7 Free Government Boarding Schools in the United States

If you lived in a boarding school as a parent, you’ll realize the invaluable experience boarding school offers whether it’s immersing yourself in education, building strong relationships and community, or even improving deeply in a particular skill. In reality, research proves that 78% of boarding school students feel more prepared for college and university life than 36% of private day students and 23% of public students. And are even more likely to have advanced degrees, and rate their school experience as very satisfactory.

No matter how good this sounds, the cost is much higher than what a day student pays, because you’ll also be paying for the accommodation.

The good news is that there are some free government boarding schools in the United States, but you should bear in mind that they are very competitive (of course you’re not the only one going for it). Some of these schools accept as low as 100 students annually, while some accept up to 500.

It is worth noting that these schools don’t sacrifice competence just because they provide free education, in fact, some of them are ranked top in their states and the nation.

We would also suggest you check out some Christian boarding schools in Canada

free government boarding schools

Free Government Boarding Schools

1. Alabama School of Fine Arts

  • Grade: 7 – 12

ASFA is a tuition-free public school with a dormitory for Alabama Students in grades 7-12. Besides providing tuition-free education funded mostly by the government, the school has many interesting recognitions.

Their students received recognition in competitions at the state, regional and national levels of over 280 individual and team awards. Also, their average ACT score is 26.8 compared to the national average of 20.8, and their recently graduated 55 students received $8.6 million in merit scholarships for study at colleges, universities, or pre-professional conservatories. 

ASFA is claimed to be the only tuition-free school for the arts and sciences serving the entire state of Alabama. Students can major in creative writing, dance, math-science, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. 

However, because it’s a government tuition-free boarding school, it’s highly competitive to enter, their acceptance rate is 35% and they accept only 100 students, annually. 

Note that this free-tuition is only applicable to Alabama residents.

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2. Illinois Math & Science Academy

  • Grade: 10 – 12

No way would we have listed free government boarding schools in the US without mentioning IMSA, not only for their free-tuition but also due to their excellent education. In fact, Niche.com ranked them #3 in the best public high schools in Illinois and the 3rd best public high school teachers in the United States.

We believe one of the major reasons for their students’ successes is their teachers, 55% of their faculty has doctoral degrees, whereas all of them (100%) have master’s degrees.

The school is for 10th through 12th-grade students, and it enrolls a diverse student body of 650 from all areas of Illinois, but admission is still very competitive.

Also, won’t feel bored studying here, IMSA provides 15 co-curricular activities including Maths competitions, MU Alpha Theta, Robotics, and Scholastic Bowl, and more.

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3. Academy Of Math & Science (Arizona)

This is another free-tuition government boarding school that has provided quality education to residents of Arizona for the past 20 years. This is one of those schools that take responsibility for students’ success, here’s their statement;

“Each child’s success depends on us and we are confident that we can reach all children who are willing to put in the effort to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed.”

Furthermore, the school received Highest Rated K-8 District in Phoenix by Number of 5-Star Reviews on Greatschools.org.

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4. Mississippi School of the Arts

  • Grade: 11 – 12

This school easily fits into our list of free government boarding schools not just because of their tuition-free education, but also their acceptance to ethnicity, race, religion, socioeconomic class, etc. No wonder Niche.com rated them as the 10th most diverse public high school in Mississippi.

They are also named the 12th best public high school teachers in Mississippi. Also, some prestigious students have graduated from the school, like MSA Visual Arts Senior, Taylor Herron, who Received Nearly $3 Million in College Scholarship Offers.

Regarding their application, high school students may apply during their sophomore year to be admitted as juniors to MSA.

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5. Maine School of Science & Math (Maine)

  • Grade: 9 – 12

Let’s start by saying, in MSSM, 6 of their teachers have a Ph.D., 17 have advanced degrees, an average class size of 12 students, twenty clubs, and five sports teams. The school is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) magnet residential high school for scholars in grades 9-12.

Their students are not only restricted to residents of Maine, in fact, they even have some students from outside the United States.

Through their foundation, they have been able to raise over $1.5 million to support the students, faculty, and staff of the MSSM. 

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6. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (South Carolina)

  • Grades: 11 – 12

This is one of the free government boarding schools that offer unique opportunities for South Carolina’s young artists to explore and grow. I just love the testimonies their students gave, one of my best is from Julia Jacobsen, Music Class of 2020.

“I never felt like I fit in anywhere, but at Governor’s School, I fit in everywhere. It opened me up socially, artistically, and academically, allowing me to grow as a person like never before. This is truly a special place and a hidden gem within South Carolina.” 

So it’s not just all about their free-tuition, but also their educational prowess and how they made your kid(s) feel. In fact, they are so good at what they do that Niche.com ranked them as the best High School for Arts in SC.

Their core courses include Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts.

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7. The SEED School (Washington DC)

  • Grades: 9 – 12

The SEED School of Washington DC is regarded as the nation’s first tuition-free public charter, college-preparatory boarding school. And, as a boarding school, it gives them the chance to improve kids’ learning after school through structured study halls, homework centers, and extracurricular activities like dance, chess, robotics, theater, and athletics.

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In summary, because these public boarding schools offer free education doesn’t mean they compromise the quality of education they provide to their students. In fact, most of them are still ranked top in their respective states.

But, you have to watch out, because they are highly competitive.

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