By: Guest On: November 5, 2014 In: Applying to College, Choosing a College, Money Comments: 0

Many colleges and universities benefit from getting rid of college application fees for prospective students.

Yet in addition to saving you from spending the better side of $60 just to know if you’ll be accepted or not, it may be useful to know which of these colleges with no application fees have also been favorably ranked.

After all, the only thing better than saving money on a college application is saving money on a college that has a great reputation, right?

The highly ranked schools below, which have been pulled from Forbes’ list of “America’s Top 25 Colleges with No Application Fees,” have lifted their application fees for various reasons. In the case of Carleton College in Minnesota, the dean of admissions decided in 1999 that it would be a good way to encourage prospective students to apply online instead of applying by mail.

While that’s certainly no longer much of an issue these days – when’s the last time you applied to something via postal service? – Carleton College and many other schools still (thankfully) stand by their free applications.

Here’s a list (in no particular order) of 20 top colleges in 2015 with no application fees, according to Forbes:



 Carleton College  Northfield, MN
 Colby College  Waterville, ME
 Kenyon College  Gambier, OH
 Reed College  Portland, OR
 Union College  Shenectady, NY
 Earlham College  Richmond, IN
 Rhodes College  Memphis, TN
 Sewanee: The University of the South  Sewanee, TN
 St. Olaf College  Northfield, MN
 Wellesley College  Wellesley, MA
 Case Western Reserve University  Clevelend, OH
 Trinity University  San Antonio, TX
Smith College Northampton, MA
Bryn Mawr College  Bryn Mawr, PA
 Grinnell College  Grinnell, IA
DePauw University  Greencastle, IN
 St. John’s College  Annapolis, MD
 Centre College  Danville, KY
Denison University  Granville, OH
Hampshire College  Amherst, MA

The Big Picture

The price of college applications should certainly play a part in where you decide to apply and to how many schools. Yet there are a few things you may want to consider before placing college application fees as your highest priority.

For one, a school that has no college application fee — especially a private college or university — can still have high tuition. In some cases it may make more sense for you to dish out the money for one application rather than bury yourself in four years’ worth of student loans.

A school that has an application fee but promises to meet all of your financial aid could also be a much more financially sound option, especially if the college with the application fee is a better academic fit.

Like many other aspects of the college application process, it’s important to weigh your options carefully and always do your research first.

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5 years ago

Go Schenectady!