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Free Online Colleges and College Courses

Everyone loves the word “free.” Our attention perks up when we see those sweet four little letters. Most of us realize that “free” doesn’t always mean that there is no cost or no strings attached. This is especially true when talking about free college courses! However, many schools have created online programs that provide you with the opportunity to attend specific courses at no cost.

Still, other colleges and universities have created degree programs that offer no-cost tuition. Keep in mind that while tuition may cost nothing, the school may charge additional fees such as application fees, testing fees, assessments, and more. There are free higher educational opportunities for those to meet certain criteria or work for specific companies. Our advice to you is when looking at a free education, take the time to do your research and find out what the word “free” really means in terms of a college education.

Today, education costs continue to rise rapidly, barring many learners from enrolling in their dream courses. Other learners have to incur student debts to finance their education. The student debts leave many graduates devastated, especially when they have to start paying back their education loans immediately after graduation. However, with tuition-free colleges, many students can take various courses without paying tuition.

Online Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

You might be wondering whether free online colleges offer the same quality education as traditional learning institutions. Free online colleges offer the same accredited education as traditional learning colleges. The only difference between the two is that tuition-free colleges provide courses with little or no tuition cost. The free online universities benefit enrollees who might otherwise fail to enroll due to financial barriers. The free online colleges also offer financial aid through scholarships and other education incentives. The courses offered are suitable from associate degrees to bachelor’s degrees through to graduate degree programs. Besides, you can choose to study a short course or university subject of your choice.

Online students learn at their convenience, as they can access lectures on their own time. This opportunity has led to the increased demand for free online colleges. Whether you decide to pursue a degree program or pursue a short course for personal development, you can choose various choices. This article will help you make an informed decision about tuition-free colleges as it explores multiple aspects, including:

  1. Types of free college degree programs
  2. Best online schools offering free tuition
  3. Best colleges offering free online courses
  4. Full-ride and full-tuition scholarships available for college

Free Online College Degree Programs

Arizona State University

The University of Arizona and Starbucks have joined forces to provide affordable education to their employees. Only current employees of Starbucks are eligible to take part in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. You must also be seeking your first bachelor’s degree. There are many concentrations from which you may choose, and you complete your no-cost coursework online, allowing more flexibility in your schedule. When you begin your application, you will fill out the FAFSA form, which enables you to find additional funds to help you complete your degree. At the end of each semester, Starbucks will add any tuition that was not picked up by grants to your paycheck, creating a tuition-free education plan. However, this program is only for tuition fees, as it does not cover additional course fees or book costs.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges provides accreditation to this free online college. Also, it carries accreditation unique to specific areas you may study.

Brown University

Brown University takes a different approach to free college. This educational institution touts itself on offering “blind admissions.” What this means is that you will not be admitted or turned down based on your ability to pay tuition costs. This free online college no longer uses packaged loans for payment of your education. If you receive financial aid, you will not have to worry about having loans to pay back upon graduation. The free online courses at Brown require that you attend sessions as scheduled and keep up with daily or weekly assignments. You will also be responsible for doing any additional course requirements outside of class, which may include research, collecting needed items, and more.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits this tuition-free university. It also holds accreditations based on specific programs it offers.


Columbia University is the parent school of ColumbiaX, which offers free college courses by use of the platform edX. You can take several one-off courses to enhance your general knowledge. For a nominal fee, you may earn a certificate. Additionally, you can choose to complete full programs, which are devoted to current business models, for a fee.

These free college classes cover a wide range of topics from the Indian & Tibetan River of Buddhism to Pediatric HIV Nursing and just about everything in between. Most of the free classes are also self-paced. Moreover, each class has separate prerequisites and start dates. Furthermore, the time to complete these free university courses may vary. When researching these educational opportunities, you will be able to view the time frame that is expected to devote each week as well as the recommended educational level.

University of the People

University of the People, also referred to as UoPeople, is a free online college that offers a host of different degrees. This online educational facility has a few requirements which are simple enough: You must be proficient in the English Language, be at least 16 years of age and be able to prove that you have graduated high school. Also, if English is not your primary language, you must be able to show that you are well-versed in the literature.

