4 tuition-free universities in the US for master’s degrees

tuition-free universities in the us
These tuition-free universities are an affordable way for international students to pursue their master's. Source: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

The US is arguably one of the most expensive study abroad destinations in the world, but did you know that there are tuition-free universities in the US? This can greatly curb the stress that comes with funding your education abroad so that you can focus on your studies as well as other aspects of being abroad, such as exploring the Golden Gate Bridge, Yellowstone National Park and Niagara Falls.

Tuition fees for a master’s degree vary from as little as US$8,000 to US$120,000 a year. That’s not including your living expenses, utilities, rent, and other expenses you will spend as an international student. If the idea of a free (or nearly free) master’s or micro master’s entices you, consider these tuition-free universities in the US that offer great postgraduate programmes:

tuition-free universities in the US

With an average monthly living cost of US$3,189, it’s not surprising to see international students looking for more affordable options to pursue their master’s. Source: Philippe Lopez/AFP

4 tuition-free universities in the US for your master’s

1. University of the People

Founded in 2009 and accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission in February 2014, the University of the People (UoPeople) is the first non-profit, online tuition-free university in the US.

It offers three master’s degree programmes in Business Administration, Information Technology and Education.

You only need to pay a one-off application fee of US$60 and a US$300 course assessment fee. It will cost approximately US$3,660 to study for a Master of Business Administration or Master in Information Technology, and US$3,960 for a Master of Education.

2. Curtis Institute of Music

The Curtis Institute of Music’s Master of Music programme will provide students with comprehensive musical training covering composition, orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, organ and opera. They learn with distinguished artist-teachers in private lessons and studio lessons.

All students receive full-tuition scholarships, regardless of their financial situation. For the 2022-23 academic term, the annual value of this scholarship is US$60,291 for graduate students.

Princeton University is one of the US’s premier university and is often listed among the world’s top 100 universities by multiple ranking tables. Source: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

3. Princeton University

While the Graduate School does not provide central funding for master’s candidates, it offers full or partial funding opportunities for specific master’s degree programmes.

The School of Public and International Affairs will cover 100% of tuition and required fees for students pursuing their Master in Public Affairs Master in Public Policy. Assistantship (where graduate students are involved in classroom teaching, laboratory supervision and grading in undergraduate courses) is another way to fund your master’s at Princeton University.

4. Columbia University

Columbia University is a suitable choice for you. Located in New York City, New York, Columbia University is a prestigious research-intensive institute that offers tuition-free online programmes for international students.

Through its partnership with edX, Columbia University has many online courses and micro masters, from Artificial Intelligence, Business Analytics, Animation, Corporate Finance and Robotics. The best part is that these programmes are available for free. You can also choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee.