Online Colleges with No Application Fee

Though many, if not most, colleges charge nonrefundable application fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars, at any of the no application fee online colleges below, you can skip the fee and apply for free.

Explore some of these schools below to find one that’s right for you—and learn other savvy tips for applying to college without a fee.

List of Seven Online Colleges and Universities with No Application Fee

There are many colleges with no application fee, and many others that will waive the fee if you apply online as opposed to printing out the application and mailing it. The seven sponsored listings below are just a few examples and are listed in no particular order.

#1: Maryville University

Application fee: $0

Located in St. Louis County, Missouri, this selective, comprehensive and nationally ranked private institution offers 90+ on-campus and online degree programs across six colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the Walker College of Health and the School of Business.

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 87 percent

Popular Program at Maryville:

#2: Lasell College

Application fee: $40 paper application fee is waived if you apply online

This comprehensive, coeducational college located in suburban Newton, Massachusetts, provides more than 50 degree programs through online, hybrid, and on-campus formats. The programs are designed to be as effective and engaging as classroom instruction, offering students plentiful opportunities to collaborate with peers while engaging in the curriculum at their convenience

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Institution of Higher Education (CIHE)
  • Acceptance rate: 76%
  • Student-faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 76%

Popular Programs at Lasell:

  • Master of Science in Sport Management: Parks and Recreation
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Emergency and Crisis Management
  • Master of Science in Nutrition for Human Performance

#3: Indiana Wesleyan University

Application fee: $0

This private, non-profit Methodist liberal arts institution offers more than a hundred programs across levels and disciplines, from degrees that integrate religion with academics, such as Biblical Literature and Youth Ministries, to traditional degree options such as public relations, computer science, and accounting.

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 82%

Popular Programs at Indiana Wesleyan:

#4: Simmons College

Application fee: $0

Known for providing the nation's only MBA program designed exclusively for women, Simmons College offers female students a choice of more than 50 undergraduate majors and formats including fulltime, part-time, evenings/weekends, hybrid, and online options.

Female and male students can enroll in Simmons’ online master’s degree program through the school’s nationally ranked School of Library and Information Science, among other programs.

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission for Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 85%

Popular Programs at Simmons:

#5: Chatham University

Application fee: $0

Chatham University is a co-ed, private institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs designed to help students develop their knowledge and think outside the box. Tailored to students who already have demanding professional and personal lives, Chatham’s online programs focus on providing them with knowledge that’s immediately applicable to their fields.

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 78%

Popular Programs at Chatham:

#6: Ashford University

Application fee: $0

Dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of individuals pursuing advancement in their lives, professions, and communities, Ashford offers 100% online programs through four colleges:

  1. Forbes School of Business
  2. College of Education
  3. College of Health, Human Services, and Science
  4. College of Liberal Arts.
  • School type: Private for-profit
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Student-faculty ratio: 13:1

Popular Programs at Ashford:

#7: Bradley University

Application fee: $0 for online applications

Offering the opportunities, choices, and resources of a larger university with the personal attention and exceptional learning experience of a smaller university. Bradley provides undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, accounting, health sciences, liberal arts, and technology through five schools, including the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Steiner School of Sports Communication.

  • School type: Private
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Student-faculty ratio: 12:1
  • Freshman retention rate: 87%

Popular Programs at Bradley:

Did You Know?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average cost of a college application fee in 2016 was $50. Applications at highly ranked universities might cost much more.

Why Some Colleges Charge an Admission Fee

Colleges often charge an application fee to pay for processing and reviewing of applications. While some schools use an electronic verification system to review applications, there still needs to be a human admissions specialist to take part in the selection process.

Why Some Online Colleges and Universities Have No Application Fee

Some schools—such as Lasell College—are moving away from paper applications and encouraging students to apply online. As an incentive, these institutions may opt to waive the application fee for those who are willing to use the paperless system. However, students who print out the application and mail it in are still required to pay the application fee.

Be on the lookout for schools like Johns Hopkins University, which will occasionally waive the application fee for students who demonstrate a need for help. If you have proof of financial need, you may be able to secure fee waivers from the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, and if you’ve received an SAT/ACT fee waiver, you can apply for free passes from the College Board.

How to Apply to College for Free

Every school has its own application processes and fee structure so be sure to carefully review the admissions process for each school you’re interested in. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page or use the form to get matched to the perfect program for you!

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