As you already know, I am a big supporter of simple living–avoiding debt, reducing stress, increasing self-sufficiency… So I am always on the look-out for free and inexpensive ways to progress in this society. That’s the thing about simple living: first you must know what it is you need, and then you must choose the most cost-efficient method of obtaining that need. One universal need is higher education. There’s nothing like higher education to develop the mind, hone skills, and bankrupt you before graduation.
“While visiting with old college friends on New Years’ Eve, we did a back-of-the-envelope calculation on the cost and value of our BA degrees in Accounting from 1981. We attended a small, well-regarded Midwestern liberal arts college from 1977 to 1981. Tuition, room and board was between $3,000 and $4,000 per year, so around $16,000 for our BA. As entry-level accountants in public CPA firms, we earned a salary of around $17,000 per year. So we earned in salary an amount equal to the cost of a BA degree in our first year of employment. Now that same college, which my youngest daughter is looking at attending, costs $42,000 per year. If she earned her BA in Accounting it would cost her $168,000. Her possible first year salary as a CPA? Not even close to $168,000. Maybe around $45,000. What a change in 30 years in the value of that BA in Accounting.” http://11changes.com/the-11-changes/education-redefined.html
So, if you are looking into higher education, but have decided you cannot afford the high cost, I have listed below a few options for you to consider. These options are, of course, not as grand as a Harvard education but they will get the basic job done–educating you.
Going against the flow (ex. saying “no” to debt) is always a harder road at first. But eventually, the road becomes easier. It forces you to focus on an idea, think outside the box, and then make things happen.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare. MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT. “As of November 2011, over 2080 courses were available online. While a few of these are limited to chronological reading lists and discussion topics, a majority provided homework problems and exams (often with solutions) and lecture notes. Some courses also include interactive web demonstrations in Java, complete textbooks written by MIT professors, and streaming video lectures. As of November 2011, 46 courses included complete video lectures; not all of these have complete lecture notes. The video is available in streaming mode, but may also be downloaded for viewing offline. Many video and audio files are also available from iTunesU.” (wikipedia.com)
- Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit educational organization created by American educator Salman Khan, with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. The academy is a full virtual school with practice exercises, badges and personal stats. It supplies a free online collection of 124,008,302 lessons delivered and more than 2,700 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, healthcare and medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, organic chemistry, American civics, art history, microeconomics and computer science. Some subtopics that may be of interest: investment, statistics, SAT preparation, Paulson Bailout, Geithner Plan, Venture Capital, Currency, GMAT, Credit Crisis, and Banking. The academy mostly focuses on K-12 education, but you will find various college-level tutorials. You can watch the lectures on his website or on his YouTube channel.
- Antioch College in Ohio. “Antioch College, a private liberal arts college, is waiving the tuition for all its students who enroll in the next three years. The value of the free tuition for the current year is said to be $26,500. The scholarship, based on that price, would means that each scholarship will be worth approximately $106,000, according to the report. … The CBS report also noted that some students who file financial aid applications will get an even greater price break because if the qualify, they may not pay room and board charges or pay at a reduced price. Room and board at Antioch College is said to cost $8,628.” (ibtimes)
- Tuition-Free Colleges or Full Scholarship Colleges. These schools are America’s best-kept secret. You don’t hear much about them since there are so few, some are located off the beaten path, some are religious-based, some are specialized institutions, and some have high admissions requirements. Despite all of this, you should consider them because students who attend these colleges can graduate with little or no debt. A miracle in today’s higher education system. Still, do your research… Tuition-free does not mean cost-free. Here is a list of schools I found on the web for the years 2010 and 2011: Cooper Union in New York, US Merchant Marine Academy in New York, College of the Ozarks in Missouri, University of the People, Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Berea College in Kentucky, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY in New York, Webb Institute in New York, Deep Springs College in California, Barclay College in Kansas, Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts.
- Georgia public universities and colleges under Georgia’s HOPE scholarship. With the HOPE scholarship, residents of Georgia can attend a public college or university in Georgia tuition-free. For more information, click here. If you live in Georgia, this is a great option. If you don’t, you may want to consider moving to Georgia and becoming a legal resident.