Updated at: 10-04-2023 - By: Eden Wise


Most families trying to help their troubled teen or young adult are looking for low- or no-cost boarding schools. This article from World Scholar Hub provides a directory of some free boarding schools across the country that accept troubled teens.

In addition, many young people face difficulties as they mature, such as stress and depression, conflict and bullying, substance abuse, and excessive drinking.

These issues are common among their peers and could lead to significant emotional strain if not addressed.

However, it can be difficult for some parents to deal with these problems, which is why most parents feel the need to enroll their children in boarding schools for troubled teens and youths.

In addition, there are not many private boarding schools that offer free or reduced tuition for troubled teens and young adults.

Free Boarding Schools For Troubled Teens

Free boarding schools for troubled teens

Cookson Hills

On our list of no-cost boarding schools for troubled youth, The Cookson Hills comes first. This center claims to provide Christian-based therapy for troubled teens in the Kansas, Oklahoma area.

The school has the backing of local churches, individuals, and groups who are invested in the future of the area’s youth. Students between the ages of 5 and 17 are welcome at Cookson Hills. Although there is no cost to attend the school, parents are expected to pay $200 annually for safety and counseling.

Vision Boys Academy

Vision Boys Academy is another free boarding school that helps troubled teens. Sarcoxie, Missouri is where you’ll find it. The mission of this Christian boarding school is to assist troubled youth with issues such as depression, emotional difficulties, defiance, etc. Students are helped to improve their communication skills while learning about the dangers of issues like peer pressure and internet addiction.

Agape Boarding School

Agape Boarding School

There is also Agape Boarding School, which serves troubled teens. It’s in the US state of Missouri, and it helps students improve in many ways, including their education, their faith, and their daily routines. Applicants are considered between the ages of nine and twelve.

The school provides a high-quality education and counseling to all students at no cost, and it also awards scholarships to those who demonstrate financial need.

The Seed School of Washington

The Seed School of Washington provides students with traditional educational programs and top-notch coaching in an effort to better prepare or assist them in improving in the areas of academics, socialization, emotional development, and spiritual growth. All applicants must be U.S. citizens due to the school’s location in Washington, DC.

Students at the Seed School of Washington board during the week and go home on weekends. They return on Sunday evenings.

Eagle Rock School

Eagle Rock School is another free boarding school that helps troubled teens. The American Honda Education Corporation oversees operations from its base in Estes Park, Colorado.

It’s a charity whose goal is to help troubled teens find their footing again and find success in life. Students are only responsible for their transportation costs, as the school itself is free.

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch

Our list of free boarding schools for troubled teens and young adults continues with #3. Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch is one of the largest privately funded boarding schools in the country. Considered among the elite free boarding schools for young people.

The institution provides a Christ-centered setting for professional family-strengthening and youth development programs and services.

They help kids get past tough times and set themselves up for future success.

As a group, they believe that “financial resources should never stand between a family in trouble” and that “tuition should be fully free.” However, families are responsible for covering the costs of their children’s travel and medical care.

Lakeland Grace Academy

Teenage girls who are struggling can find help at the boarding school Lakeland Grace Academy. When it comes to free boarding schools for troubled teens and young adults, this one is highly recommended. They provide help for women who are dealing with issues such as academic failure, low self-esteem, rebellion, anger, depression, self-destructive behavior, and substance abuse.

Lakeland Grace Academy offers much more affordable tuition rates than the majority of therapeutic boarding schools. However, they provide options for financial aid, such as loans and scholarships, to families who wish to enroll their challenging child or children.

Cookson Hills

Cookson is a free boarding school that specializes in helping troubled teens and kids. The school provides a Christian education and counseling for children who need extra support.

Donations from people, organizations, and businesses who believe in the potential of these kids make up the bulk of the school’s operating budget.

In addition, each parent at Cookson Hills must pay a $100 security and therapy deposit.

New Lifehouse Academy

In our series of articles, we have reached number seven on the topic of free boarding schools for troubled youth. New Lifehouse Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenage girls.

The institution provides mentoring and biblical instruction to troubled girls, which helps them develop confidence and competence.

New Lifehouse Academy is a place of transformation and healing for teenage girls. However, annual tuition averages $2,50.

All of this suggests that New Lifehouse Academy deserves its reputation as one of the best free boarding schools for troubled youth.

The Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Kamehameha Schools were founded in 1887 by King Kamehameha I’s daughter, Princess Bernice Pauahi. She established the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, a trust with the goal of educating Hawaiians, with 375,000 acres of her family’s land in an effort to do so. Therefore, by 2021, Kamehameha’s endowment will be worth roughly $13 billion, making it the largest secondary school endowment in the United States. The 6,500 students in grades Pre-K through 12 are spread across three campuses in Hawaii. It also manages 29 daycare centers, where 1,500 children are cared for.

Future Men

Our next stop is at Future Men University. This school provides standard and quality educational programs, therapy sessions, and counseling for troubled youth through the lens of a Christian educational curriculum.

