Level 1: Elementary
The high cost of a college education keeps some students from even thinking about going to college. Some schools in the United States want to help those students by offering them free or reduced tuition.
Schools offering free or reduced tuition include community colleges with two-year study programs and a number of four-year colleges. Some require students to pay for room and board — or for housing and food. They also may have to pay for books and other school supplies.
The “free tuition” colleges include the U.S. military academies, which require military service for some years after graduation. Others are called “work colleges” because students must work part-time on campus to pay for some of their costs.
How do these colleges pay their bills without receiving tuition payments? For many, it is a mix of endowments — large amounts of money given to a school — and other financial gifts or grants.
Berea College, in rural Berea, Kentucky, does not charge tuition. The school looks for students who would otherwise struggle to pay for college.
“You have to be economically disadvantaged to get in,” Richard Cahill told VOA. He is a history professor and Director of the Center for International Education at Berea.
“We try to take the brightest of economically disadvantaged students to give them a world-class education,” he said. The college has a history of helping people with less since 1855. It was started by a man who opposed slavery. And from its beginning, black and white students, male and female, studied together.
Now, there are 1,600 students, and just over 25 percent are black. Over six percent are international students who come from more than 70 countries. Cahill says every year the school accepts 30 out of 3,000 foreign students who compete for admission online. Students work 10 to 20 hours a week on the Berea campus, to pay for room and board and books.