Timothy Peck 10 min read 12th Grade, College Lists

Complete List of Colleges With No Application Fee

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.

The cost of college often looms in the minds of many students preparing to pursue higher education. However, the expense of school doesn’t start with tuition—just the expense of applying to college can add up fast. For example, the strategy of applying to 2-3 safety schools, 3-4 target schools, and 2-3 reach schools can cost hundreds of dollars. If you’re trying to control costs through the college application process, keep reading to learn more about application fees and to discover colleges with no application fees. 

 

Overview of College Application Fees 

 

According to U.S. News, the average college application fee is $44. Sixty-one schools have application fees exceeding $75, including many top schools such as Stanford ($90), Columbia University ($85), Cornell University ($80), Dartmouth ($80), and Harvard ($75). 

 

A 2015 report from the Higher Education Research Institute found 80% of students applied to at least 3 colleges, and that 35% of high school seniors applied to 7 schools or more—using the average application cost, that adds up to $132-$308 in just application fees. Furthermore, the report shows that the number of colleges students apply to has doubled in the past decade, and nearly tripled over the course of the past 15 years. If the trend continues, students can plan on spending even more on college applications in the future. 

 

The expense of applying to college isn’t solely in application fees; there’s also the cost of sending test scores to schools. Included in the price of the SAT are 4 free score reports—however, whether or not you should take advantage of this merits some thought (check out our blog Should You Send SAT Scores Straight to Colleges on Test Day? to learn more). Even if you take advantage of the 4 free reports, with 35% of students applying to more than 7 schools, they’ll still end up paying $12 for each additional score report they need. Similarly, the ACT includes 4 free score reports as well, but they charge $13 for each additional report requested. 

 

College Application Fee Waivers 

 

Colleges are aware of the financial hardships facing some students and offer waivers to students in financial need. College application fee waivers, in general, follow the same requirements needed to qualify for a fee waiver from the SAT or ACT:

 

  • You’re enrolled in, or eligible to participate in, the National School Lunch Program 
  • Your annual family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service
  • You’re enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families 
  • Your family receives public assistance
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan

 

If your dream school has an application fee, even an expensive application fee such as Stanford, don’t let that deter you from applying, if you can afford it (if you can’t you likely qualify for fee waivers). You’ll likely regret not applying if you don’t, and in the big picture, the cost of applying to college is a very small fraction of overall college expenses. However, if your plan is to apply to a bunch of schools, one way to cut down on the cost is to consider some schools that don’t charge an application fee. 

 

Remember though: don’t just apply to these schools because it’s free. Make sure that they offer classes and extracurriculars you’re interested in, that you like their community, and that they’ll prepare you for the future you dream about. 

 

How to Determine if a College is a Good Fit

 

You might be wondering how to determine if a college is a good fit, and how to use our list of colleges with no application fees to find best-fit colleges. Here are some main considerations:

 

Size: Do you want to go to a small school with intimate class sizes, or a large university with large lecture halls? Or maybe something in-between?

 

Type: Research university or liberal arts college? If you’re not sure what a liberal arts college is, see our post: What is a liberal arts college, and how are they different? Basically, LACs are smaller colleges (<3,000 students) with no graduate degrees. The professors focus on teaching (not research), and students are taught a broad range of disciplines beyond their major.

 

Location: Which region of the country (or world) do you want to be in? Is the school close or far from home? Do you want to be in a large city, the suburbs, or a more remote location?

 

Weather: Are cold weather and snow your thing, or do you prefer sunshine and warmth? Do you want to experience the four seasons?

 

Difficulty: Is the school a target, reach, or safety for you? Look primarily at the middle 50% range of SAT/ACT scores, average GPA, and acceptance rate to determine this. You can also use our free chancing engine.

 

Cost: Can you and your family afford the school? Is there generous financial aid or merit scholarships? Does the school meet 100% demonstrated need, and is it need-blind or no-loan?

