Three Ways to Attend College for Free

Paying for college is challenging for almost everyone. Between scholarships, grants and loans, it is often complicated to find the best way to afford college. But there is a solution! These three scholarship programs could pay for all four years of your college education!


Posse seeks to “expand the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds.” Posse partner universities and colleges include Dartmouth College, Hamilton College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Vassar College, Middlebury College, Cornell University and many others. If selected as a Posse scholar, you will have the opportunity to attend a Posse partner college for free! Posse assesses applicants through a Dynamic Assessment Process which includes a set of interviews. To be eligible to become a Posse scholar, you must fit these requirements:

  • You must be nominated by your high school or a community-based organization.
  • You must live in Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York or Washington D.C.
  • You must be in the first semester of senior year of high school.
  • You must demonstrate your academic potential and your leadership within your high school, community or family.


QuestBridge matches students who show strong academic potential with colleges across the country. QuestBridge pays for four-years of college education for all accepted students! To be eligible for the QuestBridge program, you must fit these requirements:

  • You must be a student currently attending high school in the United States, regardless of citizenship.
  • Your household earnings must be less that $65,000 annually for a family of four.
  • You must be in the top 5-10% of your graduating class with mostly A's and strong SAT/ACT scores.

To apply, you will need to provide these materials:

  • Your answers to the free, online National College Match application, including information on your academic and extracurricular accomplishments and financial background, along with two essays and short answer questions.
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers in core academic subjects.
  • A Secondary School Report from your high school counselor.
  • A high school transcript.
  • All standardized test score reports to date.

3) Excelsior Scholarship

If you live in New York State and meet specific requirements, you can go to college for free! To be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be a resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • You must have a combined federal-adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less.
  • You must be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University.
  • For more qualifications, check here.