Online Colleges Without Application Fees

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average cost of a college application fee in 2016 was $42, and applications at highly ranked universities can cost much more. California’s Stanford University, for example, charges $90 — over twice the average amount. College application fees quickly add up, and can become another worrisome expense for cash-strapped students.

As the average student will submit around six applications and SAT scores when applying for college, they can end up spending hundreds of dollars in application fees, and all before even thinking about tuition.

Fortunately, there are many online colleges without application fees. Several others — even those that generally charge on the higher side — accept resources to help lower college admission costs, such as the Common Application, Universal College Application, and fee waivers.

NACAC waivers, for example, are for students planning to go to college straight after high school (speak to your high school counselor to find out if you’re eligible). Alternatively, you may qualify for an SAT Fee Waiver, which waives fees for SAT scores and allows up to four free college applications. You can also simply request a waiver directly from your prospective college, for which you may be immediately eligible depending on your financial situation. Bear in mind that not every school accepts fee waivers, though (here’s a list of schools that do).

Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of online colleges with no application fees. The following ranking of online colleges does not necessarily include those that accept waived fees, but are confirmed not to charge for admission.


25 Online Colleges Without Application Fees
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Nazarene Bible College

Value Score 7.33
Average Tuition $10,800
Net Price $13,037
Graduation Rate 40%
Student to Faculty Ratio 9:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Retention Rate 98%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 89%
Number of Online Programs 5

Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs has been offering online courses since 1998. Since the school started eLearning, Nazarene has seen completion rates much higher than the national average. The college is one of 10 higher education institutions in the U.S. affiliated with the church of the Nazarene. Many students find financial help from their local church to make tuition more affordable. Prospective students can apply online without any college application fees, and admission is not competitive. Most programs and courses at Nazarene are also available online, including the bachelor of art in ministry.


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2

University of St Francis

Value Score 6.97
Average Tuition $29,630
Net Price $13,365
Graduation Rate 65%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 50%
Retention Rate 25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 4

Located in Joliet, Illinois, University of St. Francis is among the best online colleges with no application fees. The Franciscan, Catholic university enrolls about 2,000 students a year through its online classes, many of whom are adult learners. The small school has intimate online class sizes of 16.5. Transfer students are eligible for scholarships and grants. Students can enroll in online, accelerated programs for business, nursing, and healthcare. USF is the largest online education provider in Illinois with more than 120 courses available.


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3

Mississippi University for Women

Value Score 6.85
Average Tuition $5,681
Net Price $10,012
Graduation Rate 49%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 96%
Retention Rate 38%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 63%
Number of Online Programs 6

Mississippi University for Women became the first public women’s college in the U.S. in 1884. The now coeducational university has expanded beyond its Columbus, Mississippi, campus with online education. MUW is one of only a few online colleges without application fees and offers a number of master’s and certificate degrees online. MUW is also home to the 2+2 hybrid learning program, which lets students earn bachelor degrees in a number of fields with two years of community college learning and two years of online education. MUW accepts transfer students and allows students in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana pay in-state tuition.


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4

Touro University Worldwide

Value Score 6.83
Average Tuition $14,400
Net Price $15,017
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Retention Rate 31%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92%
Number of Online Programs 4

Touro University Worldwide is committed to a moral and practical education. TUW is part of the Jewish-founded, nonprofit Touro College and University System, which includes digital and brick and mortar campuses. Students can start before any of the six, eight-week terms and can enroll online through the school’s free college applications. Headquartered in Los Alamitos, California, TUW is accredited throughout the U.S. and operated completely online. Undergraduate students can transfer up to 90 credits and master’s students can transfer 25% of their program credit load. Students can earn a degree in four subject areas: business, general studies, health and human services, and psychology.


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5

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Value Score 6.78
Average Tuition $28,932
Net Price $15,355
Graduation Rate 50%
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 59%
Retention Rate 43%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 25

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, founded by Indiana’s first canonized saint, Mother Theodore Guerin, in 1840, is a private, Catholic college that recently became coeducational. Located in Indiana, SMWC offers a range of associate and bachelor’s degrees online, including marketing, theology, and education. The school incorporates Catholic values and spirituality into many of its programs and has required theology courses and service learning options. SMWC is one of the online colleges with no application fee, and the school offers experiential credit. The college features small class sizes and has rolling admission with five start times throughout the year.


