These 19 Cities Have Free College Tuition (But There’s a Catch)
One hopeful national trend is a city promise initiative, which offers free college, according to CNBC. Approximately 19 cities provide a pathway to earn discounts or free college, but there’s catch. Which cities offer one of these “promise school” initiatives, and what exactly is “the catch?” One city (page 16) has a huge catch.
1. Miami-Dade, Florida
Miami-Dade College accepts The American Dream Scholarship. Tuition assistance covers up to 60 credits after grant and scholarship money is applied,
The catch: Must have qualifying grades, test scores, and reside in Miami-Dade County. This scholarship is only for an associates degree.
Next: Only public high school students qualify.
2. Jacksonville, Florida
FSCJ Promise covers tuition for up to four consecutive terms after scholarship and grant money is applied at Florida State College of Jacksonville.
The catch: Students must be a first-time college student who is eligible for a Pell Grant. Also, students must also be a Nassau or Duval County public high school graduate and log at least 30 hours of community service to be eligible.
Next: Only limited funds available for this scholarship.
3. Dallas, Texas
The Rising Star program provides up to $5,500 for tuition and books for qualified students.
The catch: Must demonstrate financial need, complete the FAFSA, and graduate from a Dallas County public high school with at least a 2.5 GPA.
Next: This was one of the first programs.
4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Students who attended a high school in Tulsa can earn up to 63 credits or three years of free college.
The catch: Program only applies to students who enroll in Tulsa Community College for fall semester, immediately upon high school graduation.
Next: This program is designed for a very specific career path.
5. Wichita, Kansas
Wichita Promise pays tuition and fees for high school graduates who attend Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology.
The catch: Scholarships available on a first-come, first-served basis. The free tuition may only be applied toward technical college certification. Eligible programs include aviation sheet metal mechanics or practical nursing for instance.
Next: You can earn a four-year degree, but have to do this first.
6. Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville Rotary Promise pays tuition and fees for up to 60 credits at Jefferson Community and Technical College for students who qualify.
The catch: Only students who attended one of four select county public high schools are eligible. Those who complete their associates or technical degree may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 toward a bachelor degree at University of Louisville.
Next: The program is designed to assist students who only live here.
7. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Promise provides tuition assistance for students who want to attend either a two or four-year state university.
The catch: Must reside in the city of Detroit and attend a public high school for all four years to be eligible. Students must score at least a 1060 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT.
Next: Program is designed for very specific fields.
8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Tuition free assistance for students who meet financial aid criteria and maintained at least a 2.0 GPA in high school.
The catch: Program is designed for enrollment at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Students must enroll as a full-time student with 12 credits or more and graduate from a high school within the college’s district area.
Next: This program has strict financial need requirements.
9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
The Power of You program offers tuition assistance of up to 72 credits (or two years) of higher learning for students who graduate from a high school in Minneapolis or St. Paul.
The catch: Tuition assistance is only covered for enrollment at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Also, students must demonstrate financial need with household incomes not exceeding $75,000 annually.
Next: This program offers plenty of options for high school grads.
10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Last Dollar Scholarship provides tuition assistance for high school students who attended a participating Philadelphia area high school. Students can use scholarship money toward an accredited two or four-year university.
The catch: Must demonstrate financial need. Annual award amounts range from $200 up to $5,000 a year. Student must have at least $200 of unmet financial needs to qualify.
Next: Students can only attend one of these specific colleges.
11. Boston, Massachussets
Tuition free college for students who demonstrate a financial need, graduate from a Boston public high school, and have at least a 2.0 GPA.
The catch: Bunker Hill Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, or Roxbury Community College are the only schools that qualify.
Next: This is a limited program.
12. Seattle, Washington
13th Year Promise Scholarship provides one year of free college tuition for students who graduate from a participating Seattle public high school.
The catch: Only three community colleges in Seattle qualify for scholarship money.
Next: This has a pretty strict resident requirement.
13. San Francisco, California
Free City program provides tuition free assistance for fall and spring semester at City College of San Francisco.
The catch: Program is available for students who resided in San Francisco for at least one year and are California residents. City College of San Francisco is a two-year community college.
Next: Students with higher GPAs earn more scholarship money.
14. Oakland, California
Oakland Promise Scholarship provides tuition assistance for both two and four-year universities.
The catch: Students must graduate from a participating Oakland public high school and demonstrate financial need. Although you only need a 2.0 GPA to qualify, those with a GPA of 2.7 or higher may qualify for a higher scholarship amount.
Next: This scholarship is awarded to a limited number of students.
15. San Jose, California
San Jose Promise awards free tuition to students who graduate from a San Jose high school.
The catch: The scholarship award is only good at two community colleges: San Jose City College or Evergreen Valley College.
Next: How free is this?
16. Fresno, California
Central Valley Promise program provides free college tuition for students who graduate from a San Joaquin Valley School District high school.
The catch: Students must complete Central Valley Promise activities and have at least a 2.7 GPA to qualify. Plus, free tuition is only available for one semester of community college.
Next: Free tuition is offered for only this type of school.
17. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles College Promise provides free tuition assistance for students who graduate from a Los Angeles public or charter high school.
The catch: Free tuition is only available for a two-year community college within the Los Angeles Community College District.
Next: This was one of the original tuition free programs.
18. Long Beach, California
The Long Beach College Promise is available to students who graduate from a Long Beach high school. Students must attend Long Beach City College starting the fall semester immediately after graduation.
The catch: Students receive free tuition for only one year of college at Long Beach City College, which is a community college.
Next: You don’t have to live in this city to qualify.
19. San Diego, California
San Diego Promise provides free tuition for California residents.
The catch: Tuition assistance only covers two-year community colleges within the San Diego Community College District. Also, students must also demonstrate financial need and enroll as a full time student.