Best Colleges With No Application Fee [Updated] - Best Value Schools

    Best Colleges With No Application Fee [Updated]

    February 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

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    Students often take the time to compare colleges and the cost of tuition, but do not consider a very important part of applying for college. College application fees can quickly add up and drain an individual on a budget. This likely leaves potential students disappointed and frustrated, particularly if they are not accepted at one or more schools after paying the application fee. Colleges with no application fee seems like the ultimate solution, but is not likely to happen anytime soon at some schools.

    The Benefits of Colleges with No Application Fee

    Did you know that if you apply to 10 colleges, that you likely have to pay an application fee to each school? What if you are not accepted at any of them? Competition is stiff these days, especially at some colleges and universities that accept only a small percentage of applicants. That means that if you pay a non-refundable $50 fee to apply to those 10 colleges, you have already paid $500 even though you were not accepted at any of the schools.

    Colleges with no application fee requirements look for qualified student applicants the same as the schools with the big names and high application and tuition costs. One difference is that schools with free college applications are probably more likely to accept a higher percentage of applicants. That means that you are potentially less likely to receive a rejection, and more likely to start on your path to education and career success.  

    Some students or their families simply do not have the money to keep applying to one school after another school only to receive rejections. Schools sometimes waive application fees for lower income applicants. Why keep applying to schools that force you to complete application fee waivers when you can choose to apply to schools that do not charge an application fee? Choosing to apply to colleges with no application fee means that you have more money to put towards payment of expenses or materials that you need once you are accepted at your school of choice.

    It is important that an individual applying for college admission does not apply to any college just because the school does not charge an application fee. Make sure that the school is reputable, and not a ‘degree mill,’ and that the school has proper accreditation. Apply to schools where you can save money, including these options with no application fee.

    Schools that Offer Free College Applications

    Some schools offer free college applications to all students while others only offer the free college applications to first-year students. Make sure that you understand the policy, including whether the free application is only available to those that apply online.

    Rank School Location
    1Savannah State UniversitySavannah, Georgia
    2University of ArkansasPine Bluff, Arkansas
    3Chadron State CollegeChadron, Nebraska
    4Northwest Missouri State UniversityMaryville, Missouri
    5Johnson and Wales UniversityProvidence, Rhode Island

    Best Colleges With No Application Fee

    1

    Savannah State University

    • Savannah, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 26%

    Savannah State University has been an important part of higher education in the U.S. since 1890 when it first opened its doors. The school prepares students to perform at higher levels of excellence in their chosen career field, whether the student is enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program of study.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $169.33 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website
    2

    University of Arkansas

    • Pine Bluff, Arkansas
    • Graduation Rate: 23%

    The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs. The school is one of the colleges with no application fee, once you complete the application fee waiver. This process allows students to enroll without having to wait for months an acceptance decision. Consider pursuing an education in agriculture, engineering, business, education, or other majors.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $171 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    3

    Chadron State College

    • Chadron, Nebraska
    • Graduation Rate: 41%

    Chadron State College offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as online programs. The college also offers teacher certification endorsements. The small class size, with a 17:1 student-faculty ratio, gives the close-knit feel of the campus community and allows for more support from faculty and peers.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $186 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    4

    Northwest Missouri State University

    • Maryville, Missouri
    • Graduation Rate: 49%

    Northwest Missouri State University invites students to start their career by enrolling in one of the more than 160 academic majors and programs at the school. Students have the opportunity to earn their degree at one of two campuses or in an online format.