To earn your degree at this free college, you must complete the recommended number of approved credits; You must maintain a GPA of 2.0 in all subjects and take and pass at least five tests regarding your studies. This free university allows you to earn an associate’s degree on up to an MBA degree. The graduation requirements are different for each level you choose. Best of all, UoPeople is a fully accredited university.

Free Online College Courses


HarvardX is an extension of the prestigious Harvard University. However, the courses taught through HarvardX are free of charge, college classes. You can study a variety of topics and sessions are self-paced. However, you can also receive a certificate for the studies you complete for a fee. The average cost of a certificate for courses you have completed is $99. However, there are some variances, depending on the course itself.

When taking free college courses online through HarvardX you can plan on each one taking roughly nine weeks to complete. Your weekly study time commitment will vary greatly depending on the topic of the class you have chosen. While most of the courses do not have any prerequisites, other than being fluent in the English language, some courses do require things such as a high school diploma.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT offers the majority of its college courses online and free of charge in open courseware. It is the goal of MIT to help all students achieve success through knowledge. This school provides you with many choices in classes. However, you cannot earn any degree or certificate from this school. Because of this, MITOpenCourseware does not require any prerequisites. This educational area is a great place for high-school students to learn more about current topics they are studying in school as well as get a leg up on test preparation. Many people who are located in countries other than the United States take free courses through MITOpenCourseware to supplement their current studies. Teachers have also used these free college classes to motivate students about specific topics.

Stanford Online

If you are looking to take free college courses from a renowned university, consider choosing Stanford Online. This school allows you to take several free classes such as CSI Case Studies in Medical Errors. This program is aimed at doctors and nurses and costs nothing to attend. Another free course offered is to help manage the debilitating effects of migraine headaches, taught by the Stanford School of Medicine for those who suffer migraine headaches or have loved ones that do. Stanford Online also offers classes that provide a certificate once you complete the coursework. While these types of courses are also available online, there is a charge to receive your certificate.

Types of Free College Degree Programs

Free college degree programs help learners who cannot afford tuition by providing them with highly affordable or free learning options. Colleges usually offer free programs to low-income students or those who find it difficult to get financial aid and scholarships. While most tuition-free colleges offer entirely free education, others require students to pay for textbooks and other essential services such as library services. The free college degree programs are available to students as long as they meet the qualifications set out by the colleges.

Tuition-free colleges largely partner with nonprofit organizations and companies to offer free tuition for enrollees, helping reduce the financial burden associated with increased tuition costs. Students can concentrate more on their studies rather than finding solutions to their financial barriers. The free college degree programs are offered right from the community colleges to graduate institutions such as universities. Are you having financial troubles and find it difficult to enroll in your dream degree program? There is an array of free college degree programs that might interest you. This page explores the most popular types of free college degree programs and how you can get a college degree for free online.

Which Types of Free College Degree Programs Are Most Popular?

Are you looking for a college degree that will cost nothing? Believe it or not, there are several free college degree options. Many accredited universities and colleges allow learners to take courses or earn a college degree for little money or entirely free. In most cases, these colleges prefer talented students in various areas, such as funded MFA programs, but have difficulty paying for the education. Also, tuition-free colleges prefer high-performing, low-income students. Do you have what it takes to gain admission to a free college degree program? If so, here are some of the most popular types of free college degree programs that might interest you:

  • University of the People

University of the People is one of the most popular colleges and universities that offer free college degree programs. The learning institution provides health science and computer science programs free. You might opt to complete an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree. The programs are offered online and are accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as well as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission and the United States Department of Education. Although the university is a tuition-free college, it requires students to pay application processing fees and exam processing fees. However, you might be able to pay these processing fees through financial aid provided by the college.

  • Stanford University

Stanford University, well known for its esteemed research, was founded in 1885. Currently, the university has seven schools that offer various courses such as engineering, business, law, humanities, and medicine. The university is highly committed to providing affordable education to low-income families and their children. Some students pay no tuition, while others are partially exempted from paying tuition fees. Additionally, the university provides financial aid to a substantial number of undergraduate students.

How Can You Get a College Degree for Free Online or In-Person?