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6

Siena Heights University

Value Score 6.66
Average Tuition $23,320
Net Price $12,059
Graduation Rate 37%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 77%
Retention Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 26

Siena Heights University is located in Adrian, Michigan, on a 55-acre, rural campus. The college, which waives application fees, also offers courses at several other campuses throughout the Wolverine state and online. Students can earn online bachelor’s degrees in accounting, education, business, nursing, information technology, and other subjects. More than 90% of students at SHU receive some form of financial aid, and students can work with financial aid advisors to figure out the details. Online students have access to many student resources, including career services.


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7

Grace Bible College

Value Score 6.53
Average Tuition $11,514
Net Price $10,552
Graduation Rate 53%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 81%
Retention Rate 54%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 3

Online learners can apply to Grace Bible College without paying for application fees. The evangelical Christian school, affiliated with Grace Gospel Fellowship, offers undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs online. Programs include a master of arts in ministry, bachelor's and graduate degrees in business, and human services. Adult education programs are offered completely online or once a week at the school's campuses in Grand Rapids and Wyoming, Michigan. Grace’s curriculum emphasizes biblical learning, ministry, and Christian values. The college states a dual purpose in its education of preparing students to serve the church and society.


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8

Graceland University - Lamoni

Value Score 6.53
Average Tuition $25,420
Net Price $14,454
Graduation Rate 52%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 47%
Retention Rate 28%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 99%
Number of Online Programs 2

Graceland University, located in Iowa, offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, education, business, and religion. The school has several satellite campuses in addition to its online classrooms and was founded in the 1890s by the Community of Christ. Graceland is among the nonsectarian, private online colleges with no application fee. Graceland began offering online learning in 2000 and has several programs offered exclusively to distance learners. The university stresses community and individual dedication. The average GPA of an accepted student is 3.23.


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9

Mount Mercy University

Value Score 6.51
Average Tuition $28,226
Net Price $12,778
Graduation Rate 65%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 60%
Retention Rate 35%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 12%
Number of Online Programs 3

Mount Mercy University, one of only a few colleges without application fees, offers four programs completely online. Students from all over the U.S. and the globe can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in business, criminal justice, or nursing. Online learners benefit from the same faculty and services as students at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, main campus. MMU was founded on improving five areas of “critical concern”: earth, immigration, violence, racism, and women's issues. The school’s online and campus programs reflect these concerns.


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10

University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne

Value Score 6.44
Average Tuition $26,250
Net Price $12,180
Graduation Rate 56%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 95%
Retention Rate 39%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 51%
Number of Online Programs 4

University of Saint Francis, founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a liberal arts college for Midwestern students. The Catholic university reaches students all over the U.S. through distance learning based in the twin Franciscan virtues of faith and reason. Students can study business administration, environmental health, education, nursing, and sustainability through USF’s online portal. Online resources include tutoring, advising, and financial aid services. USF is among online colleges with no application fee. The affordable online programs can often be completed in less than one year.


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11

Jones College - Jacksonville

Value Score 6.42
Average Tuition $7,560
Net Price $6,689
Graduation Rate 13%
Student to Faculty Ratio 7:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Retention Rate 31%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 69%
Number of Online Programs 4

Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida, is a nationally accredited, nonprofit, private college that was founded in 1918. The school offers a robust selection of online courses. Bachelor’s degrees in business, information systems, and interdisciplinary studies as well as associate degrees are available to students online. Florida residents also have the option to earn a BS in legal assistance. Student communication and assignments are all handled in Jones College online portal and students must attend a one-hour virtual orientation prior to beginning classes. Jones College does not charge application fees.