    The school offers outstanding savings for students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program on a full-time basis, in addition to the free application fee. Students receive rental of their textbooks built into their tuition and fees. Another benefit is the fact that all full-time students receive a fully loaded laptop for use while enrolled at the school.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $212.76 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    5

    Johnson and Wales University

    • Providence, Rhode Island
    • Graduation Rate: 55%

    Students have the choice of completing their degree on campus or online at Johnson and Wales University. Choose the program that is right for you from more than 80 majors. No matter where you complete your program requirements, you have access to a variety of resources and support services.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $495 per credit hour
    Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Brandman University

    • Irvine, California
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    Brandman University offers students an outstanding education in undergraduate programs, and offers graduate degrees and online learning opportunities. Take the first step to prepare for a new career or change careers by completing your no-cost application to Brandman University. Whether you want to complete a certificate program, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s or graduate degree, the university likely has the ideal program for you.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $500 per credit hour
    Accreditation: WSCUC Senior College and University Commission
    Visit School Website
    7

    Truman State University

    • Kirksville, Missouri
    • Graduation Rate: 72%

    Truman State University states on its application page that all freshman applications are free to submit, with no additional application needed to apply for scholarships. Once a student is accepted to the university, they discover the small class sizes, and personalized approach at the school, which offers dozens of undergraduate majors and minors and several graduate degrees.

    School Overview

    Tuition: Est. $531.66 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    8

    Lake Forest College

    • Lake Forest, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 70%

    Skip the application fee when you apply to attend Lake Forest College because you will not need it. The school invites students to “Bring us your talents and passions, your curiosity and your drive,” and the school will show you how to turn it into your ideal career. Lake Forest College produces top learners, based on the belief that the more you learn, the better you get at it.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $600 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    9

    Saint Leo University

    • St. Leo, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 54%

    Saint Leo University indicates that it is one of the top universities in Florida. Students have the advantage of leading-edge learning technology and one-on-one faculty support whether the student completes their program requirements in the classroom or online. The school offers a wide variety of programs, including associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Apply with no fee and explore your choice of program options that ranges from business to education to criminal justice to communications.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $620 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website
    10

    DePaul University

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 73%

    DePaul University offers 300 degree programs and has an enrollment of approximately 24,000 students. The school focuses on providing an exceptional educational experience, not collecting application fees. The school adheres to the highest standards of academic rigor and innovation throughout all its programs.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $655 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    11

    Anderson University

    • Anderson, South Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 52%

    Anderson University explains that both the U.S. Department of Education and the Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac indicates that Anderson University is among the fastest growing private universities in the United States. There are nearly 60 degree programs for students to choose from, at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate level. The school also offers online learning opportunities. The fact that there is no application fee is another reason to apply to the school.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $665 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website
    12

    Spring Hill College

    • Mobile, Alabama
    • Graduation Rate: 52%

    Spring Hill College, located in Mobile, Alabama, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state, and offers college degrees and programs for undergraduate students, graduate students and adult learners. The school also offers online learning opportunities. One thing that it does not require is payment of an application fee. There is a common application, which students can complete online.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $734 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website
    13

    La Sierra University

    • Riverside, California
    • Graduation Rate: 73%

    La Sierra University invites you to ‘Change your world’ and to find the right career path for you when you choose from more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs, and pre-professional programs. The small class sizes and caring faculty members helps to create an atmosphere that empowers students to change their lives and the lives of others while studying at the university.

    The school has a rolling admissions policy, which means that students do not have to wait for several months for an admissions decision.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $923 per credit hour
    Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
    Visit School Website
    14

    Walsh University

    • North Canton, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 56%

    Enroll at Walsh University and choose to complete your classes on campus or online. The school does not charge an application fee, which means there is no waiting for weeks to find out if you have been accepted to the school. Focus on discovering a sense of purpose as you progress through your preferred program. The school offers a variety of undergraduate programs, graduate programs, online or accelerated programs.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $970 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    15

    University of Evansville

    • Evansville, Indiana
    • Graduation Rate: 69%

    The University of Evansville, which offers undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees at both the master’s and doctoral level, offers first-time students the opportunity to apply to the university with no application fee. The school also offers the opportunity for some students to study abroad. The school indicates that 96 percent of 2019 graduates were either employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. 