Having a college degree is more important today than it was in the past. Degree holders are the most sought-out after employees in the job market today. However, getting a college degree has become more expensive as tuition fees are skyrocketing. Learners must sink deeper and deeper into student loan debt to acquire an advanced education. Nonetheless, there is an alternative to earning your college degree without indulging in loans. You can enroll in in-person or online programs. We all know the online school advantages and in-person learning programs. Here are some of the tips that can help you get a free college degree:

  • Enroll in Military Schools: Members of the country’s military are eligible for many benefits, including education benefits. Members of the military are qualified to get up to 100% of their education covered. Notably, the incentives offered are not always student loans and are paid directly to your learning institution.
  • Get Scholarships and Financial Aid: There are several financial aid options available to learners, from undergraduate degrees to graduate degrees such as masters and doctoral degrees. The federal government provides most scholarships and financial aid. Almost every college and university has a financial package that students can apply for. These financial aid programs will enable you to obtain a debt-free degree.
  • Apply for State-Specific Tuition-Free Programs: Some states offer tuition-free programs to their residents. Check out if your state covers education costs to low-income students residing and studying within the state.

What Colleges Have the Best Free College Degree Programs?

Aspiring students who are interested in getting a free college tuition degree that drastically helps reduce the need to acquire student loans can begin their program search with this article. This article compiles a list of the colleges and universities with the best free college degree programs in the country. Be sure to visit each college’s website to identify the admission requirements and determine whether you meet the admission criteria. The colleges and universities include:

Best Online Schools Offering Free Tuition

In the last few decades, the cost of earning college degrees has significantly increased by over 1000%, and tuition rates increase relatively faster than the rate of financial aid and scholarship programs are expanding. This imbalance has led to increased demand for student loans as learners continue to graduate from colleges with heavy debts that impact their financial stability. Many students continue to ask themselves the best alternative path to earning a debt-free degree. The best option is by enrolling for college degrees at schools offering free tuition.

Although it might be a surprise that such a thing exists, several colleges offer high-quality education for little or no money. With this, finding the best online schools offering free tuition can be tricky. If you have difficulties enrolling for college degree programs due to financial constraints, this article suits you. We explore various online schools offering free tuition, including the most affordable online associate degree programs, among other aspects. Keep reading to get more insights!

What Are the Most Affordable, Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs?

The quickest way to get your bachelor’s degree is by first earning an associate degree program from an accredited institution. Associate degree program courses help gain foundational knowledge on some of the courses offered at the bachelor’s degree level, making it a pathway to advancing your education. Associate degrees are offered through online and in-person institutions. However, if you are looking for an associate degree program with high flexibility that’s relatively cheap, consider getting your degree from an online school. We have reviewed several colleges and compiled a list of the most affordable, accredited online associate degree programs. Here are some of the tops programs that might interest you:

  • Rio Grande Valley College: Rio Grande Valley College earns the number one spot for schools offering the most affordable accredited associate’s degree programs. The associate degree programs offered by the school emphasize more on health care. Although the programs are online, students must complete physical learning sessions due to clinical and lab requirements. The two-year associate degree programs typically cost $900. Despite being relatively cheap, the college releases highly trained and knowledgeable undergraduate students into the job industry.
  • Tohono O’odham Community College: Located in the outskirts of Arizona, Tohono O’odham Community College offers some of the most affordable degrees in the country. The associate’s degree costs around $932. Although the schools mainly serve resident students, the school opens its door to students from other states who want to pursue higher education online.
  • Luna Community College: The community college offers an associate degree in business administration. Students can complete the two-year degree program 100% online. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the school’s associate programs. The community college is also known for offering the cheapest associate’s degree in the country. The tuition costs are relatively lower than $1000.
  • Alvin Community College: Alvin Community College provides only three associate degree programs in sociology, management, and psychology. Students also have access to traditional on-campus programs, allowing them to network with campus-based students. The tuition for the program costs less than $1,700 annually.
  • Wake Technical Community College: Wake Technical Community College offers some of the best affordable online associate degree programs in several fields. Some of the most popular two-year programs offered by the college include business management, humanities, marketing, health professions, liberal arts and sciences, and communication. Hence, the college has an open admission policy, thus suitable for prospective students aspiring to earn their undergraduate degrees. The tuition costs less than $3,000 annually. This places it on the list of the cheapest online colleges. It offers financial aid to students with financial problems, especially first-generation college student families.

