Top 20 Accredited Online Schools with No Application Fee in 2021

Did you know that Stanford University has the highest application fee in the United States? Individuals who apply for admission into the prestigious university pay $90, and it won’t guarantee admission, and it’s non-refundable! Most institutions with the highest application fees are national universities, such as Columbia University, Duke University, and North Carolina State University (all $85). On the lower end – but still high – are the University of Texas – Austin, Arlington, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Pennsylvania (all $75). 

On average, the application fee ranges from $40 to $60 in many national and regional institutions. But imagine applying to, say, between six and eight universities, and the numbers add up! Experts even recommend applying to as many as 12 institutions, so there’s a wide variety. 

For individuals and their families with limited resources, a $40 application fee multiplied by eight ($320) isn’t just a burden but also another reason to give up on college. Even if it’s a temporary setback, it can take a toll on morale! 

Fortunately, numerous institutions have zero application fees for individuals interested in becoming their students. The zero application fee policy may have certain conditions, nonetheless, which you must be aware of. These conditions may apply to incoming newcomers and transfer students in the undergraduate programs only or for specific degree programs. 

Why do colleges and universities charge an application fee in the first place? The most common reasons are: 

  • It’s insurance, of sorts, that the applicants are serious about their desire for admission into the institution. Otherwise, applicants can send out as many college applications as possible to increase their chances of admission. With application fees in effect, you will have second thoughts about applying to several institutions. You will likely give each application serious thought, too. 
  • It covers the administrative costs, such as the application form and the salary of the application officers, in processing the application. Many colleges also hire by-contract admissions specialists whose pay will be funded by the application fees collected. 
  • It comes with the fact that private colleges and universities are in the business of education. While their main goal includes providing quality education to their students, their net profit also matters. Otherwise, their existence will be put to the test – and it’s exactly the sustained losses that closed many schools during the pandemic. 

But these reasons don’t mean that the institutions with a no application fee policy are less serious, or less in need of money, or less in the business of education! Instead, these institutions want to attract a diverse pool of applicants by doing away with the application fee, a considerable hindrance for many potential applicants. This way, even disadvantaged applicants have the opportunity to be considered for admission based on their academic and personal merits. 

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Not all colleges and universities with application fees have non-negotiable rules about them. Many national and regional institutions offer fee waivers, meaning that certain applicants are exempted from paying the application fees. There are numerous methods of getting fee waivers but keep in mind that each institution has its own rules.  

  • Visiting the institution’s campus is an easy way of getting a fee waiver, particularly if you live nearby anyway. The University of Pittsburgh is a good example of such a school, but you must only conduct an on-campus visit between June 15th and August 31st. Many schools, however, don’t advertise an on-campus fee waiver, so be sure to ask the admissions office. 
  • Being an in-state applicant can also result in an application fee waiver. At California State University, for example, you may qualify for it if you’ve been a California resident for over a year. 
  • Using the Common Application portal and being eligible for a fee waiver. The grounds for fee waiver include eligibility for the federal reduced-price or free lunch program, being on a public assistance program or receiving financial aid, or living in a federally subsidized housing estate. 
  • Attaining eligibility for the College Board’s SAT testing fee waiver results in the automatic eligibility for four application fee waivers. The eligibility for the former includes enrollment in the National School Lunch Program, a government program for low-income students, or a family with low income or receives public assistance, among others. Indeed, the SAT waiver is intended to make it easier for disadvantaged students to pursue a college education.  
  • Qualifying for the ACT fee waiver can also lead to a fee waiver, and the requirements are similar to that of the SAT fee waiver. 
  • Applying online may also lead to a fee waiver. This is true for the University of Hartford, Washington and Jefferson College, and College of Southern Idaho. Of course, not everybody has the resources or reasons to apply online, but it’s a good option to explore. 
  • Requesting a fee waiver based on your financial need is also a viable option. Every school has specific rules so ask first before submitting your application. 
  • Being a legacy applicant is another way. If your parent or grandparent attended and earned a degree from your desired school, you can ask for an application fee waiver. 
  • Highlighting your academic record and exceptional standardized test scores may also increase your chances of getting an application fee waiver. You may be perceived as a valuable student, so your requested fee waiver will be granted. 
  • Getting a special invitation to apply from specific institutions may also come with a fee waiver. This usually happens for star athletes and valedictorians, among others seen as valuable additions to the school community.  