 

Academics: Does the school offer the majors you’re interested in? Is there pre-professional advising? Are there specific programs you’re looking for? Can you easily study abroad? Is it hard to change majors? Can you go in undecided and declare a major later?

 

Extracurriculars: Are there activities that you want to join? If not, can you easily begin your own club? Are there communities on campus you could see yourself being part of?

 

Colleges with No Application Fees 

 

National Universities with No Application Fees

 

College Location Acceptance Rate
Aurora University Aurora, IL 87%
Baker University Baldwin City, KS 88%
Baylor University Waco, TX 52%
Bethel University Saint Paul, MN 71%
Brandman University Irvine, CA 79%
Cardinal Stritch University Milwaukee, WI 71%
Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA 55%
Clarkson University Potsdam, NY 71%
College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN 66%
Creighton University Omaha, NE 71%
D’Youville College Buffalo, NY 100%
Daemen College Amherst, NY 54%
Drake University Des Moines, IA 68%
Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA 72%
Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL 65%
Gannon University Erie, PA 81%
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL 58%
Jackson State University Jackson, MS 69%
Lesley University Cambridge, MA 76%
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 56%
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL 68%
Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA 75%
Marquette University Milwaukee, WI 82%
Maryville University of Saint Louis St Louis, MO 95%
Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN 56%
Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 74%
Mount Mary University Milwaukee, WI 62%
Northland College Ashland, WI 51%
Oakland University Rochester, MI 84%
Regis University Denver, CO 60%
Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA 85%
Saint John’s University Queens, NY 73%
Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO 58%
St. Catherine University Saint Paul, MN 70%
Simmons College Boston, MA 70%
Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, TX 36%
The Sage Colleges Troy, NY 93%
Touro College New York, NY 87%
Tulane University New Orleans, LA 17%
University of Dayton Dayton, OH 72%
University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI 83%
University of Findlay Findlay, OH 73%
University of Hartford West Hartford, CT 75%
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 81%
University of Saint Thomas Saint Paul, MN 82%
University of Texas—El Paso El Paso, TX 100%
University of Texas—Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX 81%
University of the Pacific Stockton, CA 63%
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN 89%
William Woods University Fulton, MO 64%

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

Liberal Arts Colleges with No Application Fees

 

