Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

A college degree is almost a necessity for most working Americans aiming for a comfortable lifestyle. In fact, a bachelor’s degree is worth close to $3 million in wages over a lifetime, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.1 The question is how to get one without being crushed under a mountain of student debt. Here are some ways to find grants, scholarships, and other tuition benefits that will pay you, or at least repay you, for earning a degree.

How to Go to College for Free

1. Get Paid to Go to School

If you’re looking to go to school for free, know that there are many options and paths you can take to make this dream turn into a reality. In some cases, there are even some schools that pay you to attend, making for the ideal situation. It not only removes the financial stress of paying your way through school without any kind of student loans, but even provides you with an income as you study, to be able to save for you and your family’s future as you advance your career.

In order to get paid to go to school, you will need to first apply for federal financial aid with a free application form. In general, such a grant is given on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it is offered to students who demonstrate a great financial need. If you think that you may be eligible, then you have nothing to lose in trying!

If attending traditional college classes is not right or realistic for you, then there is always the option of online colleges. Traditional schooling can be a challenge for those that need to work and have families to take care of. That’s why many online universities will also pay you to attend and complete one of their accredited online degrees.

So where can you get paid to go to school? Southern New Hampshire University, Ashford University and Purdue University Global all offer financial help for those in need, including the option of getting paid to go to school. This will give you the chance to work while you study, go to college for free, and even get paid for your studies.

2. Look into Grants and Scholarships

Getting paid to go to school is only one of many options out there for those looking to go to college for free. There are also numerous grants and scholarships available for students in need. You are best off searching and applying for as many as you can. They generally don’t cost anything to apply, and the more times you try, the better your chances are!

It’s important to note that once you are already enrolled in a college program it’s generally easier to apply for grants and scholarships. Many businesses and philanthropists have made donations to colleges in order to offer more scholarships for minorities, low-income workers and single parents. A scholarship is an incredible gift that allows deserving students to go to college for free.

3. Consider Student Loans Cautiously

While student loans can sound very attractive and can help you get through school, make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing before you enter any potential debt or situation that you aren’t able to manage.

Student loans may sound like the best and only option for going to school in a difficult financial situation, but know that there are many other options out there.

Unlike scholarships, loans must be paid back, and often come with interest rates that increase more and more as time passes. Be sure to do your homework and look into all the ways to go to school for free before taking out a loan, including looking into schools that pay you to attend, scholarships and tuition-free colleges and universities.

A happy college graduate that studied tuition-free at University of the People.

4. Look into Tuition-Free Schools

Another great option to attend college for free is tuition-free colleges and universities. There are some schools that do not charge tuition, offering a degree for free if you meet certain criteria.

In some cases, you might have to be from a specific state or will have to work a certain amount of hours on campus to attend for free. Depending on what you’re looking for and what your specific interests are, there are no shortage of tuition-free colleges and universities out there with the goal of making education accessible to all. Education is a right that everyone is entitled to.

Here are all the tuition-free colleges and universities that can offer you an accredited degree without the financial stress:

  • Alice Lloyd College
  • Barclay College
  • Berea College
  • College of the Ozarks
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • University of the People
  • Deep Springs College
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Webb Institute
  • Williamson College of the Trades

5. Look into Online Tuition-Free Colleges and Universities

While studying on campus and having the college experience is attractive, it’s not always the most realistic option for everyone. For those who can’t commit to so many classroom hours, on top of the travel time that it comes with, there are options out there that will allow you to continue working and fulfilling your family commitments. Sometimes, just because college is free it still isn’t feasible for everyone, as it still requires a big time commitment.

Not only are there tuition-free colleges and universities that allow students of all economic backgrounds to go to school for free, but there are also online tuition-free colleges and universities that provide the same level of accreditation.

Such a path allows students to obtain a degree similar to one achieved in a traditional campus setting, just without a tuition fee and without the same kind of time commitment. This can help students achieve their educational goals in the most comfortable way.

Although there are far less online universities in comparison to traditional ones, they also offer the option of serving more students. These tuition-free online schools have certain credentials for acceptance, and are mostly based on financial need.

Here are some online tuition-free colleges and universities:

  • Arizona State University
  • University of The People
  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University

University of the People offers a wide range of accredited degree programs, including Business Administration with both undergraduate and master’s programs, Computer Science degrees, Health Science and Education degrees. All of these programs are online and are tuition-free, making earning a degree accessible to all.

The Bottom Line

Whether you decide to attend a tuition-free school, an online university, or get a scholarship at one of the schools that pay you to attend, there are plenty of options out there to go to school for free. Do your research and find out what’s best for you before you take out a student loan or give up on your career goals. Once upon a time, college was only for those who could afford it. Today, the whole game has been changed, and it’s been made accessible across the globe, offering equal opportunities.

