I recently started watching Parenthood on Netflix (don’t tell my friend Sarah, who was actually a writer and producer on the show). I guess I had trouble getting into it when it was on the air, but now I’m devouring it.
I’m up to season three, where Haddie (one of the kids on the show), gets accepted to an Ivy League school, and her parents Adam & Kristina are trying to discourage her to go somewhere local, where the tuition would be more affordable. Adam, in the course of the show so far, has been laid off, and is now trying to run a small recording studio with his brother…so money is very tight.
This, I’m sure, is not an unusual situation that many American families face. Either the parents are going to jeopardize their financial future helping their daughter, or their daughter might be faced with mounds of student loan debt after graduation.
According to this article from CNBC, “on average, student borrowers who graduate this year will owe $35,051. For the 2014-2015 graduating class, interest rates on federal student loans range from 4 percent to 7 percent and rates on private student loans can be even higher.”
But there is some bright news on the education front that I have found quite exciting myself. It seems over the last couple of years, tons of websites have been cropping up offering inquisitive minds of all ages, the chance to get educated for free (or very cheap)! Something I really wish I had known about before I plopped down thousands of dollars on life coach training.
While it may not provide you with a piece of paper to put on your resume (although many offer professional certificates, usually for a small fee), I find it’s always good to keep your mind sharp, and gives people in one career an opportunity to explore other career tracks without having to invest tons of money, or go back to school full or part time. And many are self-paced, so they can easily fit into your schedule.
Here are some of my favorites:
7 million plus students have taken advantage of over 30,000 courses, with over 16,000 instructors in every topic ranging from programming, to yoga, to photography. Some courses have fees, but many are free, and you can see how previous students have rated the course via online reviews.
This site is one of my favorites, and I personally have taken a video marketing class (didn’t like that one too much) and The Neuroscience of Reframing and How to Do It (LOVED). I just signed up for, 7 Scientifically Proven Steps to Increase Your Influence. What can I say? I’m a human behavior geek!
BTW, you also have the option of creating your own course for Udemy and selling it!
Edx “offers the highest quality courses from institutions who share our commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.” There are over 500 courses in subjects like humanities, math, and computer science, and over 1,200 faculty and staff members teaching classes. They partner up with schools like Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Georgetown, and many more. To my knowledge, all the courses are free, with the option of getting a certificate for a fee.
I have taken The Science of Happiness, which is probably one of my all-time favorite classes, Becoming a Resilient Person – The Science of Stress Management (enjoyed), and I just signed up for, The Science of Every Day Thinking, which is one of their most popular courses.
Coursera is “an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.” While I haven’t been as big of a fan of their model quite like the other two, they still offer many great courses, and I know several personal finance bloggers who have taken finance-type classes. I have signed up for Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity, which ironically, I have not made much time for. lol!
Some other honorable mentions include:
1. Libraries. Yes, I found out that the Los Angeles Public Library offers tons of free education courses to members, so check your library and see what they have to offer!
2. Khan Academy: An educational website that offers “practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.” Everything from math, science, computer programming, economics, and history. All for free!
3. Code Academy: A site which offers all those crazy kids who think coding might be fun, an opportunity to learn for free. You go right ahead and tell me how it is. 🙂
Have you ever taken an online class for free? Do you have any other sites you’d like to share that offer free education?