College Location Acceptance Rate
Agnes Scott College Decatur, GA 70%
Albion College Albion, MI 68%
Albright College Reading, PA 62%
Allegheny College Meadville, PA 64%
Aquinas College Grand Rapids, MI 69%
Augustana College Rock Island, IL 72%
Austin College Sherman, TX 55%
Ave Maria University Ave Maria, FL 83%
Beloit College Beloit, WI 56%
Berea College Berea, KY 38%
Bethany Lutheran College Mankato, MN 78%
Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA 34%
Carleton College Northfield, MN 20%
Centenary College Shreveport, LA 60%
Central College Pella, IA 70%
Centre College Danville, KY 73%
Coe College Cedar Rapids, IA 67%
Colby College Waterville, ME 13%
Colgate University Hamilton, NY 25%
College of Idaho Caldwell, ID 49%
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Saint Joseph, MN 83%
College of Wooster Wooster, OH 54%
Concordia College—Moorhead Moorhead, MN 61%
Cornell College Mount Vernon, IA 61%
Denison University Granville, OH 34%
DePauw University Greencastle, IN 63%
Doane College—Crete Crete, NE 68%
Earlham College Richmond, IN 65%
Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA 76%
Emmanuel College Boston, MA 77%
Emory and Henry College Emory, VA 69%
Franklin College Franklin, IN 75%
Grinnell College Grinnell, IA 24%
Guilford College Greensboro, NC 64%
Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN 66%
Hampden-Sydney College Hampden-Sydney, VA 59%
Hanover College Hanover, IN 79%
Hartwick College Oneonta, NY 80%
Hendrix College Conway, AR 72%
Hillsdale College Hillsdale, MI 36%
Hobart & William Smith Colleges Geneva, NY 57%
Hollins University Roanoke, VA 64%
Illinois College Jacksonville, IL 76%
Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL 59%
Juniata College Huntingdon, PA 70%
Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI 73%
Kenyon College Gambier, OH 36%
Lake Forest College Lake Forest, IL 58%
Lane College Jackson, TN
Lawrence University Appleton, WI 62%
Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR 74%
Linfield College-McMinnville Campus McMinnville, OR 81%
Luther College Decorah, IA 63%
Lycoming College Williamsport, PA 66%
Marywood University Scranton, PA 75%
Mercyhurst University Erie, PA 87%
Millsaps College Jackson, MS 59%
Monmouth College Monmouth, IL 69%
Moravian College Bethlehem, PA 73%
Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA 51%
Oberlin College Oberlin, OH 36%
Oglethorpe University Atlanta, GA 62%
Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware, OH 69%
Presbyterian College Clinton, SC 69%
Randolph College Lynchburg, VA 87%
Randolph-Macon College Ashland, VA 67%
Reed College Portland, OR 36%
Rhodes College Memphis, TN 51%
Rhodes College Memphis, TN 45%
Roanoke College Salem, VA 72%
Rust College Holly Springs, MS 53%
Saint John’s College Annapolis, MD 58%
Saint John’s College Santa Fe, NM 67%
Saint John’s University Collegeville, MN 80%
Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame, IN 82%
Salem College Winston-Salem, NC 41%
Sewanee—The University of the South Sewanee, TN 65%
Simpson College Indianola, IA 84%
Smith College Northampton, MA 31%
Southwestern University Georgetown, TX 45%
Spring Hill College Mobile, AL 66%
St. Norbert College De Pere, WI 78%
Susquehanna University Selinsgrove, PA 72%
Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar, VA 76%
Thomas Aquinas College Santa Paula, CA 78%
Transylvania University Lexington, KY 89%
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 10%
University of Pikeville Pikeville, KY 100%
Ursinus College Collegeville, PA 71%
US Air Force Academy USAF Academy, CO 11%
US Naval Academy Annapolis, MD 9%
Warren Wilson College Asheville, NC 83%
Wartburg College Waverly, IA 76%
Washington and Jefferson College Washington, PA 48%
Wellesley College Wellesley, MA 20%
Wesleyan College Macon, GA 47%
Westminster College Fulton, MO 94%
Westminster College New Wilmington, PA 66%
Williams Baptist College Walnut Ridge, AR 56%
Wittenberg University Springfield, OH 90%

Regional Universities with No Application Fees

 

