An MIT Education For Free


Photo courtesy of OCW, Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The homepage for MIT’s free online courses. MIT, among other universities, is providing this option for more people to get a college education.

Lauren Arenas, Student Opinion Editor

There’s no doubt that the cost of college education is rising rapidly. Ivy League and other private universities can cost up to $60,000 per year. Most Americans have little to no hope of producing that much money for a higher education. Luckily for them, there is an entirely new way to get a respectable college education, and the best part: it’s free.

Some of the most prestigious universities in the nation are now offering some of their courses online for the public free of charge. Not only are the courses available, but the resources associated with them are all available from these online college courses. Universities participating in this new phenomenon include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. It may seem strange that these universities would be offering up their world-renowned courses for free, but the goal is to provide as much education for people as they possibly can.

MIT’s online program is called MIT OpenCourseWare, or OCW for short. This university alone features materials from 2150 courses, with more than 125 million visitors to the website. Materials can be used for people to take the courses themselves, or for educators to bring outside sources into their lessons. The courses are not only used in the United States, but countries around the world feature people utilizing the opportunity. There is a wide variety of subject matter in a range of different languages to choose from.

The sites are kept updated through contributions from visitors to the site. Copyright issues, distribution charges, and the money needed to digitize the material is largely covered by the universities, but the extra money comes from pure donations. Seeing as there is no cost to take the classes and use the resources, it makes sense that the universities promote their donating opportunities so heavily.

With all the stress of college and finances, the people are looking to esteemed universities as they begin to offer their courses for free. The new education trend is opening up a world of opportunities for people who wouldn’t normally be able to receive this education. These materials could help people get a better grasp of classes they are already taking, or give someone an idea of a path they would like to pursue in the future. The option of taking online courses for free from these reputable universities is one that will benefit people greatly. Hopefully this progression will continue, and more people will be able to get a college education without breaking their banks.