What if you don’t fall into one of these categories for one reason or another? Well, some colleges and universities have zero application fees! You don’t have to fall into any special academic and socio-economic categories to enjoy the free application.

With that said, here are 20 well-respected colleges and universities with a no-application fee policy. We will also look into their affordability, including the availability of financial aid. After all, the application fee is a tiny part of the college experience – you must also consider the tuition fees and other associated costs. 

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Accredited Online Schools with No Application Fee

Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Norwich University isn’t new to the rodeo as the country’s oldest senior military college. The private military academy has accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees online. 

There is a zero application fee policy for all applicants regardless of which app was used – either the university’s in-house Norwich App or the national Common Application app. Nursing program applicants must use the NursingCAS app to enjoy a streamlined process. 

Supplemental documentation, such as standardized test scores and high school transcripts, must also be submitted. Financial aid, particularly FAFSA, should also be filed as early as possible to avoid inconvenience. 

Norwich has a rolling admissions process. This means applicants can send in their application and deposit beyond the stated deadline, but these will only be accepted depending on the availability of slots. 

Norwich is known for its uncommon academic rigor and, thus, its competitive admissions process doesn’t come as a surprise. The Office of Admissions makes a careful review of each applicant’s records. 

As shown by the courses taken in high school and the overall GPA, academic preparedness is the topmost consideration. While a résumé isn’t required, it’s highly recommended to showcase your suitability for Norwich’s community of students. Norwich seeks motivated and service-oriented students.  

Letters of recommendation, personal statements, and standardized scores are also optional but recommended to increase your chances of admission. Only applicants to the nursing program are required to submit SAT/ACT scores. 

Norwich offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, computer science and information systems, criminal justice, cybersecurity, strategic studies, and defense analysis. The tuition fee for these four-year degree programs is under $400 per credit hour but can be reduced through federal aid and scholarships. Online undergraduate students can apply for scholarships based on merit, talent, and financial need, as well as military discounts and legacy aid. 

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Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire 

All applicants to SNHU’s undergraduate degree programs don’t have to pay an application fee. This rule also applies to US students applying to the online graduate programs. Plus, applicants can rely on the staff to provide useful guidance to navigate the application process! 

The process itself consists of two primary steps. First, you must complete the online application and fill in the required fields. Second, consult with an admission counselor regarding the next steps. There’s no set deadline (i.e., rolling admissions), so you can submit your application at your convenient time and wait for the decision, which will only take a few days. 

Aside from the completed online application, you should submit the transcript release forms for all the institutions you’ve attended and an electronic attestation form. Students may apply for financial aid at this time through the FAFSA. 

Standardized test scores, such as SAT OR ACT for undergraduate students and GRE/GMAT for graduate students, aren’t required for application. Additional documentation, nonetheless, may also be required depending on your specific case. As for GPA requirements, SNHU has a wide range of undergraduate programs that accommodate low and high GPAs. 

As a non-profit, private university, SNHU has affordable tuition rates with an estimated $38,400 total tuition for a 120-credit undergraduate degree. Furthermore, transfer students can request for transfer of credits of up to 90 credits resulting in reduced overall costs. 

Student Financial Services counselors make it fast and easy for students to avail financial aid according to their financial needs. Aside from federal aid, scholarships, grants and loans, and military discounts increase the costs. 

SNHU, an accredited institution by the New England Commission of Higher Education, offers more than 200 online degree programs in several areas of study. These include business, accounting, finance, art and design, criminal justice, engineering, and education. 

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Loyola University Chicago

Chicago, Illinois 

LUC, an institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, welcomes applicants from all walks of life regardless of citizenship, race, and residency status. Plus, applying for admission is free of charge for all undergraduate and graduate applicants. As such, application fee waivers are neither filed nor granted because there’s no need for them. 

Considered a pioneer in online learning with its first online programs offered in 1998, Online Learning at Loyola currently offers several adult undergraduate degree completion programs. Graduate and certificate programs are also offered. LUC’s commitment to academic excellence characterizes on-campus and online programs through rigorous curricula, robust student support services, and Christ-centered education. 