College Location Acceptance Rate
Adrian College Adrian, MI 65%
Alaska Pacific University Anchorage, AK 86%
Alcorn State University Lorman, MS 89%
Alderson Broaddus University Philippi, WV 43%
Alice Lloyd College Pippa Passes, KY 8%
Alma College Alma, MI 64%
Alverno College Milwaukee, WI 67%
Ancilla College Ancilla College 100%
Anderson University Anderson, IN 65%
Arcadia University Glenside, PA 64%
Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR 90%
Asbury University Wilmore, KY 67%
Ashland University Ashland, OH 68%
Auburn University—Montgomery Montgomery, AL 93%
Augsburg College Minneapolis, MN 41%
Augustana College Sioux Falls, SD 65%
Averett University Danville, VA 61%
Avila University Kansas City, MO 39%
Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH 74%
Barton College Wilson, NC 40%
Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA 60%
Becker College Worcester, MA 69%
Belmont Abbey College Belmont, NC 80%
Berry College Mount Berry, GA 68%
Bethany College Lindsborg, KS 70%
Bethany College Bethany, WV 91%
Bluefield State College Bluefield, WV 76%
Bradley University Peoria, IL 67%
Bridgewater College Bridgewater, VA 66%
Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA 58%
Butler University Indianapolis, IN 68%
Calumet College of Saint Joseph Whiting, IN 20%
Calvin College Grand Rapids, MI 79%
Canisius College Buffalo, NY 79%
Capitol Technology University Laurel, MD 75%
Carlow University Pittsburgh, PA 87%
Carroll College Helena, MT 78%
Carroll University Waukesha, WI 69%
Catawba College Salisbury, NC 52%
Cazenovia College Cazenovia, NY 72%
Cedar Crest College Allentown, PA 57%
Central Pennsylvania College Summerdale, PA 72%
Chadron State College Chadron, NE 100%
Champlain College Burlington, VT 75%
Coker College Hartsville, SC 63%
Colby-Sawyer College New London, NH 90%
College of Mount Saint Vincent Bronx, NY 78%
College of Saint Elizabeth Morristown, NJ 64%
College of Saint Rose Albany, NY 87%
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID 100%
College of the Ozarks Clarksville, AR 90%
Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO 100%
Columbia College Columbia, SC 96%
Concord University Athens, WV 89%
Concordia University—Nebraska Seward, NE 68%
Converse College Spartanburg, SC 59%
Culver-Stockton College Canton, MO 46%
Davis and Elkins College Elkins, WV 42%
Deep Springs College Big Pine, California 8%
Defiance College Defiance, OH 52%
Delaware Valley College Doylestown, PA 66%
Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA 87%
Drury University Springfield, MO 68%
Eastern Nazarene College Quincy, MA 64%
Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM 60%
Elmhurst College Elmhurst, IL 67%
Eureka College Eureka, IL 57%
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 81%
Finlandia University Hancock, MI 36%
Fisher College Boston, MA 70%
Florida Gateway College Lake City, FL 100%
Fontbonne University Saint Louis, MO 81%
Franciscan University of Steubenville Steubenville, OH 77%
Freed-Hardeman University Henderson, TN 93%
Grace College and Seminary Winona Lake, IN 82%
Graceland University Lamoni, IA 58%
Grand View University Des Moines, IA 92%
Granite State College Concord, NH 100%
Greenville College Greenville, IL 48%
Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA 92%
Hamline University SaintPaul, MN 67%
Hardin-Simmons University Abilene, TX 84%
Hastings College Hastings, NE 64%
Henderson State University Arkadelphia, AR 91%
Hiram College Hiram, OH 58%
Holy Cross College Notre Dame, IN 88%
Holy Names University Oakland, CA 70%
Hood College Frederick, MD 71%
Houston Baptist University Houston, TX 70%
Howard Payne University Brownwood, TX 58%
Huntingdon College Montgomery, AL 58%
Immaculata University Immaculata, PA 81%
Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL 100%
Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN 68%
Iowa Wesleyan College Mount Pleasant, IA 60%
John Carroll University University Heights, OH 83%
Johnson & Wales University—Denver Denver, CO 84%
Johnson & Wales University—North Miami North Miami, FL 78%
Kettering University Flint, MI 70%
Keuka College Keuka Park, NY 86%
King’s College Wilkes-Barre, PA 78%
La Roche College Pittsburgh, PA 99%
La Salle University Philadelphia, PA 81%
La Sierra University Riverside, CA 49%
Lake Erie College Painesville, OH 60%
Lakeland College Plymouth, WI 52%
Lasell College Newton, MA 80%
Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY 69%
Lebanon Valley College Annville, PA 78%
LeTourneau University Longview, TX 46%
Limestone College Gaffney, SC 14%
Lincoln University Lincoln University, PA 81%
Lindsey Wilson College Columbia, KY 95%
Loras College Dubuque, IA 93%
Lynchburg College Lynchburg, VA 97%
