Best Colleges With No Application Fee + Complete List (2024)

April 4, 2024

colleges with no application fee

One of the most important investments parents/students will make in their lifetime is a college education. The cost of attending a four-year college can range from $50,000-100,000/to attend a smaller school versus $200,000+ for a private institution. That’s indeed a major expenditure. Considering those numbers, it might seem surprising how stressful application fees can be for some families as they prepare for their student’s future. In fact, some are starting to take a more intense look at trade schools and community colleges due to continued increases in college tuition. That’s another article for another time (scroll down for the best colleges with no application fee and a full list of no application fee colleges).

*Please Note: It should be said that, sadly, not everyone in the United States has the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Finances are sometimes a significant hindrance. However, there are many colleges/universities that offer generous scholarships. These scholarships open doors for some potential students that would otherwise be closed. They can be found here.

How Much Are College Application Fees Anyway?

So, what’s the fuss about when talking about college application fees? I mean, it’s an application fee, how much money do they really cost? As it turns out, college application fees can add up quickly. The average college application fee can range anywhere from $50-$75 per application. Students typically apply to 8-12 colleges. While $400-$900 might not seem like much in comparison to four years’ worth of tuition— that’s a lot of money. Why not try to save as much money as possible? College application fees saved could pay for a semester’s book or two.

Who Qualifies For A College Application Fee Waiver?

Before we get to our list of colleges with no application fees, (Woohoo!) let’s address instances that might allow students to receive a waiver. Many schools, even ones that have very high application fees, offer waivers to students with established financial need. Below are some of the circumstances that make a student eligible to have their college application fee waived:

  • If the student received a fee waiver to take the SAT or ACT
  • If the student is enrolled in a Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program
  • If the student’s family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service
  • If homelessness is a factor, or they are living in federally subsidized housing or a foster home

Finally, here’s a list of the 10 top colleges with no application fees. In addition, we’ve included a comprehensive list of colleges with no application fee that can be found at the end of the article!

Best Colleges with no Application Fee

1) Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Highlights: Wellesley College ranks at the top of the list of colleges with no application fee— #1. Wellesley, the all-women’s college, is also well-ranked in academics and diversity. Wellesley’s mission is to educate women who will make a difference in the world. The institution’s goal is to make Wellesley financially possible for a broader base of future female leaders.

2) Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Highlights: Tulane University comes in at almost the top of the list of top colleges with no application fees in 2024. The university is ranked as having an “A+” in vitally important areas such as academic, diversity, and athletics. Among other things, Tulane University is a standout institution for both education and research. With 5 undergraduate schools specializing in Architecture, Business, Liberal Arts, Public Health, and Science & Engineering, the college pushes boundaries in interdisciplinary academic pursuits. The locale doesn’t hurt either.

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

3) Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN

Highlights: Macalester College earns an “A+” in both academics and diversity. This institution boasts solid liberal arts and science programs. In addition, “Macalester’s core values of internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society” empower students to create positive change in the world around them.

4) Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

Highlights: Trinity boasts more than 100 majors and minors. In addition, the university prioritizes undergraduate research, internship opportunities, and study abroad programs. TU is sought after for their pre-law, pre-med/health professions, economics, and management systems programs.Trinity ranks high in academics, diversity, and in faculty performance.

5) Colby College, Waterville, ME

Highlights: Colby College makes the top ten in colleges with no application fee. In addition to high marks in academics and diversity, Colby is a well-established liberal arts college that offers 57 majors, and 36 minors. Most exciting might be that Colby offers newly developed programs that include the Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

6) Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Highlights: Carleton College ranks among the highest in academics and diversity. CC approaches learning with an out-of-the-box “distinctly Carleton brand of playfulness.” The community is collaborative with professors and students working together. CC focuses on the exploration of interests and the development of new ones.

7) Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

Highlights: Grinnell College ranks well in areas of academics and diversity. In addition, students are in charge of their studies. At Grinnell, their curriculum is an “individually advised curriculum.” This offers a unique educational experience. Grinnell has no distribution requirements, with only two required courses for all students being components of the “First-Year Experience.” The remainder of each student’s four-year class schedule is up to the student and their academic adviser based on individual interests and aspirations.

8) Smith College, Northampton, MA

Highlights: In addition to being on the list of colleges with no application fee, Smith College is among the top-ranked women’s colleges in the United States. Smith scores exceedingly well in most areas including academics, diversity, and faculty making it a solid choice to add to the list. If those credits weren’t enough, Smith offers generous financial aid. The college meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students, with no loans in their aid packages.

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

9) Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO

Highlights: Colorado College, another small private college with no application fee. CC is well-ranked in academics and diversity. Admissions are extremely competitive. Their most prominent majors include Economics, Liberal Arts/Humanities, and Political Science/Government. Colorado College is also ranked number one on the “Best Colleges of Colorado” list.

For your convenience, here is a comprehensive list of colleges that don’t have application fees:

Colleges with no Application Fees – Comprehensive List

Adrian College
Agnes Scott College
Alaska Pacific University
Albion College
Albright College
Alcorn State University
Alderson Broaddus University
Alice Lloyd College
Allegheny College
Alma College
Alverno College
Anderson University (Indiana)
Aquinas College
Arcadia University
Arkansas Tech University
Asbury University
Ashland University
Auburn University at Montgomery
Augsburg University
Augustana College
Augustana University
Aurora University
Austin College
Ave Maria University
Averett University
Avila University
Baker University
Baldwin Wallace University
Barton College
Baylor University
Belmont Abbey College
Beloit College
Berea College
Berry College
Bethany College (Kansas)
Bethany College (West Virginia)
Bethany Lutheran College
Bethel University
Bluefield State University
Bradley University
Brandman University
Bridgewater College
Bryn Mawr College
Buena Vista University
Butler University

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

Calumet College of Saint Joseph
Calvin University
Canisius College
Capitol Technology University
Cardinal Stritch University
Carleton College
Carlow University
Carroll College
Carroll University
Catawba College
Cazenovia College
Cedar Crest College
Centenary College
Central College
Central Pennsylvania College
Centre College
Chadron State College
Champlain College
Chatham University
Clarkson University
Coe College
Coker College
Colby College
Colby-Sawyer College
Colgate University
College of Mount Saint Vincent
College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
College of Saint Elizabeth
College of Saint Rose
College of Saint Scholastica
College of Southern Idaho
College of the Ozarks
College of Wooster
Colorado Mountain College
Columbia College (South Carolina)
Concord University
Concordia College—Moorhead
Concordia University—Nebraska
Converse College
Cornell College
Creighton University
Culver-Stockton College
D’Youville College
Daemen College
Davis & Elkins College
Deep Springs College
Defiance College
Delaware Valley University
Denison University
DePauw University
Doane University—Crete
Dominican University of California
Drake University
Drury University
Duquesne University

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

Earlham College
Eastern New Mexico University
Elizabethtown College
Elmhurst College
Emmanuel College
Emory & Henry College
Eureka College
Ferris State University
Finlandia University
Florida Gateway College
Florida Institute of Technology
Fontbonne University
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Franklin College
Freed-Hardeman University
Gannon University
Grace College and Seminary
Graceland University—Lamoni
Grand View University
Granite State College
Greenville University
Grinnell College
Guilford College
Gustavus Adolphus College
Gwynedd Mercy University
Hamline University
Hampden-Sydney College
Hanover College
Hardin-Simmons University
Hartwick College
Hastings College
Henderson State University
Hendrix College
Hillsdale College
Hiram College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Hollins University
Holy Cross College
Holy Names University
Hood College
Houston Baptist University
Howard Payne University
Huntingdon College
Illinois College
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Immaculata University
Indian River State College
Indiana Wesleyan University
Iowa Wesleyan University
Jackson State University
John Carroll University
Juniata College
Kalamazoo College
Kenyon College
Kettering University
Keuka College
King’s College —Wilkes-Barre

