The Rise of Free Online College Courses

To say that attending college is an expensive process is an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in America is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion. In 2011, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and online college courses are not much cheaper. However, the advent of free online college courses, other known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), could change the face of education forever.

It started off as an experiment but all signs point towards it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the course; enroll in the college and pay the normal tuition fees. In a country where a degree in religious and women’s studies in a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could open up the world of education to students. Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and need some method of attracting more students.

Growth of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges involved in the plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked in 2012 as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn’t afford education. These courses were founded by professors of top schools such as Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers up on their offer.

At this stage, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If this were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to change. A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs and this could spread to American educational institutions as Colorado State has made noises about following the lead of its European counterparts. The University of Washington is also considering this course of action though students at the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor from the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and will continue to be used as a tool to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university. The University of Texas in Arlington has teamed up with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and paid for the on-campus course. If nothing else, MOOCs give students a ‘try before they buy’ option, a valuable resource when courses are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a threat to traditional education but if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage like the University of Texas, giving something for free could turn out to be very lucrative.

Tuition Free College – What’s the Best Kept Secret in Education?

For many prospective college students, tuition can be a make-or-break factor in the final decision. What if there were a tuition free college? Thankfully, there are many schools around the world that do just that.

A tuition free college is able to sustain itself through government subsidiaries, thus dropping the tuition cost.

Nevertheless, there are still some costs involved in attending a tuition free university, such as room & board, books, etc. This can be covered in most cases, as many tuition free college

allow students to work while in school.

A lot of tuition free college are in Europe, where this educational scheme has a long and successful history.One example of a tuition free college is the Jonkoping International Business School. Located in Sweden, the Jonkoping International Business School is an urban university that offers degrees in informatics, economics, business administration, commercial law, and political science. Bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees are offered, and most of the classes are in English. The school is relatively small, with a total enrollment of about 2000 students, of which 25% are international students.

Just like the Jonkoping International Business School, many other tuition free college have strong English support due to the extensive number of international students. Not all of these academic establishments focus on business though. There is a wide range of degrees and programs offered around the world, including computer science, IT, and engineering degrees.

In addition, such high programs such as medical school are offered. In order to participate in a free study abroad, be aware that a list of prerequisites awaits you. First things first, any prospective student needs to contact the embassy of the host country to acquire a student visa. Secondly, make sure to check with the university regarding any entry exams or grade requirements. All in all, the ambition of attending college shouldn’t be hampered with tuition, and in the case of the many tuition free universities around the world, it doesn’t have to be.

Should University Education Be Free For All?

Education is the most critical and pressing issue for the development of any country and more and more reforms are brought in this sector with the passage of time. No one denies the sheer role and significance of education in making a better nation and a progressive world. Where many people manage to get primary and secondary education, provided free in most of the countries, it is difficult to most in getting themselves equipped with the higher or university education due to the high cost/fee. Hence, there has always been this debate of whether the university education should be free for all.

For most of the people say that it should be free as getting knowledge is a basic right and it should not come with a price tag. Most of the people cannot afford the huge cost of higher education and many of the future Einstein and Marx are wasting their abilities and talents due to the inaccessibility to the universities and university education which makes education a privilege of a particular class instead of everyone’s basic right. When more people get higher education, there will be more jobs available for them and the rate of unemployment will be reduced alleviating the poverty in the society and leading it towards advancement and prosperity. Another argument for the free university education goes with the principle of equality where everyone has a right to have equal opportunity and in making university education free, this principle of equality can be fulfilled in converting it into a reality on pragmatic grounds out of the antique box of theory. If higher education is free, thousands of young boys and girls would be able to get education instead of bearing the burden of part time jobs in fulfilling the university expanses.

There is other side of the coin too and which is not in favor of free university education that brings gargantuan burden on the shoulders of the government.

There is a lot of investment required and the cost of higher education is too high that it becomes indispensable for the people to share some of the burden of the state which does not have ample resources and money for free university education. Though there can be, as there are, more special students loans and scholarships in aid of the students who cannot afford the cost of higher education. Another argument is that if university education is free, there will be a descend in the value of higher education as there will be less money to pay for the professors and staff and many other university resources (related to technical education at higher level). Hence there is a danger of a low quality education once it has been made free for all like water in an ocean.

To conclude, where we can see many hurdles in the way of free university education we can also see the example of Germany in making its higher education free. Much can be learnt from the Germany’s experience or experimentation (hitherto to see) in making university education free for all.