Colleges That Pay You To Attend Uk

Do You Get Paid For Going To College In UK

Studying in the UK doesn’t come cheap. The cost of attending a college in the UK is relatively high and many students fear that they cannot afford the bill. So you might have asked yourself how do Brits manage to go to college?

This is mostly because many of you are not aware of many funding resources created in UK to help students ease their financial struggles. If you’re one of them, keep reading below as we present a complete set of information about student finance schemes in UK and ways these funds can be reached.

Literally, you don’t get paid to go to college in the UK. But you will receive plenty of financial support during your studies to cover education-related costs in the forms of bursaries, the majority of which don’t need to be paid back. Even if you claim a college student loan, then only a small rate of interest will be charged.

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The UK’s education authorities have created flexible student finance schemes to help students from different backgrounds get equal chances of following their education dreams.

Following the completion of the compulsory stage of education at 16 years of age, young Brits have two options ahead:

  • Start Working
  • Start College

Note that in UK there’s a difference between College and University as we explained in this article.

Some prefer to skip getting higher qualifications and land a good and hopefully long-term job. Some decide to take a step further in their education and seek a college or any other form of Further Education like training or courses which lead to specific jobs or apprenticeships.

The remainder decides to climb higher in the academic world and get an education which promises them an exciting and a much rewarding future.

Fortunately for those who take on Further Education, there are many attractive financial resources which can help to make the cost of college in the UK less overwhelming. Resourced by the national budget, these funding programs offer financial assistance for students by providing scholarships, loans and waiving fees.

Depending on where a British student is attending a degree, the following organizations are the first port to call in case financial assistance is needed

  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland
  • Student Finance England
  • Student Finance Wales
  • Student Finance Northern Ireland


There are several factors that determine your eligibility for a specific education fund in UK. Luckily, there are many of such funds available designed to match different students’ profiles.

Overall, your age, your nationality, your residential income, your physical disabilities, the type of your course you’re studying at, the country of Higher Education provider play an essential role.

That said, students of certain age categories can only request a fund which is specific to their age. For example, the UK students aged between 16 and 19 who are studying at a British college are eligible to apply for Education Maintenance Allowance (in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 16 to 19 Bursary Fund to fund their education.

Specific personal circumstances may also make a student eligible to seek education funds. An example of this is if a student is disabled and there are additional costs due to his/her disability.

As per the nationality, only home students and those coming from EU countries are eligible to seek education funds in UK. Note that this is due to change when UK leaves the EU on March 2019.

Keep in mind that some universities may individually offer student loans for their international students, but in most cases, a certain interest rate is charged.

Available Funds

Since every UK country runs its personal funding schemes for college students there are differences in terms of available funds.

Further Education students in UK may qualify for one of the following funding categories according to their personal circumstances

  • Learner Support
  • Residential Support Scheme
  • Care to Learn
  • Dance and Drama Awards
  • 16 to 19 Bursary Fund
  • Advanced Learning Loan

Depending on which of the above categories you’re included there are different bursary and loans you can claim.

Typically, college students in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland aged 16 to 19 are eligible to claim Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), whereas college students in England are eligible to claim 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

Moreover, college students in the UK are able to get funds to cover accommodation costs by claiming one of the followings

  • Residential Bursary Fund (RBF)
  • Residential Support Scheme (RSS)

How much can you get?

There are several factors that determine how much you’re eligible to receive, thus there’s not a fits-all-size answer. Overall, your age, nationality, your physical disabilities, the type of your course and the country of provider play role.

For example, if you fall into the categories of eligible students for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) you can get £30 per week intended to cover day-to-day costs like books and travel costs. In addition, you can receive two bonus payments of £100 if you achieve the goals agreed with your college.

Students of certain age categories may not be eligible for specific financial assistance. For example, students aged over than 60 years in England can only request a Special Support Grant, while students aged between 16 and 19 are entitled to other funding schemes.

Each UK country has its individual student finance office, which is in charge of operating with student loans and grants. Although they’re part of a larger body, to a larger degree they’re free to set their funding policies on their own. That said the criteria and how much students can get to cover their studies changes accordingly.

How to apply for College funds in UK?

To apply for a college fund, you must first reach the student help office in your further education provider because the application process is largely uniquely different at each college.

The application can also be submitted online through the Student Finance in the UK country where you’re studying at the moment. Usually, in such cases, you will need to create a personal account, specify the grant you want to take, your income and a proof of your identity.

Do I need to Give Money Back?