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

La Roche College
La Salle University
La Sierra University
Lake Erie College
Lake Forest College
Lakeland University
Lane College
Lasell University
Lawrence University
Le Moyne College
Lebanon Valley College
Lesley University
LeTourneau University
Lewis & Clark College
Liberty University
Limestone University
Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)
Lindsey Wilson College
Linfield College-McMinnville Campus
Loras College
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University New Orleans
Luther College
Lycoming College
Madonna University
Manchester University
Marian University (Indiana)
Marquette University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Maryville University of St. Louis
Marywood University
McKendree University
Medaille College
Mercy College
Mercyhurst University
Merrimack College
Metropolitan State University
Michigan Technological University
MidAmerica Nazarene University
Midland University
Miles College
Millikin University
Millsaps College
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Mississippi University for Women
Mississippi Valley State University
Mitchell College
Monmouth College
Moravian College
Morningside University
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Mary University
Mount Mercy University
Mount Saint Mary College
Nazareth College
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Neumann University
New England College
Niagara University
Nichols College
Northland College
Northwest Christian University
Northwest Missouri State University
Northwestern College
Notre Dame College
Notre Dame de Namur University

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

Oakland University
Oberlin College
Oglethorpe University
Ohio Northern University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Oklahoma Baptist University
Olivet College
Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Union College
Pacific University
Piedmont University
Point Park University
Polk State College
Presbyterian College
Queens University of Charlotte
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
Reed College
Regis University
Rhodes College
Roanoke College
Robert Morris University
Roberts Wesleyan College
Rockford University
Rockhurst University
Rosemont College
Russell Sage College
Rust College
Saint Ambrose University
Saint Edward’s University
Saint Francis University
Saint John’s University
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Saint Leo University
Saint Louis University
Saint Martin’s University
Saint Mary’s College
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Peter’s University
Salem College
Santa Fe College
Savannah State University
Sewanee: The University of the South
Shawnee State University
Siena Heights University
Sierra Nevada College
Simmons University
Simpson College
Smith College
Southern Arkansas University
Southwestern Adventist University
Southwestern University
Spring Hill College
St. Augustine College
St. Bonaventure University
St. Catherine University
St. John’s College
St. John’s College
St. John’s University
St. Mary’s University, Texas
St. Norbert College
Stephens College
Sterling College (Kansas)
Stevenson University
Susquehanna University
Sweet Briar College
Texas Wesleyan University
The College of Idaho
The University of Findlay
Thomas Aquinas College
Thomas More University
Touro College
Transylvania University
Trine University
Trinity University
Truman State University
Tulane University
Tusculum University

Colleges with no Application Fees (Continued)

Union College (Nebraska)
United States Air Force Academy
United States Coast Guard Academy
United States Merchant Marine Academy
United States Military Academy
United States Naval Academy
Unity College
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
University of Dayton
University of Detroit Mercy
University of Evansville
University of Hartford
University of Houston-Victoria
University of Indianapolis
University of Jamestown
University of Lynchburg
University of Mount Olive
University of Mount Union
University of Pikeville
University of Saint Francis
University of Saint Joseph
University of Saint Thomas
University of Scranton
University of Sioux Falls
University of St. Thomas (Texas)
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas—Rio Grande Valley
University of the Pacific
Upper Iowa University
Ursinus College
Ursuline College
Valparaiso University
Warren Wilson College
Wartburg College
Washington Adventist University
Washington and Jefferson College
Wayne State College
Wellesley College
Wesley College
Wesleyan College
West Liberty University
West Virginia University—Parkersburg
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Westminster College (Missouri)
Westminster College (Pennsylvania)
Wheeling University
Whitworth University
William Jewell College
William Woods University
Williams Baptist University
Wilmington College
Wilson College
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Wittenberg University
Xavier University


Colleges with no Application Fees – Additional Resources