Online students also receive outstanding support in the effective use of online learning technologies. The Jesuit tradition is woven through every course, and it’s a welcome one considering its emphasis on service, justice, and leadership. Students report getting excellent value for the money for their education partly due to LUC’s prestigious reputation, too. 

As a private university, LUC’s tuition fees are in the mid-range of the spectrum at about $46,000, excluding room and board and other related expenses. But with $29,800 as the average financial award, students enjoy 65% or more in tuition cost reduction!  

LUC also offers several generous scholarships that drive down the cost of a college education. Be sure to ask about the eligibility requirements, including the rules of stacking several scholarships. The best examples are: 

  • The Freshman Merit Scholarships are based on academic performance and cover tuition fees only. (Between $10,000 and $25,000) 
  • The School of Education Half Tuition Scholarships is granted to two incoming first-year students enrolled in the school. This cannot be stacked with other academic awards, however. 
  • The Ignatian Scholarship is a by-invitation-only scholarship that covers the entire tuition fee for the freshman year. 
  • The Cristo Rey Scholars Program is also a full-tuition scholarship. 
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Michigan Technological University

Houghton, Michigan 

Michigan Tech has university-wide accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and programmatic accreditation for many of its colleges. As a public research university, its annual undergraduate tuition is fairly affordable, but it’s different for Michigan and non-Michigan residents. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the estimated tuition is $16,600 (in-state) and $37,800 (out-of-state). 

Does that still seem a financial burden, given your current situation? There are many reasons to pursue your dream of a Michigan Tech education despite the initial hurdle! 

For one thing, applying to the university is free since there’s no application fee, easy since it’s done online, and convenient because there’s no deadline. You will save on application fees, traveling to the campus, and time spent attending to your application. 

Each program has specific admission requirements that must be completed before you can be considered for admission. Every school and college also has an admissions committee that reviews the applications. The applicants’ academic credentials, including transcripts, will be evaluated, although it must also be said that Michigan Tech is a lightly selective school. About 75% of applicants are admitted into the program. 

Most majors don’t require letters of recommendation and official standardized scores. But if you’re applying for merit-based scholarships, satisfactory scores are highly recommended. 

For another thing, Michigan Tech has plenty of financial aid options for its students. Aside from the FAFSA, these include the Leading Scholar Award, College of Business Impact Scholarship, and Working Families Scholarship. There are also automatic consideration scholarships like the Presidential Scholars Program, Michigan Tech Alumni Legacy Award, and Michigan Tech Transfer Scholarship. 

Michigan Tech’s online learning division also offers more than a hundred degree and certificate programs. The areas of study are as diverse as the student population, from engineering and geoinformatics to applied science education to health informatics. 

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American Public University System

Charles Town, West Virginia 

Getting into APSU, a for-profit online learning institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is easy considering its 100% acceptance rate. The fact that undergraduate applicants don’t have to pay an application fee makes APSU even more attractive! Take note, however, that post-graduate or doctoral applications have a $100 fee. 

The online application process is also fast, easy and convenient. Everything is done online, so travel expenses and time considerations aren’t an issue, and the entire process takes 10-15 minutes from start to finish. The steps can be summarized as follows: 

  • Choose your undergraduate program. APSU offers more than 200 degree and certificate programs, so that it can be a challenge. If necessary, you may use its program finder or ask for assistance from the staff. Standout programs include BA in Government Contracting and Acquisition, BA in Military History, and BA in International Relations and Global Security. 
  • Apply online. Be sure to complete the required fields in the application fee. 
  • Complete the admissions requirements with the assistance of an admissions representative. You’re well-advised to do so to complete the process promptly and properly. 
  • Register for your courses/classes based on your academic plan. Since APSU’s classes start every month, the course registration can start as soon as you’re admitted. 

Of course, payments for tuition and related fees must be made for registration purposes! The current undergraduate rate is less than $300 per credit, and it may seem fairly high until you consider the financial aid options. These include federal student aid, military, and veteran discounts, and employer benefits, as well as scholarships. 

Plus, APSU doesn’t impose fees on its textbooks and e-books for all students in its undergraduate programs! There’s also no fee for transfer credit evaluation. 

Students who still have to pay out-of-pocket costs, such as part of the tuition and fees, can avail of APSU’s installment plan. APSU recommends discussing your installment plan at least six weeks before the start of classes. 

