How to Go to Ivy League Schools for Free Online

Take online courses from these Ivy League schools.

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Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale come with a lot of prestige, some are even the setting for movies like “Legally Blonde.” But one thing these famous schools are known for are their high tuition costs.

Fortunately, with the popularity of open education and technology, there are ways to get the Ivy League experience for free. Check out these resources that connect you with free online courses from top-notch institutions.

Related: What They Should Have Taught You About Money in School

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Academic Earth

Academic Earth is an interactive web-based platform designed to connect users to free online education from distinguished universities, such as highly-sought out Ivy League schools. Richard Ludlow, Chris Bruner and Liam Pisano founded the website in 2008 to make education free and accessible worldwide.

Listen to lectures on international politics, learn to build websites and the basics of economics, and more. Lectures and online coursework are posted to the website, with courses available from these Ivy League schools: Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Columbia University, Princeton University and Yale University.

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Coursera is the brainchild of two former Stanford University computer science professors, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. Rick Levin, former president at Yale, is Coursera’s CEO. According to a Coursera representative, more than 20 million people are actively registered in Coursera courses from its 145 university partners — including Ivy League schools like Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

Courses are available for free, but for the full experience, you’ll need to pay. Paying for an Accounting Analytics course from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, costs $595 and comes with graded assignments, a final grade, full course materials and a shareable certificate.

Read: 23 Overseas Colleges Cheaper Than U.S. Colleges

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Gain access to Ivy League online courses and other elite institutions by visiting The website, founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012, is a provider of massive open online courses (MOOC). You will find a range of disciplines and can earn certificates and credit for online courses.

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Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia and Dartmouth are a sampling of the institutions with coursework available through edX. You can take Biology and Life Sciences coursework from Harvard or MIT, or a business course from Cornell, for example.

According to Dr. Joshua Kim, director of Digital Learning Initiatives at Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, the college has opted to work with edX because it’s not-for-profit: “We are part of that group that believes in the promise of open education and we are doing this with the other members.”

He added that the open online classes on edX are not substitutes for or comparable to on-campus classes for enrolled students, saying, “We very much believe education is about a relationship between faculty and student, and that type of relationship cannot be replicated with these type of online courses.”

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Class Central

Another great website to check out for a free online course is Class Central. The website is a MOOC aggregator that connects you to top-notch schools around the world. Harvard, Cornell and Princeton are a few of the Ivy League schools that can be found through the web portal.

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Founder and CEO of Class Central, Dhawal Shah, said the website has helped 5 million people decide which online courses to take.

Also Read: 5 Things to Know About College Savings Plans

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If you’re interested in an arts and creative technology education, you might want to visit Kadenze is an online arts education platform that launched June 2015. The platform has partnerships with two Ivy League schools — Princeton and Columbia — and offers courses from 26 schools overall, including Stanford and UCLA.

“Kadenze is the first online arts-specific higher education platform [whose] mission is to tackle the rising costs of arts education by providing access to course content from leading universities and institutions around the world,” said president and CEO Ajay Kapur.

Currently, the two Ivy League schools’ offerings through Kadenze are in music. Non-Ivy League school courses include classes in fashion, music technology, design and more.

While you can take courses for free, a $10 premium membership will allow you to submit assignments for grading, collaborate with peers and earn a certificate of accomplishment.

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Open Education Consortium

Open Education Consortium is another portal to free online coursework from established universities. The Open Education Consortium is a not-for-profit organization made up of individuals and institutions that support open education, according to the website.

It offers a search engine in collaboration with MERLOT on Open Educational Resources, which is a database of educational materials that are available for free use. If, for instance, you search Princeton University, you’ll find the link to a textbook for “Introduction to Programming in Java” by Princeton professor Robert Sedgewick.

To find a subject of interest, simply type in a course area or an educational institution’s name.

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About the Author

Lia Sestric

Lia Sestric is a Pittsburgh native and graduate from E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Her bachelor’s degree is in Broadcast News. She has written and produced television news stories in the Los Angeles area and Charleston, S.C. In 2012, Lia began to freelance write on the side about higher education and careers for Yahoo! Finance. Lia is now based in the Washington, D.C. area and continues to work on national and local writing contracts. Her work frequently appears on major sites like Yahoo, The Huffington Post, MSN, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, USA Today, in addition to GOBankingRates. 
You can follow her on Twitter @liasestric and Facebook @LSHWrites. Lia can be reached by email

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