Want a college education but don’t want to go into debt over it? If your interests happen to coincide with the specific curricula at certain “tuition-free” schools, you might actually be able to get away with it. “There are only a handful of such schools in the U.S., which is one reason they are often overlooked by students, parents, and high school guidance counselors during the college search,” says a senior policy analyst at the College Board.
They range from an urban college like the Cooper Union in New York’s East Village to Deep Springs College, a remote, all-male school deep in the California desert. Many are specialized institutions, often focusing on engineering, such as the F.W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass.; or on music, like the Curtis Institute in Pennsylvania. A handful–the College of the Ozarks or Berea College in Kentucky–have mandatory work-study programs. Perhaps the most well-known of them is the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., which offers free college tuition in exchange for five years of service after graduation.
“Pssst! Wanna Go to College for Free?” [BusinessWeek]