Most of us spend more money than we can fathom on our college education. We’re talking $20,000-$40,000 per year. That’s more than most of us will even make in our first year out of college. While we’re all gaining great experiences and a fabulous piece of paper of pristine calligraphy, we are truly missing out on some of the unbelievable FREE options available online. More and more colleges are offering their full course materials online, and other organizations now have lectures created specifically for free online education. Here are a few ways you can start learning online for free.


Welcome to the world of modern education. Coursera is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s an online platform where students can sign up to take courses completely free of charge. There are recorded lectures, PowerPoint slides, quizzes, assignments and more. Even though the lectures are recorded, many courses have interactive lectures with questions. You’ve got to answer the question in order to watch the remainder of the lecture. Most of these lectures are based on full courses or summer courses at higher education institutions such as Stanford, Duke, Brown, University of Virginia, and those in the University of California system. You can take any number of classes, and new ones are being added all the time in twenty different categories, including Medicine, Law, Nutrition, Economics, and Business.


You’d never believe it, but some people are paying tens of thousands of dollars for the same information you can get for free. Yep, MIT has this whole transparency program going on, which basically puts any and all lectures online for all students to access. No joke. This is similar to the Coursera idea, but all of these classes are based on full-length classes at the noted institute, and they’ve got thousands of lectures available in both their undergraduate and graduate studies programs. The only thing you’d have to pay for here is your book!


Think Rosetta Stone, but without the $850 price tag. Live Mocha is a site that allows you to learn another language without paying a single penny. This community is full of native speakers of dozens of languages who are interested in learning a new language, often English. If you speak English, you’re the luckiest of the bunch.

First, you start by creating an account on LiveMocha, and they give you a certain number of tokens just for signing up. You can gain more tokens by commenting on non-native speakers’ language submissions, and by completing work in their free courses. You can also purchase tokens instead of editing others’ work, if you’re feeling rich instead of altruistic. It’s a pretty great deal.


Pretty similar to LiveMocha, Duolingo provides a free platform for learning a foreign language. It’s not quite as advanced as LM, but it’s definitely easy to use. You can learn a handful of vocabulary words in just a couple of minutes, use their translation tool, or start a discussion with any other member. They’re currently only offering Spanish, French, English, and German, but they’ve got Portuguese and Italian in the Beta stage.

Other Options

If you’re looking for more specific courses or information, you can always check out Google Scholar, or check out the education channels on YouTube. Go forth and prosper with a free education!

Photo Credit: Garrett Gill