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Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona 

With its 90,000+ online students, GCU is considered among the world’s largest Christian universities. The for-profit university with its Higher Learning Commission accreditation as well as programmatic accreditation is a national university. Aside from offering quality education with flexible options, its students and alumni report a transformative experience.  

GCU doesn’t impose an application fee either. Applicants should be 16 years old and above to be considered for admission into their undergraduate programs. While GCU adopts non-discriminatory practices, its admissions officers seek applicants with diverse perspectives, experiences, and contributions. 

Students should live up to standards of academic excellence with enthusiasm, creativity, and Christian values whenever possible. But GCU doesn’t require a statement of religious affiliation from applicants, with the obvious exception of students in the College of Theology. 

GCU offers undergraduate and graduates degree programs in a wide range of areas: Business, education, fine arts and production, humanities and social sciences, nursing and healthcare, science, engineering and technology, and theology. Every program has its specific admission criteria and requirements. 

But all students must submit their official transcripts before they can be considered for full admission. Students who don’t meet the university’s GPA standards may submit satisfactory test scores for the same purpose. 

Yet another great thing about GCU is that in-state and out-of-state tuition rates are the same, not to mention that these have not changed since 2009. The $16,000+ annual tuition can also be reduced by more than 50% through federal aid, institutional scholarships, and other financial aid forms. 

Active duty military personnel and active reserve military members can also get reduced tuition rates. GCU has also established partnerships with organizations and employers across the nation for scholarships.

With such affordable private school tuition combined with generous financial aid options, it’s no wonder that GCU’s four-year graduation rate is among the highest! Online students have a 65% graduation rate. 

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University of Dayton

Dayton, Ohio 

Interested individuals who submit their application either to the University of Dayton Application portal or the Common Application website won’t have to pay an application fee. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, UD is a highly ranked institution known for being among the best-run colleges and giving the best value. Such is its conducive atmosphere that it’s also home to the happiest students! 

UD’s Online Learning Division is just as well-regarded for the exceptional quality of its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. These programs are characterized by their small student-to-faculty ratio, convenient asynchronous classes, and top-notch education. The programs include BSE in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, MSE in Educational Leadership, and MSE in Literacy. 

Aside from the no application fee rule, UD attracts the best and brightest in Dayton and the Buckeye State, even across the country, because of its streamlined application process. You will find it fast and easy, particularly as test scores aren’t an admission requirement. Additional documentation, nonetheless, will be required. 

Don’t worry about the tuition cost of a private Catholic research university education either! The direct undergraduate cost is nearly $44,900 (2021-2022). But since every applicant is automatically considered for UD’s generous merit scholarships, it isn’t a stumbling block anymore. A merit scholarship can be as much as $121,000, and you’re automatically eligible for whichever application path you choose – UD’s Application, Common Application, or Coalition Application. 

With more than 98% of UD’s undergraduate students getting financial aid, the tuition isn’t as daunting as it seems. You will also pay the same tuition for the entirety of your four-year stay in the university; there are no increases in net tuition. You can also apply for textbook scholarships, aside from the fact that there are no lab, orientation, and other fees and surcharges imposed on students. 

And, if that doesn’t make UD such a great school already, students are provided with a clear overview of the tuition and other costs during their four-year stay. That’s in writing, to boot! 

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Colorado Technical University

Colorado Springs, Colorado 

With over 140 degree programs in a wide array of fields, CTU is a well-regarded private, for-profit university with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Many of its programs, such as electrical engineering and business degree programs, have programmatic accreditation, too. The degree programs are in accounting, business administration, healthcare management, computer science, and nursing. 

CTU prides itself on being a university that connects its students and alumni with the best resources and networks in achieving their aspirations. The connection may well start with its no application fee rule for undergraduate applicants. But connecting with an admissions advisor is the recommended first step, whether done in person or through a phone call. 

The first admission document required is a high school diploma or its GED equivalent. Applicants may be asked in the future for supplemental information or documentation. 

CTU Online currently offers 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Every program is known for its flexible scheduling, academic rigor, and credentialed faculty members. The programs are also relevant to the times and the industries, so there’s no academe-industry gap. Indeed, CTU is recognized for its online programs, particularly thier graduate IT programs. 

