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I was informed today that while I am eligible for a Pell grant that I cannot receive it or any other financial aid until I submit a letter stating that I have made arrangements to pay off the old student loan. Upon calling the group that has the loan I was told that such a letter was already on the way, included in a packet about my repayment program.
I have decided that I am not going to stress over this. It will happen or it won’t. Even if the bureaucratic maze prevents me from going to school this fall, they cannot stop me from learning about my passion no matter how hard they try.
With this in mind I have been exploring a variety of online options. Education Portal offers a series of basic classes that allow you to actually receive credit at the end of the class. The accreditation tests cost money but the classes themselves are actually free. After looking over what they have available that may be a viable option for my initial math class if things don’t work out for this semester at my local college.
The University of the People has some classes that you can take if you aren’t interested in official college credit. While they are working on becoming accredited, thus far they have not managed this feat. They have some basic computer science and business classes that may be of benefit to me. While the tests do cost money, they have assistance available through their scholarship portal to help those who cannot afford those testing fees.
MIT offers a series of open courses that you can take entirely for free; while you don’t receive college credit for the classes they can be of great benefit for those who are not interested in a degree. Since many people in the computer science field do not have formal credentials (and MIT has an extensive cirricula available in the computer science field) this is a very viable alternative if I am unable to finance a traditional college education.
I have been quite surprised at the wealth of free educational resources that are available online; while most don’t offer official accreditation it has become very obvious to me that you can learn about almost anything online if you really want to, even if you don’t have any money to spend. All it takes is the determination to do the research, choose an educational option and get to work.
Have you ever pursued an online education? Please share your stories in the comments below.
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