Why No Student Pays Tuition

Graduation cap with "I'm worth the investment"

Since our founding in 1855, Berea College’s core mission has been to provide access to a quality liberal arts education to students who would not ordinarily be able to afford to go to college. Early on, students worked at campus jobs to support themselves and their families and to pay a modest tuition. In 1892, the tuition requirement was removed entirely, and Berea College has not charged another student to attend.

The modern cost of providing a rigorous, tuition-free education—about $44,000 per student per year—isn’t cheap, but helping build a better future through education is certainly worth it. Our students, who come from families with an average annual income of less than $30,000, can leave Berea ready to take on the challenges of the world debt-free.

The value of debt-free is nearly immeasurable. With student loan debt topping $1.5 trillion, acquiring a college degree can mean delaying the purchase of a home or foregoing graduate school. For low-income students, debt can make it more difficult to truly realize their potential. Berea College hopes to help students transcend the financial barriers to achieving a better life.

Read what President Lyle Roelofs has to say about “The Value of Free.”

But don’t just take our word for it…

#1
Best National Liberal Arts College (2017 & 2018)
Best Bang for the Buck College (2017, 2018 & 2019)

— Washington Monthly Magazine

#1
Best Value College (2019)
— Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

Top Green College
for efforts in sustainability (2018)
— Princeton Review

#1
Best Value Nursing Program in Kentucky (2019)
— Nursing Explorer

#1
Sustainable College-Run Farms (2018)
— College Values Online