The 2021 tuition is around $340 per credit for the associate and bachelor’s degree programs. Don’t be discouraged, as CTU has several civilian financial aids and military discounts for its students! FAFSA is a given but be sure to check out state aid and institutional scholarships. 

CTU also has its Fast Track Exams, where eligible students can take several mini-modules that test their current knowledge and skills related to key course objectives. If you pass these exams, you can earn college credits to shorten your stay in college and reduce the costs by up to 30%. 

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Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Indiana 

IWU National & Global is the online school of Indiana Wesleyan University, a private evangelical Christian university with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The 8,000-strong adult and online learners come across Indiana and the United States, seeking quality higher education even from abroad. 

The online university offers more than 100 associate and bachelor’s degrees, master’s and post-master’s, doctoral degree programs, and certificate programs. The areas of study include accounting, addictions counseling, aviation management, and business administration. The theology-related programs are among the most popular, such as biblical studies, Christian ministries, and Christian ministry leadership. 

And you will find it less burdensome to apply to these online programs, too! Since July 2014, IWU suspended its application fee for most of its online programs. Applicants can then get it out of the way and focus on gaining admission into IWU through their academic and personal merits. 

IWU’s programs are known for their effective combination of theory and practice, contributing to a vibrant learning environment and increased employment prospects. In the end, an IWU college education must also lead to viable employment while also resulting in a love for learning and a strong set of Christ-centered values.  

But IWU is a private school with annual tuition fees estimated at nearly $29,000 (2021-2022). It could be a financial burden for many students if not for the numerous scholarships and grants offered. Some of these financial aid options even cover up to 75% of the tuition fees, such as the Wesleyan Pastor and Dependent Benefit programs. 

Check out the $1,000 Alumni Scholarship and the military preferred tuition discount. The latter is available for active-duty military personnel and National Guard members, and DOD and DHS employees. Retirees, veterans, reservists, and surviving spouses, as well as dependent children, can also apply. The award results in a reduced $250 per credit rate for undergraduate students and a 25% tuition discount for graduate students. 

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University of St. Francis

Joliet, Illinois

The University of St. Francis (USF), a Catholic university accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has excellent graduate business degree programs. This private university’s online offerings are just as competitive in quality and affordability, a combination that makes for a great value. 

First-year and transfer students can apply for free, too. There’s no application fee whether you apply through the USF website or the Common Applications portal. This applies to the 120-plus online courses and 26 online degree programs, too, meaning that USF is among the more accessible universities in the US. 

Every applicant will also be assigned an admission counselor who will assist in the entire admission process. Each student is also provided with a checklist of admission requirements, completed to be considered for full admission. These include high school transcripts with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and SAT score of 1030 or ACT score of 20, at least. 

A USF education comes with a price, too. The estimated annual undergraduate tuition fee is $35,000, and it can be a burden for disadvantaged students. Fortunately, USF is among the more generous universities for financial aid, with about 96% of its undergraduate students receiving financial aid. The university itself offers institutional scholarships to the tune of more than $16 million every year, consisting of leadership, merit, and talent-based grants. 

Incoming students are automatically considered for many of these types of financial aid. 100% of freshman classes receive some form of it! The tuition reduction aid ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 for every academic year aside from the full-tuition scholarships. 

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Maryville University

St. Louis, Missouri

Maryville University’s official accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission is just one proof that its liberal arts-centric education meets, even exceeds, education standards. Its online school offers 30 bachelor’s degree programs in diverse areas, including business administration, accounting, computer science, criminal justice, communications, and nursing. 

While it’s an old school – it was established nearly 150 years ago – it’s known for its technological innovations. It’s an Apple Distinguished School for 2018-2021 due to its consistent track record in this area. Its Cyber Fusion Center is also recognized for its user-friendly design and innovative features. 

Becoming a Saints is easy on the pocket, too! There are no application fees and entrance exams to think of, aside from the transfer credit-friendly policies. The admission process is simplified and streamlined so applicants can focus on more important aspects, such as getting ready for college. Maryville also has flexible start dates and provides student support services for incoming new students, transferees, and current students. 

The admission requirements are a high school diploma or GED equivalent and official high school transcripts. There’s no need for SAT/ACT scores and letters of recommendation. But the cumulative high school GPA must be 2.5 minimum for incoming first-year students. 