Madonna University Livonia, MI 78%
Manchester University Manchester, IN 59%
Martin Methodist College Pulaski, TN
Maryville College Maryville, TN 55%
McKendree University Lebanon, IL 67%
Medaille College Buffalo, NY 75%
Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 79%
Merrimack College North Andover, MA 83%
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS 59%
Midland University Fremont, NE 64%
Miles College Birmingham, AL 26%
Millikin University Decatur, IL 61%
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI 63%
Mississippi University for Women Columbus, MS 98%
Mississippi Valley State University Itta Bena, MS 86%
Mitchell College New London, CT 78%
Morningside College Sioux City, IA 56%
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids, IA 63%
Mount Saint Mary College Newburgh, NY 94%
Nazareth College Rochester, NY 64%
Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln, NE 72%
Neumann University Aston, PA 69%
New England College Henniker, NH 100%
Niagara University Niagara University, NY 87%
Nichols College Dudley, MA 82%
Northwest Christian University Eugene, OR 62%
Northwest Missouri State University Maryville, MO 79%
Northwestern College Orange City, IA 71%
Notre Dame College Cleveland, OH 89%
Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont, CA 82%
Ohio Northern University Ada, OH 68%
Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee, OK 64%
Olivet College Olivet, MI 71%
Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA 80%
Pacific Union College Angwin, CA 49%
Pacific University Forest Grove, OR 63%
Piedmont College Demorest, GA 60%
Point Park University Pittsburgh, PA 65%
Polk State College Winter Haven, FL 100%
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC 79%
Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester, NY 65%
Rockford University Rockford, IL 49%
Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO 66%
Rosemont College Rosemont, PA 65%
Saint Augustine College Chicago, IL 100%
Saint Edward’s University Austin, TX 86%
Saint Francis University Loretto, PA 75%
Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 84%
Saint Martin’s University Lacey, WA 95%
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Winona, MN 92%
Saint Peter’s University Jersey City, NJ 74%
Saint Ambrose University Davenport, IA 63%
Saint Bonaventure University Saint Bonaventure, NY 73%
Saint Joseph’s College Standish, ME 80%
Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL 100%
Savannah State University Savannah, GA 57%
Shawnee State University Portsmouth, OH 74%
Siena Heights University Adrian, MI 69%
Sierra Nevada College Incline Village, NV 69%
Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR 65%
Southwestern Adventist University Keene, TX 55%
St. Mary’s University San Antonio, TX 75%
Stephens College Columbia, MO 53%
Sterling College Sterling, KS 52%
Stevenson University Stevenson, MD 73%
Thomas More College Crestview Hills, KY 90%
Trine University Angola, IN 73%
Trinity University San Antonio, TX 34%
Truman State University Kirksville, MO 65%
Tusculum College Greeneville, TN 89%
Union College Lincoln, NE 62%
Unity College Unity, ME 94%
University of Arkansas—Pine Bluff Pine Bluff, AR 44%
University of Evansville Evansville, IN 69%
University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX 49%
University of Jamestown Jamestown, ND 62%
University of Mount Olive Mount Olive, NC 49%
University of Mount Union Alliance, OH 96%
University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, C 72%
University of Saint Francis Fort Wayne, IN 93%
University of Scranton Scranton, PA 73%
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls, SD 91%
University of St. Thomas Houston, TX 82%
Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA 81%
Ursuline College Pepper Pike, OH 90%
US Coast Guard Academy New London, CT 13%
US Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point, NY 15%
Washington Adventist University Takoma Park, MD 52%
Wayne State College Wayne, NE 100%
Wesley College Dover, DE 62%
West Liberty University West Liberty, WV 69%
West Virginia University—Parkersburg Parkersburg, WV
West Virginia Wesleyan College Buckhannon, WV 70%
Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV 91%
Whitworth University Spokane, WA 91%
William Jewell College Liberty, MO 46%
Wilmington College Wilmington, OH 85%
Wilson College Chambersburg, PA 92%
Wisconsin Lutheran College Milwaukee, WI 80%
Xavier University Cincinnati, OH 74%

 

Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Want more college admissions tips?

We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.


Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.