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12

McKendree University

Value Score 6.39
Average Tuition $26,930
Net Price $14,123
Graduation Rate 56%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 63%
Retention Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 33%
Number of Online Programs 8

McKendree University, located in Lebanon, Illinois, was founded in 1828 as Lebanon Seminary and is the oldest university in the state. The small, private college is affiliated with the Methodist church and offers bachelor’s degree in business, nursing, criminal justice, and psychology to students through online learning. The school also offers several master’s degree programs and a doctor of nursing practice online. McKendree is among the small number of online colleges with no application fee and offers tuition assistance. Online classes are capped at 20 students to keep class sizes small.


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13

Northwest Christian University

Value Score 6.38
Average Tuition $27,100
Net Price $15,933
Graduation Rate 50%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 68%
Retention Rate 33%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 7

Affiliated with The Disciples of Christ church, Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon, is dedicated to “wisdom, faith, and service” as part of a Christian community. NCU teaches courses to adult learners with evening and online courses. Programs include education, nursing, business, and accounting. NCU is one of the schools with no application fee and a rolling admission with matriculation at the start of each of the six, eight-week terms. Online students have access to all academic and veteran services. Business and accounting students have access to online tutors through as well.


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14

Ferris State University

Value Score 6.38
Average Tuition $10,970
Net Price $8,365
Graduation Rate 49%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 78%
Retention Rate 24%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 14

Founded and named for former Michigan governor and senator Woodbridge Nathan Ferris, Ferris State University was started as an industrial school in Big Rapids. FSU has maintained its original goal of delivering marketable skills to students through its many satellite campuses and online programs. Distance learners can apply to FSU without paying a fee. Online programs include an MBA, a master's in nursing, a bachelor’s in dental hygiene, and a BS in allied health science. Distance learners have access to FSU career services, academic support, and tutoring. FSU offers a digital student orientation and online readiness course for prospective and new students. A majority of students at this public university take part in internships.


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15

Concordia University - Nebraska

Value Score 6.33
Average Tuition $26,810
Net Price $15,853
Graduation Rate 59%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 77%
Retention Rate 32%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 2

Concordia University is a private university in Seward, Nebraska, and part of the Concordia University System. CU-Nebraska is one of the few colleges without application fees and allows students to apply online in three easy steps. Distance learners can enroll in more than 12 graduate programs, including MBAs, M.Eds., and MHSs. Many of the online courses are also available on campus or hybrid. CU-Nebraska, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has a dual focus on Christian community and academics. Both faith and service are core principles to the school’s mission.


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16

Presbyterian College

Value Score 6.32
Average Tuition $33,200
Net Price $12,646
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 62%
Retention Rate 20%
Number of Online Programs 39

Presbyterian College is a small, private liberal arts school affiliated with the Christian denomination. PC is focused on small classroom sizes and interdisciplinary critical thinking. Students are encouraged to practice and learn about religion and faith through ministry or service. Located in Clinton, South Carolina, PC was founded shortly after the American Civil War. PC is among the colleges without application fees. PC also accepts transfer and international students.


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17

Bethel College-Indiana

Value Score 6.21
Average Tuition $26,240
Net Price $13,175
Graduation Rate 63%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 66%
Retention Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 2

Bethel College, located in Mishawaka, Indiana, is a small, private, Christian college that serves students all over the country through online programs. Students can earn bachelor’s degrees in ministry, business, and social science. Master's degrees include teaching, counseling, and business. As one of the online colleges with no application fee, students can apply for free. Bethel College offers students a flexible schedule with the expectation of about 15 hours of class work each week, with variations depending on course of study. Adult learners have the option of evening classes on campus or online learning. Courses are taught in seven-week terms and tutoring is available. Learners also have the opportunity for experiential credit.


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18

University of Houston - Victoria

Value Score 6.20
Average Tuition $5,484
Net Price $8,645
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Admissions Rate 53%
Retention Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 80%
Number of Online Programs 12

Distance learners can apply to the University of Houston-Victoria for free. UHV is among the online colleges with no application fee and one of four institutions that comprise the University of Houston System. Online students use Blackboard Learning services as an online portal and communication system. Distance learners have access to the Student Success Center which offers peer tutoring, testing services, writing assistance, and other resources. UHV has small class sizes. Transfer students are welcome, and UHV has a partnership with several regional community colleges for a seamless transition.