A Maryville undergraduate education comes with an estimated $24,700 price tag. Tuition reduction schemes are aplenty at Maryville, so the price isn’t as burdensome as it sounds at first. Federal aid grants, state scholarships, and institutional scholarships are available, and some can even be stacked. Examples include University Scholars and Presidential & Trustee scholarships, which can cover full tuition. 

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Elmhurst University

Elmhurst, Illinois

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Elmhurst University is known for its strong liberal arts-oriented programs. The university has at least 70 bachelor’s degree programs along with 15 pre-professional programs. Students have the opportunity to customize their education, too, based on their personal and professional goals. 

The graduate school offers 17 degree programs and numerous graduate-level certificates. As with undergraduate school, students can build their education based on their interests, priorities, and schedule. 

Better yet, the online application is free! Applicants can submit their high school or college transcripts, whichever applies, via email or mail, which ups the convenience factor. ACT or SAT scores are only required with less than 12 credit hours of credit eligible for transfer. Letters of recommendation and essays are required for admission purposes. 

The competitive admission process can challenge students who may not have a good GPA and standardized test scores. Students must have a GPA of 2.5 (minimum).  

Getting admitted as a student is only half the battle! The tuition fee for full-time students is an estimated $19,500 per term, excluding room and board and other incidental expenses. The good news is that Elmhurst has a wide range of financial aid opportunities for incoming first-year and transfer students. Many of these scholarships even cover as much as 50% of all tuition and costs. 

Most Elmhurst students have received financial aid in one form or another, with the average award being approximately $26,000 per student. Financial aid comes in federal and state aid, scholarships, and grants, both institutional and outside the university. Tuition reduction schemes are also open for military and veterans, and Elmhurst is a Yellow Ribbon School. 

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University of Scranton

Scranton, Pennsylvania

The University of Scranton has three colleges that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Middle States Commission accredits the Jesuit university itself on Higher Education for this reason. 

The College of Arts and Sciences comprises biology, chemistry, history, theology, physics, and engineering. The Kania School of Management includes the accounting, economics and finance, management, marketing, and entrepreneurship departments. The Panuska College of Professional Studies consists of the education, nursing, and physical therapy departments. Together, these colleges offer more than 65 undergraduate and 29 master’s degree programs in addition to doctoral programs in nursing, physical therapy, and business administration. 

Applicants may use the free Common Application portal. Applying during your senior year in high school is recommended, so there’s ample time to comply with the requirements. Paper applications aren’t accepted, not to mention that online applications are easier for all parties concerned. 

Being admitted into Scranton may well be one of your best decisions in life, too! Scranton is recognized for its value by US News & World Report, Forbes, and Money Magazine and is a top-notch institution. 

Upon admission, every student will be considered for the university’s generous academic scholarships. There are no separate applications required. Students who have qualified for the scholarships are notified through their acceptance letters. 

The scholarships are handy, too, considering that the annual tuition for undergraduate students is estimated at $48,000 exclusive of other fees. The university has provided more than $24 million in scholarships and other financial aid forms, and 99% of its students were provided with financial aid. The average package consisted of $37,000 for each student. 

The most notable scholarships are the Presidential Scholarship (full tuition, merit) and Dean’s Scholarship, Loyola Scholarship, and Arrupe Scholarship (all partial tuition, merit). 

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Chatham University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Chatham University, an accredited private university by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has only admitted men in 2015! While it may have a small student body, it offers exceptional undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs and first-professional degrees. These are in diverse areas, including arts and sciences, business, health sciences, sustainability, and the environment. 

Undergraduate applicants must create an account through the Chatham website or at the Common Applications portal. Applications are free, meaning it’s one less thing to worry about. Admissions counselors are ready to assist so that applicants can make informed decisions about their major, financial aid package, and other matters. Incoming students can even be connected with other students as well as faculty and staff for pertinent activities. 

Online students must complete an undergraduate admission and submit official academic transcripts, personal statements, and a letter of recommendation. Transfer students can transfer 24 credits to avoid submitting their test scores or official high school transcripts. Articulation agreements make transfer credits easier, too. 

Chatham has a rolling admissions policy. This means your application can be accepted at any time of the year, and you can choose from any of the multiple start dates. The online courses have six start dates, two in the fall, spring, and summer terms. 