The school’s mission is twofold: to assist each student in achieving his or her personal best, and to shape them into contributing members of society. Future Men accepts applicants between the ages of 15 and 20.

This school charges very little (if any) tuition and accepts only boys.

Milton Hershey School

Milton Hershey School

The Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is a free boarding school for troubled kids. Students from low-income families are eligible for the school’s tuition waiver program. Youth in distress can also benefit from guidance and support from adults.

More than 2,000 students call this school home, and they frequently participate in educational excursions.

The following is a link to the university’s website.

Heartland Boys Academy

First on our list of affordable residential treatment centers for troubled teens is this one. In Western Kentucky, there is a small Christian boarding school called Heartland Boys Academy that caters to troubled teenage boys.

Their program is relationally oriented but highly disciplined and is aimed at assisting boys who have experienced academic failure, social isolation, or expulsion from a public or private school.

The academy employs a program full of exciting challenges to help the boys gain confidence, competence, leadership, and respect. The boys’ faith is nurtured, and their self-esteem and empathy are bolstered so that they can return home or continue their education or find gainful employment.

Freedom Prep Academy

This is the next option on our list of affordable boarding schools for troubled teens. Freedom Prep is a public charter school for students in grades K through 12. They also have locations in Provo and St. George in addition to Vineyard.

They prepare students for future success by instilling in them the ability to think analytically, form meaningful relationships, and put others before oneself. Together, their educators, counselors, and administration have created a nurturing learning environment.

They enforce a strict dress policy in order to protect their students from unhelpful peer pressure. In addition, they work to foster a welcoming environment. Their instructors are qualified pros who get to know each student individually. Adaptive learning opportunities are provided for students using best practices and technology.

Brush Creek Academy

The following boarding school for troubled teens in our affordable boarding school list. Teen Challenge Oklahoma’s Brush Creek is a separate but equal ministry! They are a private, religious boarding school for at-risk teenage boys (aged 14-17) located on a 900-acre ranch in scenic Northeast Oklahoma at a cost that won’t break the bank.

Their mission is to equip teens and their families with a solid curriculum that will help them succeed in school, in their personal relationships, and in their spiritual lives. They give boys who have struggled the tools they need to start living productive lives, ones in which they can flourish.

Call the admissions office of this boarding school at (918) 435-8206 if your adolescent is exhibiting defiance, anger, drug or alcohol use, or a lack of personal responsibility.

Clearview Girls Academy

The next affordable boarding school for troubled teens on our list is this one. Teenage girls whose lives are being controlled by destructive issues or whose behavior poses a threat to their futures are treated at Clearview Girls Academy, a residential treatment facility.

Girls who have experienced significant loss or trauma in their lives, such as through physical or mental abuse, the loss of a loved one, or attachment disorders as a result of adoption, are the focus of their therapists’ work. Eating disorders and self-injury are two other areas of expertise. Their plan requires at least a year to complete.

The boarding school promotes a healthy lifestyle by emphasizing a balanced diet, regular exercise, plenty of rest, and plenty of fun activities. Girls take part in a wide variety of team sports and other competitive activities throughout the year. The girls in their care also go on occasional camping and hiking trips in the stunning Pacific Northwest mountains.

Girls also attend non-denominational church services and receive spiritual support from our Christian staff. Students are expected to participate in church activities such as worship, youth group, and Bible study, but they are not coerced.


What are the steps I need to take when searching for boarding schools for troubled teens and youth?

If a parent sees concerning behavior in their child or children, they should consult an expert right away. Find a qualified child educator to help you pinpoint the issue. This expert can also recommend a suitable educational setting for the student in question. The following step is to investigate various educational options before deciding on one.

Can I enroll my child in any regular boarding school?

Enrolling a child in a boarding school that specializes in dealing with behavioral issues, low self-esteem, drug addiction/abuse, anger, school dropout, or losing focus in school and achieving life goals is highly recommended. Some boarding schools are better equipped than others to deal with troubled teens and young adults. In addition, there are therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens and young adults that can help them get back on track and reach their potential.

Do free schools still exist?

Local governments and/or the central government provide funding for every public school in the country. However, there are a variety of state schools available, including free schools, which make up a sizable portion of the brand-new establishments cropping up all over the country.

What age is best for boarding school?

When do kids usually do best in boarding school? If your child is between the ages of 14 and 16, the typical entry point for boarding school in the United States is the ninth or tenth grade. For students aged 18 or 19, a post-graduation year is an option at many schools.


Any student who attends a boarding school, regardless of whether or not that school has a focus, will benefit in a number of ways. With fewer students in each class, teachers can give each one the individualized attention they need to thrive academically. Since they spend their days with students, teachers and staff are exposed to a wealth of learning opportunities outside the classroom. They can put what they’re learning into practice right away, which can help them grow more fully.

Students at boarding schools benefit from a controlled level of freedom that helps them develop their own sense of independence. Boarding school prepares students for adulthood by helping them develop the skills necessary to manage their social lives, academic responsibilities, and personal obligations. Eighty percent of boarding school graduates felt they were academically and socially prepared for college.