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How to Get a College-Level Education for Free

As tuition costs rise to historical levels and students struggle to keep up, consider the wealth of education freely available online to upskill, reskill and maintain workforce relevance.

A significant paradigm shift in the realm of college-level education has been coming for some time now, and it has only been hastened by the global pandemic. It is no longer a foregone conclusion that a student graduates high school, goes straight to college, then has a job lined up and waiting for them when they are set to graduate. Not only this, but people typically stay at their job for only a few years, and many decide to eventually work in a different field altogether.

Everyone has a right to educate themselves, and there are more online platforms and options than ever before.

You, too, can become an autodidact—a person who is either partially or fully self-taught—with the right tools and mindset. Incredible leaders such as Frederick Douglass and Steve Jobs were well-known autodidacts, so you’d be in good company.

Underlying Financial Risks in Formal College Degrees

When you look at some disturbing numbers on formal college degrees, you can see that sometimes, people struggle to ever get ahead in life. Consider this: College costs have tripled in under 20 years, and the cost of a bachelor’s degree may exceed $400,000 when you also account for lost income. Sadly, 56% of students experience housing insecurity every year, and 17% have even been homeless in the last year.  

Lost income is also a significant factor—students who cannot work full time lose up to $39,676 a year, which they would otherwise have been earning, and that certainly adds up over the typical four-year traditional college period.  It even impacts a student’s health, as 50% of students cannot afford a healthy diet, and 20% lost weight because they could not afford food.

A Look at Where the Opportunities Are

If you’re wondering what jobs have the most demand and use skills that are often self-taught, consider pursuing a career in coding, data analytics or marketing. You also might need a launch pad of different places to get a college-level education online. Let’s examine a few:

Many university websites have opened up a good amount of their curriculum online for free, including prestigious universities such as MIT, Harvard and Berkley.  Helpful resource sites such as College Cliffs, edX and Coursera do a good job of aggregating the best online courses available. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are full of valuable information such as Canvas and LinkedIn Learning. Expert-mode courses include Khan Academy, Udemy and TEDEd. Lastly, tools for self-learning, including Code Academy, Skill Share and Pluralsight can make a huge difference in your career start and further education and advancement. 

Clearly, it’s not too late to get ahead in life with such great resources at your fingertips.

For more information on how technology can help you get an online education for free, please see this infographic:

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