Money & The Economy

Here Are the Top 50 Colleges Offering Free Classes Online

A new guide, published Wednesday, ranks the top 50 universities that offer free online courses.

The potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is only now beginning to be realized, though the concept has been around for over a decade. As the format has been embraced by reputable colleges and universities, free online courses have proven to be a game-changer for continuing education, lifelong learning, and skills building for working adults, seniors, and other nontraditional students. College Consensus is highlighting the institutions that have integrated MOOCs into their mission with their guide to the Top 50 Colleges for Free Online Courses.

Free online courses can help students defray the cost of their degrees by substituting on-campus classes with free or low-cost alternatives from these universities. Several offer college-credit classes and some have certificate programs that can be completed online.

Schools in the Top 50 Colleges for Free Online Courses are all accredited institutions which had enough reputable rankings and student reviews to qualify for a College Consensus rating. Schools were then ranked according to how many MOOCs they offer, from most to fewest.

Full top 50 Colleges Offering Free Online Courses (in alphabetical order):

  • Arizona State University
  • Babson College
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth University
  • Davidson College
  • Doane University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Georgetown University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Michigan State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • Princeton University
  • Purdue University
  • Rice University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University
  • Stanford University
  • State University of New York
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University System of Georgia
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Colorado System
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Texas Arlington
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Yale University

“Just a few years ago, it seemed that MOOCs were a passing fad that no one could take seriously,” College Consensus editors write. According to critics, “Either MOOCs could never compete with colleges, or colleges could never compete with MOOCs.” But MOOCs live on, over a decade later, because of institutions that found a middle route: “Only a few realized that colleges and MOOCs didn’t need to be in competition,” the editors note; “MOOCs could enrich college education, continuing education, and lifelong learning, and colleges could provide MOOCs with real substance and rigor.” By using their resources to make substantial MOOCs, colleges and universities made MOOCs legitimate.

To create the Top 50 Colleges offering MOOCS, Consensus editors “researched MOOCs offered by Consensus-ranked schools, which means they have a sufficient number of published rankings and student reviews to qualify.” Consensus’ focus on accredited, reputable institutions helps guide students to courses that will have a real, positive impact. Thanks to colleges buying in, “Students can find MOOCs in virtually every field and industry, every level of education and experience, and every available media format – video, readings, interactive chats, and more.” Free, open online courses are a revolution in learning that College Consensus supports.

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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