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19

Chatham University

Value Score 6.20
Average Tuition $33,200
Net Price $15,498
Graduation Rate 56%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 54%
Retention Rate 26%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 2

Chatham University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, began as a women’s college in the 1860s. The school has become a coeducational liberal arts university with a focus on environmental issues and sustainability. Chatham’s most famous alumnus is Rachel Carson, author of the movement-inspiring book “Silent Spring” in 1962. Students around the U.S. can study at Chatham online through its College for Continuing and Professional Studies. Chatham offers free college applications. Online programs include nursing, health science, business, design, and communication. Nearly one-third of students are transfer students and are able to bring in 90 credits.


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20

Freed-Hardeman University

Value Score 6.18
Average Tuition $21,500
Net Price $14,647
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 91%
Retention Rate 78%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 20%
Number of Online Programs 9

Freed-Hardeman University is a private, Christian university with a campus in Henderson, Tennessee. Associated with the Churches of Christ, the school includes residential and online undergraduate and graduate programs. All programs at Freed-Hardeman are taught with Christian values and focus on faith and practice. Master’s programs include behavioral studies. The program can be taken through web conferencing or as a hybrid program, it includes 60 hours of coursework. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA. Freed-Hartman is one of the online colleges with no application fee.


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21

University of Mount Olive

Value Score 6.17
Average Tuition $18,400
Net Price $10,763
Graduation Rate 39%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 50%
Retention Rate 26%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 2

North Carolina’s University of Mount Olive provides a variety of programs to distance learners all across the world through its online platform. Students can apply for free by completing an application and submitting transcripts. UMO is among the U.S. schools with no application fee. Associate, bachelor's, and master’s degrees are all offered online in fields such as nursing, education, criminology, and general studies. Courses are taught asynchronously, and transfer students are accepted. UMO is a faith-based, private university affiliated with the Original Free Will Baptist Convention.


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22

Chadron State College

Value Score 6.11
Average Tuition $4,410
Net Price $8,508
Graduation Rate 42%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Retention Rate 31%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 72%
Number of Online Programs 10

Online learning at Chadron State College focuses on transfer students and recent graduates with degree completion programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Students can also enroll in individual elective or general studies courses through the school’s eLearning platform. Courses are taught in an accelerated eight-week format in subjects including business, counseling, education and organizational management. CSC is among the online colleges with no application fee. CSC is part of the Nebraska State College System.


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23

The College of Saint Scholastica

Value Score 6.10
Average Tuition $33,784
Net Price $16,988
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 61%
Retention Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 4

Distance learners can apply for online education at The College of Saint Scholastica without being charged a fee. The private, Catholic college was started in Duluth, Minnesota, and now has several campuses throughout the country. Online programs emphasize Catholic Benedictine values and service. Online undergraduate programs include accounting, management, nursing, information management, and organizational behavior. Applying online is simple through the university’s website. Online learners receive personal advising, small classes, and counseling.


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24

Gardner-Webb University

Value Score 6.08
Average Tuition $27,890
Net Price $17,884
Graduation Rate 50%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 52%
Retention Rate 23%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 8

Gardner-Webb University provides online degree completion options for working professionals and current students. The school is part of a transfer-friendly, North Carolina Community Colleges system, allows students to transfer up to 48 credit hours. GWU offers nine degree completion programs online, including nursing, religious studies, criminal justice, and accounting. Graduate programs include an MBA and doctorate in education. GWU is among online college with no application fee, allowing for easy enrollment. GWU is a private institution that’s affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.


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25

Barclay College

Value Score 6.08
Average Tuition $11,000
Net Price $16,413
Graduation Rate 44%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 74%
Retention Rate 70%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 43%
Number of Online Programs 5

Barclay College, located in Haviland, Kansas, is a Christian, private college that’s focused on religious instruction, service, and faith. The school is affiliated with the Quaker faith and was founded in 1917. Students can study at Barclay through distance learning. The school offers certificates, associate, and bachelor’s degrees in business, ministry, and general studies. Barclay offers free college applications and allows prospective students to apply through its website. The college is a small school and offers full scholarships to many residential students.


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