2017 Best Colleges with No Application Fee Methodology

The 2017 Best Colleges with No Application Fee ranking filters the 2017 Best Colleges ranking to only include colleges with free applications. Note that additional colleges waive application fees for low-income, minority, veteran, and other student types, so be sure to check each school’s website. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Academics Grade Niche Academics grade, which incorporates factors such as acceptance rate, quality of professors, as well as student and alumni surveys regarding academics at the school. Niche 35.0%
Value Grade Niche Value grade, which incorporates statistics such as average loan amount, alumni earnings and student surveys regarding value. Niche 25.0%
Professors Grade Niche Professors grade, which incorporates factors such as number of awards won by faculty, student-faculty ratio, as well as student surveys regarding professor quality. Niche 10.0%
Student Life Grade Niche Student Life grade, which incorporates statistics such as safety, diversity, athletics and student surveys regarding student life. Niche 7.5%
Student Surveys on Overall Experience Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the overall experience of students and alumni at each school. Self-reported by Niche users 7.5%
Campus Grade Niche Campus Quality grade, which incorporates factors such as quality of campus food and housing, as well as student surveys regarding facilities on campus. Niche 5.0%
Diversity Grade Niche Diversity grade, which incorporates factors such as ethnic composition of the student body, proportion of international students and out-of-state students, as well as student surveys regarding diversity on campus. Niche 5.0%
Local Area Grade Niche Local Area grade, which incorporates factors such as median rent, local crime rates, access to amenities, as well as student surveys regarding the local area around campus. Niche 2.5%
Safety Grade Safety grade, which incorporates factors such as campus crime rate, local crime rate, as well as student surveys regarding health and safety services on campus. Niche 2.5%

This ranking assesses 347 4-year colleges and universities. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the colleges.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.