[Editor’s Note: Article contains links to each college. Go to the article and click on the link to learn more about that program. The link to the music program is included here.]

Starbucks made headlines recently with its plan to help finance four-year college degrees for employees. A deal between the coffee giant and Arizona State University covers the cost of tuition—full or partial, depending on credits completed—for employees enrolled in the school’s online degree program.

That’s a venti-sized savings for budget-minded baristas. In the last five years, the average published tuition at public four-year institutions has surpassed inflation by 27 percent. It now averages $8,893 per year for in-state students and $22,203 for out-of-state, according to the research arm of the College Board. At a private four-year institution, the average annual tuition for the 2013-2014 school year was $30,094. All in, the total per-year cost at some private institutions exceeds $60,000.

But you don’t have to be a macchiato-making maven to get a free college education. Consumer Reports has identified many ways to go to college free, no matter your household income. Some colleges do not charge tuition. Others have special tuition-free programs based on geography, high school achievement, or achievement relative to the rest of the school’s incoming freshmen. Some programs require a service or work commitment—integrated on-campus work, specified post-graduate employment, or military service, for example—in exchange for tuition.

Here we we highlight tuition-free colleges. Under various arrangements, at least eight U.S. colleges do not charge tuition. Plus, some students may want to consider the U.S. Service Academies, which adds another five free-tuition options for students so inclined. Some even provide free room and board too. They might not be the typical State U., but they are accredited and, in most cases, highly rigorous academic programs with a real campus.

If money is the limiting factor in choosing a college—or in choosing to go to college at all—search among these options to find a free college program that works for you.

Free nonsectarian colleges

[We’ve only included the Music College for this newsletter… The rest are in the article on the net.]

Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia)

At this Philadelphia music conservatory all undergraduate and graduate students receive full-tuition scholarships, regardless of financial need. Admission is by audition. There is no age requirement—minimum or maximum—to audition and to be eligible for the full-tuition scholarship.

—Susan Feinstein | Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2006-2014 Consumers Union of U.S.

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David Glasser and Anna Frick spent months restoring and remastering more than 800 songs from the Paramount Records catalog including Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Charley Patton, Son Seals, Skip James, Papa Charlie Jackson; the list goes on.

Volume One was released on October 29 through a collaboration between Jack White’s Third Man Records and Revenant Records. White said, “What’s best about America is in this box,” in a recent article from The New York Times: A Menagerie of Music Lives in a Box.

Read about Airshow’s restoration process on our blog.

How Airshow Remastered the Grateful Dead Studio Albums  

Any fan of the Grateful Dead would be thrilled – and a little nervous – if asked to remaster some of the best-known studio recordings of the past 45 years. Hearing Grateful Dead songs directly from the master tapes was a very special experience, and the 192k and 96k HDtracks releases are really the closest thing to hearing the master tapes…

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