What Are the Best Online Colleges with No Application Fee and Free Tuition?

As tuition prices increase, aspiring students seek alternative means of earning their college degrees. In most cases, they turn to free online colleges that offer free tuition to their prospective students, easing the anxiety of high education costs. However, with the large number of colleges providing free college applications and tuition, it isn’t easy to choose the right college that suits the needs of the students. This article makes the process easier for you. We have created a list of some of the highly reputable and accredited online colleges with no application processing fees and free tuition. They include:

  • City College of San Francisco: This college offers 100% free tuition to students who want to pursue associate degree programs and provides financial aid for students who wish to pursue specific courses rather than a full degree. Students are eligible for financial support to help cover expenses related to their education.
  • University of the People: This is the first tuition-free accredited online college in America. The university offers various online degree programs in business administration, health sciences, and computer sciences. However, the school charges examination fees, which scholarship programs can also cover.
  • Columbia University: Columbia University is one of the biggest research centers in the world that allows students from economically unstable backgrounds to pursue their degrees for free. The schools offer several undergraduate degrees and graduate programs online. Although the school provides tuition-free online programs to specific students, others enjoy larger reductions in their college applications and tuition fees.
  • University of Cambridge: Through a partnership with Apple, the University of Cambridge provides tuition-free online degree programs through iTunes U. The program allows students to access audio and video versions of the lectures. Unfortunately, one must have an Apple product to access tuition-free online education.
  • Massachusetts Information of Technology: MIT offers one of the best free online degree programs around the country. The college provides its curriculum to the public rather than specific courses. So, you can pursue any course offered by the online school. Learners have the option to choose the particular classes they want to learn. However, the courses are meant for personal development, and there is no certificate or diploma offered.

How Do You Know If an Online College Is Legitimate?

Finding if an online college is legitimate is quite simple. Just visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to discover whether a regional accreditation institution accredits an online college. If it is listed among accredited colleges, then online college is legitimate.

Best Colleges Offering Free Online Courses

With the increased number of colleges and universities offering online courses, it is vital to earning your online bachelor’s or degree from the best free accredited colleges. It is also essential to ensure that the online college you are applying for suits your education and professional objectives. This section explores how to know whether an online college is right for you and the best colleges offering free online courses. Let’s begin!

How Do You Know Whether Online College Is Right for You?

Whether you are unemployed, working as a full-time professional, or a high school graduate, online college can fit your schedule and lifestyle. Online learning has changed the face of education as people from different backgrounds are opting to take online courses. The convenience and flexibility of the online programs have led to the increased demand for online colleges across the country.

Are you unsure if online college is right for you? There are several factors you need to consider before choosing to enroll in an online college. Ask yourself several questions. For instance, you need to determine whether you enjoy working on computers. As an online student, you will spend most of your time working on the computer to attend classes and access course materials. If you are comfortable working with computers, then an online college should be the best option.

Additionally, you need to determine whether you can learn effectively outside of a classroom setting. Unlike traditional learning, students can take online courses anywhere, either at home, library, office, coffee shop, among other places. If you can remain alert and attentive outside of a classroom, then online college is preferably the better option. Also, you need to be comfortable working independently and participating in online discussions.

Which Colleges Offer Self-Paced Online Courses?

The education sector is rapidly changing. You no longer have to change your lifestyle and schedule to pursue your dream degree and career. Currently, self-paced online colleges have become the norm for most prospective students who want to earn their degrees. Self-paced online colleges allow students to complete their degrees within the shortest time possible. They are also more affordable compared to traditional degree programs. Are you looking for a college that offers self-paced online courses? Here are the best self-paced online colleges you can choose from:

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: This is a self-paced online school that provides accelerated graduate programs in various areas such as social work, education, business administration, health sciences, public affairs, and nursing. The programs take less than a year to complete.
  • Central Michigan University-Global Campus: The online college offers accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in administration, community development, and leadership. The accredited programs take approximately one year to complete.
  • University of Wisconsin: The college mainly offers nursing programs to students who want to advance their education. The schools provide all the resources needed by the students to complete the online course within the shortest time possible.

