US universities that offer free and cheap tuition for international students

Studying in the US can be quite expensive as an international student. However, there are many colleges and universities which offer generous scholarships and funding in order to cut down the cost 

Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

Seeta Bhardwa

Student content editor
December 14 2021
Jar containing coins saving money for education

Share

There’s no denying that studying abroad is expensive, especially in the US. However, a number of institutions across the country offer financial aid packages that cover the full cost of tuition and in some cases room and board, study materials and even food. 

Many of these universities require students to enrol in work programmes to “earn” their financial aid, which can also help boost a student’s career prospects on graduation.

Free study abroad guide
Download your Study Abroad Guide for FREE!

We’ve rounded up a selection of some of the universities in the US that provide generous financial packages for international and domestic students. 

1. Berea College

Located in the state of Kentucky, Berea College offers free tuition for all students, including international students, for the first year of enrolment.

For any subsequent years of study, international students are expected to save $1,000 per year to contribute towards their expenses. The university provides all international students with paid on-campus jobs throughout the academic year and also provides students with summer jobs to help them meet the required costs. 

Every student is given a $25,000 full-tuition scholarship with additional help for food, room and board. 

2. Curtis Institute of Music

If you are a gifted musician planning to study music in the US, it might be worth submitting an application to the Curtis Institute of Music. The Philadelphia-based institution offers merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to all students, regardless of their financial situation. The amount varies year-on-year.

While this scholarship only covers tuition, students can also apply for a needs-based scholarship to cover living costs. All students who receiving the need-based financial aid are expected to work on campus to earn a portion of their financial aid. 

3. Deep Springs College 

Deep Springs College may be one of the smallest universities in the US, with fewer than 30 students currently studying there. 

As a result of the small student body, the college offers a $50,000 scholarship to each student, which covers room, board and tuition. Students are required to pay a small damage deposit and cover the cost of books, travel and medical insurance. However, if a student is unable to cover these costs for any reason, needs-based financial aid is available. 

This private liberal arts college combines traditional classes in philosophy, literature, science and other subjects with manual labour around the campus and on the land.

4. College of the Ozarks

The College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Missouri. Non-citizens of the US are able to apply for the College of the Ozarks Cost of Education scholarship which contributes towards the cost of education at the university. 

All full-time students at the College of the Ozarks participate in the on-campus work-study programme for 15 hours per week and for two 40-hour work weeks per school year. The work credits received through this programme plus the Cost of Education scholarship cover the full cost of education at the university. 

Room and board, fees and books are not included in this scholarship. 


Scholarships available in the US for international students
The cost of studying at a university in the United States
A guide to student loans and funding university in the US
Best universities in the US


US universities with cheap tuition fees 

It’s worth noting that many other universities offer generous funding options for international students, even if they don’t cover the full cost of tuition. 

For example, at South Texas College, tuition fees for international students are currently set at $4,200, which is considerably cheaper than many other universities in the US. 

Other universities with lower tuition fees include Alcorn State University, California State University, Long Beach and Kansas State University

Many high-ranking institutions such as Columbia University and Stanford University also offer free online courses and programmes which could be more suited to a student who may not be able to travel. 

Most universities in the US offer financial aid in some form of another so we always recommend reaching out to your prospective university and asking what kind of packages you may be eligible for as an international student. 


You may also like

A guide to student bank accounts in the United States.

A guide to student bank accounts in the US

Are you going to university in the United States this year? This helpful guide breaks down how to choose the best bank account for you

Seeta Bhardwa

September 27 2021
sticky sign up

Register free and enjoy extra benefits