Beginner’s Guide to Free Online College Classes


A beginner’s guide to free online college classes for adults in subjects of your choice.

Are you interested in advancing your education but your finances or time constraints are holding you back? Are you a mature student who is nervous about returning to study? Are you indecisive about which subject to study and concerned that you may begin a degree, commit to spending a large sum of money and then decide that you have chosen the wrong subject? If this is the case, free online college classes may be your answer.


Free online college classes allow you to study a university level subject of your choice completely online at a time and place that suits your schedule without making a long-term commitment. You can choose to study towards a degree, take a short course in a subject of your choice, or study for personal development only. Whatever you decide to do, there is an array of choices for you. We have selected some excellent sites for you to consider.


Pros and Cons of Online Learning

Becoming a student on campus is always exciting as it is a time in your life where you will challenge your mind, build new and lasting friendships and gain much reward.


But due to financial constraints and family commitments, on-campus learning isn’t a viable option for everybody. If this is the case, online degrees allow you to combine your busy lifestyle with learning. You can study what you want, when you want and how you want. The online option gives you flexibility, cost-effectiveness, convenience and peace of mind. It is an increasingly popular option for students wishing to enrich their education, progress in their careers or seeking a mid-life change of direction. If you are interested in learning more about becoming an adult student, check out our blog: 5 Reasons Why Becoming an Adult Student is a Great Idea.


According to the Statistica Survey 2017 on growth of e-learning, the size of the e-learning market is forecasted to escalate to $243 billion by 2022. This demonstrates that e-learning is highly in demand, has been embraced by today’s generation of employers and is here to stay.


If you are interested in taking college classes, whether for certification purposes or for self-improvement, we have done some research for you and selected some excellent sites for you to explore.


Where to Find Free Online College Classes



Alison offers 1,000 free online courses across 9 different categories. You can choose from certificate courses, diploma courses and learning paths. They teach courses in: IT, Science, Language, Humanities, Health, Business, Math, Marketing, Software Development, Lifestyle, Software Development, Life Science, Finance, Operations, Healthcare and Skilled Trades. Alison has a useful feature which allows you to select the industry that you are interested in and then directs you to a list of courses that are relevant to the industry.


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Futurelearn provides access to hundreds of free online college courses from top universities and specialist organizations with access to videos, articles, peer reviews and quizzes. You can choose from courses in 13 different categories. If you want to take your learning further and earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can upgrade your membership at a cost of $31 – $89 to receive access to these upgraded courses.


University of the People


University of the People is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free accredited American online university. It is dedicated to opening access to higher education globally and to overcome financial, geographic, political and personal constraints to education. UoPeople offers degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Health Science and provides a Master’s in Education.


In order to maintain high standards, the university charges fees for examinations and a one off $60 admin fee. If you are unable to pay these fees, there are scholarships made available by generous donors who believe strongly that education is a human right and that everyone should be able to receive it regardless of political, geographic or financial constraints.




EdX provides free online university courses from some of the world’s most prestigious universities including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and many others, with the goal of making high-quality education accessible to all. If you want to receive certification for your learning, there is a charge. There is a wide variety of courses and something for everyone. They provide additional pathways for advancement via their programs at Arizona State University giving students the opportunity to take the same courses as on-campus students and the best part is that you only pay for the credit if you pass the exams.




Coursera is a platform that provides free university courses from some of the world’s best universities. The method of learning is by video, peer-reviewed assignments and community discussion forums. They also provide various paid professional certificate courses and master’s programs.


Khan Academy


Khan Academy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free world class education to anyone, anywhere. They offer practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard to empower learners of all ages to study at their own pace. The courses offered include: Math, Science & Engineering, Arts & Humanities, Computing and Finance. Khan Academy courses are suited to both adults and children.


Low-cost online college classes


Lynda is an excellent site that gives you online access to an extensive library of courses in software development, design, business, web development and photography taught by industry experts in their field. Payment is by monthly subscription and you can cancel at any time. It costs $25 per month for access to 13,000+ expert-led courses.




Udemy is an online learning platform aimed at professional adults and offers over 100,000 online courses. Their courses are taught by experts in their field. Once you purchase the course, you will receive lifetime access to their videos and learning materials.


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Wrapping Up

If you are looking to jump ahead on the career ladder or start a new career, free online college classes are a great way to start. If you enjoy them and want to continue with your learning and gain an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, take a look at UoPeople’s accredited tuition-free degrees, an excellent way to learn without the debt and financial pressure.