Which Colleges Are Considered Best at Offering Free Online Courses?

Are you looking for a college offering free online courses? Here is a list of the best colleges you should consider when seeking the value of education:

Full-Ride and Full-Tuition Scholarships Available for College

With the average cost of obtaining college degrees reaching $35,000, parents and learners are now turning to alternative ways to help reduce the rising cost of education. Most learners have turned to scholarships and other financial aids to help fund their college education. Although the scholarships have helped lessen the higher education costs, some expenses are always left uncovered. To help cover for most of these uncovered expenses, students have turned to full-ride and full-tuition scholarships.

Full-tuition scholarships usually cover the total cost of your tuition. However, this type of scholarship doesn’t cover other expenses such as boarding expenses. On the other hand, full-ride scholarship programs tend to make a student’s learning experience cost-free. Full-ride scholarships generally cover mandatory costs such as tuition, fees, meals, housing, among other expenses that students might encounter during their college education. There are various types of scholarships that a student might apply for. They include athletic scholarships and stamp scholarships. Others are merit scholarships and presidential scholarships, which are provided to high-performing students. Let’s explore the full-ride and full-tuition scholarships in detail.

What Percentage of Students Get a Full-Ride Scholarship to College Each Year?

Although not all schools offer full-ride scholarships, many do. Full-ride scholarships are crucial to students as they can learn in any college or university without worrying about the rising cost of education. The full-ride scholarship covers various education costs, including tuition, housing, meals, books fees, and other related education fees.

The full-ride scholarships are provided by government agencies, colleges and universities, and other corporate entities. However, getting a full-ride scholarship to college is tricky, especially merit scholarships, as several factors are considered before awarding the scholarships. With this, less than one percent of students get full-ride scholarships each year.

What GPA Do You Need to Get a Full-Tuition Scholarship for College?

Just like a full-ride scholarship, getting a full-tuition scholarship for college is quite tricky. Full-tuition scholarships are mainly awarded to low-income students who exhibit high academic capabilities. To qualify for this type of scholarship, one must have at least an average GPA of 3.0. However, the eligibility criteria for most full-tuition scholarships differ with the college and type of organization providing the scholarship. To be safe, you need to have a GPA of more than 3.0.

What Are the Different Types of Full-Ride Scholarships?

Learners become eligible for full-ride scholarships depending on their skills, backgrounds, and expertise. For example, you might earn a full-ride scholarship because of your academic capabilities, leadership, athletic prowess, or merits. Here are the different types of full-ride scholarships available to college students according to the best scholarship websites.

  • Prestige Scholarships: Prestige scholarships are mainly offered to students who have excelled in leadership or other areas.
  • Athletic Scholarship: Are offered to students who exhibit athletic prowess, including basketballer players, footballer players, and other athletes.
  • Merit-Based Scholarships: These are reserved for students who have excelled in their education. The eligibility is determined through GPA, ACT, and SAT scores.
  • Government Scholarships: In some cases, the government offers scholarships to various students, such as ROTC students.
  • Financial Need-Based Scholarship: Students from low-income families are eligible for this type of scholarship. Financial needs and merits determine the recipients for financial need private scholarships.

If you are looking to advance your career or start a new one, free online college courses could be a great way to start. The rising tuition costs have left many learners devastated as they continue to grapple with the high cost of education. In addition, most students must take on student debts which affects them financially once they graduate from college. However, with tuition-free colleges, you need not worry about the cost of your education. Free online colleges have increased the accessibility to a college education. Besides, the programs have opened up several opportunities for prospective students to succeed in their careers and education.

Tuition-free colleges help students who cannot afford a college education by providing affordable or free degree options. In addition to covering the cost of education, the colleges also offer financial aid to students to help cover expenses they incur while completing their degree program. Currently, several free colleges help students get high-quality education freely, enabling them to pursue their dream careers. While shopping for a free college, ensure that a recognized accrediting institution accredits the program.

Further Reading:

Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges

Accelerated Online Degree Programs

Online Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.