The rising costs of a college education keep many people from pursuing higher education. However, it is possible to get a free college education online. What’s the catch? If you want a degree, your options are limited. The other catch is many free college courses don’t offer the option for a degree.
Know What to Expect
It’s important to have realistic expectations when pursuing a free college education online. Unless you’re attending one of the few accredited colleges that are tuition free, you won’t have access to an adviser. Plus, you’ll likely have to create your own curriculum.
You may not have support from a teacher, though you may be able to talk with fellow students if you need help. However, if you’re willing to do the extra work, you’ll be able to take the same college courses that students are taking right now at schools like MIT.
One other thing to keep in mind is whether you get actual credit for the courses you take. Some sites allow you to purchase a certificate of completion for each course. This is ideal if you’re taking college courses to advance at your job. The only downside is you usually won’t earn a degree.
You’ll still have all the knowledge and skills, which are useful for advancing your career or just to pursue a personal interest. The last thing to remember is you have to be able to self-motivate. You’re responsible for carving out time to take the course, whether it’s self-paced or offered for a limited window.
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As crazy as it might sound, tuition-free colleges do exist. There are a few catches, such as having to pay student fees. It’s still cheaper than shelling out tens of thousands on a traditional four-year degree.
Currently, the only fully online option is University of the People. If you’re currently serving in the military or retired, the military may cover tuition for online courses at certain universities.
Massive Open Online Courses
MOOCs are free college classes available from accredited universities. They’re the most common way to get a free college education online. This is also where you have to put together your own curriculum.
You’ll find courses in every subject, from computer programming to music theory. Some are only available for a set period and limit the number of students who can enroll at a time. Often, these courses also come with support from teachers.
MOOC List lists all the upcoming MOOCs over the next 30 days. Enter your search criteria to find exactly what you’re looking for.
MOOC List isn’t the prettiest or most organized site. It also doesn’t include all your available options. Get a free college education online by taking courses from:
- Johns Hopkins
- Khan Academy (partners with some colleges for specialized content)
All of the above offer courses from actual colleges. Many other online learning platforms offer free courses, but they’re taught by retired professors or experts in the industry versus current college professors. However, many of them do offer free or for fee certificates.
Try out some free college courses today and explore a world of new possibilities.
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Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.