With Chatham being a private university, its annual tuition is just a little under $40,000 (2021-2022). But it isn’t as onerous as it seems, even for disadvantaged students, due to the generous coverage of its scholarship programs. 

Full-tuition scholarships, such as the Presidential Scholarship and Rachel Carson Scholarship, both are renewable and can cover a four-year stay. Military and veteran discounts are also available aside from the merit scholarship, which has an award ranging between $3,000 and $18,000 per year. 

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Brescia University

Owensboro, Kentucky

Officially recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges, Brescia University offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. A top-ranked regional college in the South, a small student body, attests to its commitment to academic excellence and student support. 

Becoming a Bearcat is more affordable, too, starting with the university’s no application fee policy when you apply online. Brescia also has an online division known as BUonline, where students enjoy the benefits of outstanding education at their convenience. The alternative learning environment welcomes first-year students, transfer students, and non-traditional students, including working professionals.  

More than ten programs range from certificate and associate to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in BUonline. All programs can be completed 100% online. Most of the courses are accelerated eight-week format to complete their degrees faster without compromising educational quality. The areas of study are business, psychology, integrated studies, liberal arts, education, human services, theology, and accounting. 

Despite its private university status, Brescia has more affordable tuition fees than other private liberal arts institutions. BUonline tuition is just over $400 per credit hour, but significant reductions are possible through institutional scholarships and federal aid, among others. 

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Point Park University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Point Park University offers several online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with its Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation. The flexible schedules, conducive learning environment, and high academic standards attract students from Pennsylvania and the US. All online applications are also free, so there’s a reduced financial burden on incoming freshman and transfer students. 

There’s also no deadline for applications, thanks to the rolling admissions policy. Applicants can also choose the test-optional admissions route and be considered for the scholarship without a separate application. Indeed, Point Park makes it easier for motivated individuals from all walks of life to become Pioneers! 

The wide array of undergraduate degree programs demonstrates Point Park’s thrust toward serving the needs of diverse students. The areas of study include interdisciplinary studies, public relations and advertising, business administration and management, and criminal justice. The post-baccalaureate programs are in accounting, human resource management, and marketing and sales. 

Point Park emphasizes the accessibility of its degree programs by implementing a uniform tuition structure for both in-state, out-of-state and international students. At around $500 per credit, it’s fairly affordable when financial aid, including scholarships, are included in net tuition computation. More than 90% of its students receive financial aid in various forms and amounts. 

These include FAFSA, the federal aid program, and merit-based scholarships with award amounts ranging from $12,000 to $22,000 per year for every qualified student. The university assists students interested in financial aid starting from the admission process, and online students are also provided with the same service. 

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Johnson & Wales University

Providence, Rhode Island

JWU is a private, non-profit university accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and other programmatic accrediting organizations. Known primarily for its outstanding culinary arts program, it also has a well-deserved reputation for its business and hospitality programs. Indeed, it’s among the world’s largest educators in food service, if not the largest already. 

Aside from the free application, JWU makes it easier for incoming students to apply and be admitted into the university. With an acceptance rate of 41% in 2020, it’s a more selective institution that seeks students to pursue academic excellence. Undergraduate applicants should send in their high school transcripts and other pertinent documents. 

As JWU students know, Wildcats typically pay less than the sticker tuition fee of about $35,800 per academic year. Other fees include new student fees, student activity fees, and Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). The tuition fee can be reduced through scholarships, including the Georgia Hope Scholarship, JWU California Scholarship, Life Scholarship, and Presidential Academic Scholarship. 

If there’s still a balance for payment after scholarships have been deducted, JWU offers easy payment plans. These include annual payment, fall semester, spring semester, and monthly payment plans. 

JWU has several colleges where a wide variety of majors and minors are offered. The John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences, College of Food Innovation & Technology, College of Business, and College of Engineering & Design are a few of these colleges. The College of Online Education provides its students with the same high-quality education in the on-campus programs. 

Online students also benefit from the small class sizes, generous transfer policies, and personal advising services. The faculty members bring their expertise and experience to the table and, thus, transfer their knowledge to their students. 

Associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs and certificate programs are on the menu. The areas of study in JWU’s online school are just as diverse! These include business, criminal justice, engineering, hospitality, and psychology. 

