Photo courtesy of Webb Institute
Location: Glen Cove, New York
Tuition price: Tuition is free for all admitted U.S. citizens and green card holders. This does not include room and board.
Value: $45,500 per year
How they do it: The Webb Institute finds much of its funding through endowments, but it also saves money by offering only 2 select majors. At this engineering college, all students double major in naval architecture and marine engineering and take on a "winter work" internship every year that provides them with real-world experience in the maritime industry. The result is an extremely focused education that lands jobs for 100% of Webb's graduating class.
Others like it: The Webb Institute isn't the only school that saves money by limiting its academic offerings. Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia provides full-time students with a scholarship for all 4 years. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, and Cooper Union in New York City provide half-tuition scholarships for all students.
Photo courtesy of Macaulay Honors College
Macaulay Honors College
Location: New York City
Tuition: It's free for in-state residents. All Macaulay enrollees also receive a laptop and $7,500 in "opportunity funds" that can be used for research projects, study abroad programs, internships and service initiatives.
Value: $6,330 per year for in-state students
How they do it: Limited to top-performing students, Macaulay Honors College is part of a much broader City University of New York college network. Students here not only receive financial help with their studies, they also get the opportunity to enroll in classes on any of CUNY's 8 institutions throughout the Big Apple.
Others like it: Many schools waive tuition or provide full-ride scholarships for top academic performers, though eligibility requirements vary between institutions. Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, has scholarships starting at $32,000 reserved for students in the top 5% of their class who pass a personal interview and score at least 1400 on the critical reading and math sections of the SAT or 31 on the ACT. Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas, also grants a one-year full-tuition scholarship to valedictorians from accredited Texas high schools. Many other institutions, including the University of Alabama and the University of Kentucky, offer smaller awards to every student who meets certain academic benchmarks.
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Photo credit: Barry Anders
Location: Haviland, Kansas
Tuition: Free tuition for all full-time, on-campus residents. Full-time, off-campus students receive partial scholarships.
Value: $12,500 per year, not including room and board
How they do it: This incredibly small Christian college only caters to students who know they want to work in pastoral and religion-based professions. Limited to a couple hundred students, this campus focuses on keeping its community cohesive and keeping its expenses low. On top of keeping up with classes, students here are also required to complete 96 service hours in order to graduate.
Others like it: Armed with a substantially larger student body, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, offers half-tuition scholarships to all students who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.