require a lot of planning and effort on your part, yet it will be rewarding knowing that you have zero debt.  Here is what you need to do in order to go to college for free.

- Tuition free colleges

There are a number of colleges all over the country that are officially tuition free.  This means that all of their students will receive scholarships or grants to cover the cost of attending the institution, but they may still have to pay for their living expenses.

Berea College – It is a small liberal arts college located in Kentucky and they automatically offer all admitted students full scholarships that cover their tuition and fees for four years. The institution also helps some students pay for room and board by providing work study programs.

Webb Institute – The Webb Institute is a small undergraduate institution in Glen Cove, New York that offers students a solid education in engineering and naval architecture.  They offer all students full scholarships to cover their tuition for for all four years, but students will be responsible for room and board.

Curtis Institute of Music – This is one of the best music conservatories in the country and they provide full scholarships to all of their students, whether they are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs.

Cooper Union College – One of the most prominent institutions in the city of New York, it gives all students full scholarships and the choice to major in fine arts, architecture, or engineering.

- Grants

Grants are given to students on the basis of many different factors, but you do not have to pay them back and the requirements are not usually as high as those of scholarships.  There are usually state grants available that are based on your income level and amount of financial need.  If you look beyond that, you will be able to find thousands of grants offered by various nonprofit organizations and companies.  Definitely ask your guidance counselor if there are some that they can recommend to you and then start to search for them independently online or through the use of books and library resources.

- Scholarships

Scholarships are often available from nonprofit organizations and they usually require that you continue to perform up to their standards in order to receive funding each year.  You can buy books that have detailed listings about scholarships all over the country or you can simply find them by searching online.  You should apply to as many as possible because that will increase your chances of winning.

- Work study program

Most colleges allow students to participate in the Federal Work Study program, which provides jobs on campus to students in order to help them pay for their college expenses.  The main benefit to this program is that you will have a job conveniently located on campus, a decent wage, and hopefully a positive job reference to list on your application.

- Earn high test scores and grades

If you are serious about getting a free college education, then it is essential that you try your very best to earn high grades and test scores.  The only way that you will qualify for many of the grants and scholarships is to have at least a 3.0 GPA and above average scores on the ACT or SAT exams.  You may still have a chance even if you have less than stellar grades, but that will limit your opportunities.

- Live at home or with a room mate

If you are attending a local college, then you can probably live at home to save money on room and board.  Room and board expenses at most institutions will can cost roughly $5,000-$10,000 per semester, so it is best to avoid that if you can.  Sometimes you can try to find an apartment and live with a roommate if you will be attending college in a different location.

- Tuition reimbursement programs

Tuition reimbursement programs provide college funding to employees at the company.  It may cover the entire tuition bill or just a percentage of the costs and every company handles it differently.  Some companies will only support certain types of college programs or they may require that you maintain a certain GPA.  Check with your company to see if they offer anything like that and inquire about what you can do to qualify.

Avoiding the trap of student loans will keep you head and shoulders above your counterparts, so definitely take the time get all of the funding you are eligible for.