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LeTourneau University

Longview, Texas

LETU, a private university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is known for its technical focus. Most of its undergraduate degree programs are in engineering, computer science and aeronautics, and education and business. Graduate degree programs are in business and management in all of its campuses and online. 

The Yellow Jackets are encouraged to be makers, creators, and doers because the university believes that it is in doing that individuals learn. LETU is small enough to provide personalized student experiences but large enough to become a place for academic excellence. Since it’s an interdenominational Christian university, students and graduates are also encouraged to spread the gospel as part of their daily life. 

Application to LETU is free, including for its online programs. The education itself isn’t free, but it’s more affordable than other private colleges! The annual tuition ranges from $9,500 to $12,900 (estimated), depending on the program type and the number of credits. There are other fees to consider, such as transcript and portfolio assessment fees, but these are affordable. 

More than 90% of Yellow Jackets receive financial aid, too, so the tuition fee isn’t a deal-breaker. Federal aid is available, but students must file as early as possible. LETU has institutional scholarships, too, many of which provide significant coverage. Examples are the Bruce McMilan Jr. Endowed Scholarship, Columbia Energy Endowed Scholarship, and Rhonda Brock Endowed Scholarship. 

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Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, Texas 

DBU offers more than 80 majors and 30 minors in its undergraduate department with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges. Many of its colleges also have programmatic accreditation, such as the State Board for Educator Certification, Collegiate Business Schools & Programs Association, and the National Association of Schools of Music. 

Applying to its DBU Online degree programs is for free, too. Incoming first-year students must submit their initial transcripts showing the current GPA upon application. But the official transcripts must be submitted after graduation to be considered for full admission. Standardized test scores are required when applying for merit scholarships. 

The Christian Leadership Scholarship is the most popular financial aid offered to Patriots. Letters of recommendation from your pastor and teacher are required, and an interview is a must for selection purposes. 

Other scholarship programs are: 

  • Dean’s Honor Award ($10,000/year) 
  • Presidential Scholar Award ($12,000/year) 
  • University Honors Program ($10,000-$14,000/year) 
  • Chapel Worship
  • Baptist Student Ministry
  • Phi Theta Kappa

These scholarships go a long way in decreasing tuition fee payments. The average annual tuition and fees are around $32,000, but many students can get around $24,400 in average annual financial aid. Federal aid and grants also mean more tuition reductions. 

And a DBU education is worth it! Graduates find viable employment within 6-12 months after earning their degree. The degree programs are also relevant, up-to-date, and meet industry standards. 

The areas of study include accounting, commercial art, business administration, biology, cybersecurity, and criminal justice. DBU being a Christian university means that its programs in Christian ministries, Christian studies, and biblical studies take center stage. 

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Baker University

Baldwin City, Kansas

Baker University has general accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and programmatic accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. This private liberal arts-centric institution has strong Christian roots dating back to 1858. 

There’s no application fee, and BU has a rolling admissions policy. Applicants are notified of the admission decision two weeks after BU has received the necessary documents. 

Applicants can choose between two admissions processes. First, the traditional process involves the submission of a completed online application form. Official transcripts and ACT/SAT scores must be submitted, too. 

Second, the test-optional process is for applicants with at least an unweighted, cumulative 3.0 high school GPA and outstanding grades in math, English, science, and social sciences. A completed online application, transcripts, letter of recommendation, and writing sample must also be submitted. 

BU has an online division that offers non-traditional students the flexibility, convenience, and affordability of online learning. Both undergraduate degrees and individual courses are offered, so there’s always a choice. 

The degree programs are in business administration with concentrations in business leadership, management, marketing, criminal justice, and psychology. Associate and bachelor’s degrees are offered in these areas. 

BU’s tuition is fairly affordable, but there are also financial aid options to lighten the load. The annual tuition for full-time undergraduates is approximately $31,000 or roughly $15,000 per semester. But tuition reduction schemes can result in significant savings. 

FAFSA is just one form of financial aid that all Wildcats can apply for. Scholarship opportunities abound, too, with full tuition rides like the Edward Lin Harter & Sylvia Lloyd Harter Scholarship and the Ada Hopkins Lake Endowed Scholarship being prime examples. 


In conclusion, the no application fee policy will attract incoming college students because it’s one less expense. Check out these 20 schools and decide for yourself if one of them meets your criteria for the best college experience.