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Free Online Degrees - Where to Find Free Online Degrees

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A college education can be expensive. Completion of a four-year degree can cost $20,000 or more, depending on the college and program of study. Online degree programs can be somewhat less expensive, but grants and loans are often still necessary to offset the cost. Some colleges offer a selection of free online classes, but not a totally free degree program. The idea of free online degrees is still fairly new and controversial. However, teachers are becoming more generous with sharing their knowledge and educating as much of the population as possible for little or no pay. Because of this, there is a trend to offer free online degrees.

At this time, there is only one institution that offers free online degrees. University of the People (http://www.uopeople.org/groups/tuition-free-online-degree) is a tuition-free, non-profit university founded in the fall of 2009. It does not charge registered students for classes or for reading and course materials. However, in September 2011, the university will charge students a modest fee for applications and tests. The university is fully online, with no buildings. It is comprised of a diverse group of students and faculty from all over the world, representing both underdeveloped and developed countries.

University of the People is able to offer free online degrees by functioning on a limited budget, with the support of educators and scholars. The university embraces a learning model, open-source e-learning and peer-to-peer teaching. Within online study communities, students collaborate on group projects, share ideas and resources, participate in discussions, submit assignments and take exams.

University of the People accepts applicants with a high school education who have proficiency in the English language and computer and Internet access. It offers only four degrees at this time: associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and computer science. More degrees and programs will be offered once the trend in free online degrees proves to be more popular and successful.

It is important to note that the University of the People is not currently an accredited institution. The university is preparing the necessary materials to apply for accreditation, but it is unknown when and if accreditation will be granted. Until it receives accreditation, the university will be unable to grant degrees to graduating stduents. Because of this, education and credits acquired may not be accepted by other institutions or prospective employers.

A new American Graduation Initiative has been created by President Obama, resulting in the development of new interactive, online coursework. It is expected to be financed by the federal government at $50 million a year for 10 years. The concept of free online degrees is still being developed . However, with advances in technology, including social media, and new innovative learning/teaching opportunities, it will soon be possible for many to earn free online degrees in many fields of study.

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