It depends on your personal situation. If you claim a loan because you’re facing temporary difficulties, for example, to pay your rent then money must be paid back. Note however that you will have to repay only after you graduate and earn above a fixed threshold (over £25,000).

10 online Colleges That Pay You To Attend

1. Berea College

Berea College

About College

Berea College was founded by reformers and abolitionists with the mission to purvey the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ. It is located in the Southern United State.

This free Christian college offers students with programs that are shaped by fairness, peace, love, and equality, and students are only required to pay an average price of $1,000 for meals, housing, and fees.

Otherwise, the entirety of an individual’s education is completely free! Over a four-year degree, students receive an education that is worth approximately $100,000

Geographical Location: Berea, Kentucky, USA.

2. Columbia University

Columbia University

About College

Columbia University has expanded its online learning offerings through various certifications, degree programs, and non-degree programs.

Currently, students are able to enroll into a variety of online programs which ranges from technical, social work, health technologies, environmental sustainability, and leadership to a variety of other professional development programs.

Geographical Location: New York City, New York, United States.

3. Athabasca University

Athabasca University

About College

Athabasca University (AU) is a Canadian university specializing in online distance education and one of four comprehensive academic and research universities in Alberta. Founded in 1970, it was the first Canadian university to specialize in distance education.

Athabasca University, CANADA’S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.

With over 70 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas and certificate programs and over 850 courses to choose from, Athabasca offers learning solutions tailor-made for your aspirations.

Geographical Location: Athabasca, Alberta, Canada.

4. University of Cambridge

University Of Cambridge

About College

The University of Cambridge offers online courses for free through iTunes U. Apple offers downloadable course materials from a broad selection of universities around the world for free, giving you the chance to learn what you want on your own time.

The university boasts that more than 300 audio and video files are now available for free download through the software, which you can access on a Mac or Windows computer as well as on Apple and Android mobile device.

Geographical Location: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom.

5. Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University

About College

As a private, Christian liberal arts institution located in the heart of Nashville, Lipscomb University is joyfully committed to developing students whose academic excellence, faith and practice reflect our ideas of global citizenship.

At Lipscomb Online, there are online undergraduate and graduate programs tailored to fit your career needs and busy schedule. Our academically challenging online degree programs help you identify and develop the skills you’ll need for your career, both now and into the future.

Geographical Location: Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.

6. edX


About edX

edX offers a total of 2,270 courses online in about 30 different subject areas. All of the courses are eligible to be audited for free and they come from schools such as Harvard, the Rochester Institute of Technology, MIT, the University of California, and many other universities around the globe. Over a thousand of them are self-paced but there are plenty of instructor-led options for those of you who would be interested in that instead.

You can sort classes by what level they are (introductory, intermediate, or advanced), browse by subject, and choose from 16 different languages.Some of the courses are credit-eligible.

Prices for credit-eligible courses range from $49 to $600, with the majority of them coming in at the minimum price. edX also features MicroMasters, Professional Certificate, and XSeries programs. These will all cost you money; however, every for-credit program offered through edX has a lower cost-per-course than traditional education.

Geographical Location: 141 Portland St., 9th Floor, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (main office).

7. Bethel University

Bethel University

About College

Bethel University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located primarily in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Founded in 1871 as a Baptist seminary, Bethel is currently a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and affiliated with Converge, formerly known as the Baptist General Conference.

Bethel University enrolls 5,600 students in undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs. It also offers online courses coupled with the financial aids it give to its scholars. These programs are composed of 90 majors in over 100 different areas of study, and are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Geographical Location:  Arden Hills, Minnesota, USA.

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Soutthern New Hampshire University

About College

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private university located between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire.

The university is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, along with national accreditation for some hospitality, health, education and business degrees.

With its online programs expanding, SNHU is one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States. SNHU offers a very good online program that perfectly suits your business career, coupled with its benevolent offer of financial aid, so that its students don’t owe arrears of debts.

Geographical Location: Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire, United States.

9. Barclay College

About College

Barclay College is a private college founded 1917 as the Kansas Central Bible Training School. In 1990, the College adopted it’s current name in the honor of the first Quaker theologian, Robert Barclay.

Barclay College offers online degree programs in criminal justice, business management, psychology, biblical studies, and christian leadership.

At Barclay College, online students are eligible for Barclay’s online scholarships and Federal Pell Grants. Barclay College also offer full tuition scholarship to dorm residents.

Geographical Location: Kansas, United States

10. University of the People

About College

The University of the People is an exclusively online university. It has its headquarters in Pasadena, California. It is one of the online schools that pay you to attend.

It boasts of being the only non-profit, tuition-free online accredited American university. Since its foundation in 2009, this free online school has enrolled more than 9,000 students from more than 194 countries across the globe.