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,050 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    16

    Niagara University

    • Niagara County, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 65%

    Niagara University indicates that the school ‘delivers a 21st century degree’ that empowers graduates to have the skills and confidence to excel in their career and as a person. The school offers more than 80 undergraduate programs and more than 30 graduate degree programs to fit the professional and personal goals of all students.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,125 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    Visit School Website
    17

    Buena Vista University

    • Storm Lake, Iowa
    • Graduation Rate: 64%

    Students at Buena Vista University benefit from pursuing their education their own way. The school offers students the opportunity for students to complete courses in the traditional classroom, in a hybrid format, which means that students complete some coursework on campus and other work online. Some students earn their degree entirely online. Choose your preferred program from 65 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

    School Overview

    Tuition: Est. $1,250.60 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    18

    Merrimack College

    • North Andover, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 73%

    Merrimack College offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. There are also several accelerated master’s degree programs, and numerous online programs. Students do not pay for submitting their application to the school.

    Students enjoy the fact that the school is just five minutes from Boston, and the fact that the rapidly growing school focuses on helping every student meet their professional and personal goals.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,523 per credit hour
    Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
    Visit School Website
    19

    Drake University

    • Des Moines, Iowa
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

    Students that apply to Drake University using the online application pay no application fee. The Des Moines, Iowa school offers the benefits of a larger university with the advantages of smaller class sizes and an exceptional learning environment. Students from across the country and from more than 40 countries choose Drake University, where students have their choice of more than 70 academic majors, minors and concentrations.

    Students benefit from a locked tuition, which means there is no increase in tuition for students that are continuously enrolled throughout their degree program. 

    School Overview

    Tuition: Est. $1,524.46 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    20

    Illinois Wesleyan University

    • Bloomington, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    Bloomington, Illinois is home to Illinois Wesleyan University, a school that challenges students to follow their curiosity and become empowered to go out into the world with the skills most desired by employers and graduate schools. The university offers more than 80 majors, minors, and concentrations, with research opportunities and the potential opportunity to study abroad.

    School Overview

    Tuition: Est. $1,704.40
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    21

    Butler University

    • Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Graduation Rate: 76%

    Students that choose Butler University likely do so because of the close-knit feel of attending the school and perhaps because it is a college with no application fees charged to students. Academic options at the Indianapolis, Indiana school include undergraduate, graduate, certificate, and professional programs. Some students also have the opportunity to study abroad.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,760 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    22

    Augustana College

    • Rock Island, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 71%

    Augustana College, located in Illinois, features a small campus feel, with just 2,500 students, an average class size of 18, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The residential campus sits on 115 wooded acres along the Mississippi River and was founded in 1860 by Swedish settlers.

    The college focuses on a liberal arts education, and features dozens of academic majors and minors, and the opportunity to study abroad.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,882 per credit hour
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    Visit School Website
    23

    Trinity University

    • San Antonio, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 77%

    Turn your ideas into action when you enroll at Trinity University after paying no application fee. The student experience is at the core of the values and mission of the school. The school engages students to have a desire for lifelong curiosity and learning meaningful thoughts and actions.

    The school offers 49 majors, 61 minors, and 6 graduate programs.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $1,900 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website
    24

    Tulane University

    • New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Graduation Rate: 83%

    Tulane University requires strict compliance with its admission rules, but those guidelines do not include an application fee. The university explains that students choose Tulane University for unique learning experiences that prepares them for the challenges of the real world. Students benefit from attending a school that pairs the resources of a large research university with the many benefits of a small liberal arts college. Although many students complete their studies at the school, more than 30 percent of all students study abroad.

    The tuition rate at this school does include fees.

    School Overview

    Tuition: Est. $1,961.66 per credit hour
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Visit School Website

    Methodology

    We did the hard work of searching for colleges with no application fee. The fact that some schools charge nearly $100 for an application fee means that costs can add up quickly before an individual is even accepted to a college. That is why we searched for schools across the U.S., not just in a specific area.

    We ranked schools according to tuition and the fact that all schools listed are accredited and do not charge an application fee. The listed tuition is based on one credit hour of undergraduate study.

    Do we have your school listed? Please let us know if you would like to have your school listed in our ranked schools. Please contact us if you need to update the information that we have for your school.

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