Updated 9/11/12: This article has been updated to reflect information for the 2012-2013 school year.
A handful of colleges and universities don't add tuition to students' bills, which can add up to major cost savings for those who qualify or who are willing to work in return for their education.
Some of the schools that don't charge tuition are quite small, many require some form of service, and a few have strict eligibility guidelines. Most still charge room, board, and other fees, so they're not completely free, notes Pamela Rambo, founder of the education-focused Rambo Research and Consulting firm.
"It is a big savings, but it's not for everybody," she notes. "There are lots of ways to look at going to college for less money."
[Find out other ways to pay for college.]
With that caveat, and bearing in mind that this list may not be exhaustive, here are 12 tuition-free schools you may want to check out.
• Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, Ky.: Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, this school offers a free tuition guarantee, but only to full-time students from one of the 108 counties in the Central Appalachian service area. The area encompasses districts in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and the college's home state of Kentucky. U.S. News rank: 39, Regional Colleges (South)
[Find out how to save money through regional tuition breaks.]
• Berea College, Berea, Ky.: Students do not pay tuition at this Christian college but must participate in the Student Labor Program. All full-time students work at least 10 hours a week on campus, and can receive additional, low wages ($3.80 to $6.25 an hour) for their hours. U.S. News rank: 75, National Liberal Arts Colleges
• College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo.: A work college, this school foots the bill for students' tuition in exchange for 15 hours of on-campus work per week, plus two 40-hour work weeks each year during semester breaks. Ninety percent of incoming students demonstrate financial need, and jobs range from custodial work to dairy farming. U.S. News rank: 9, Regional Colleges (Midwest)
• Cooper Union, New York City: All admitted students receive full-tuition scholarships to this urban institution known for art, architecture, and engineering. According to the school, admissions decisions are based only on merit. U.S. News rank: 1, Regional Colleges (North)
• Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia: Students who apply to this small music school are evaluated on "artistic promise" alone, according to the institution's mission statement, and must audition for a spot on the roster. All accepted students receive full-tuition scholarships. U.S. News rank: Unranked