Beware of Free Online College Degrees


Free online colleges have experienced a spike in popularity over the past decade. We all love freebies. And with big university names like Harvard, Princeton, and MIT offering free online courses, it was only a matter of time before the industry blew up. However, before you sign up, take a moment to think about it. Are these free online degrees truly free? What will you have to give up in the name of obtaining a free online degree? Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of enrolling blindly as most have done before. For more insight on free online college degrees, read this piece to the end.

Beware of Free Online College Degrees

Risks and Demerits of Free Online College Degrees

Nothing is truly free

No institution will ever offer its services for free – no matter how big or reputable they are. Here’s the thing; a lot of resources go into providing quality education (online or otherwise). The resources and infrastructure to offer the said education cost a lot. While you might not be paying for the resources, someone behind the scene is. And though we might want to believe they do it out of the kindness of their heart, let’s not be naïve. There is a motive behind the free online degree. And since there is no product being sold, you are the product. This is to mean that the free degree is offered just to lure you into something that will make the institution more money. After all, the money spent on the resources has to be recovered in some way.

For government institutions, the burden of offering a free online degree is transferred to the citizens in form of increased taxes. And in the case of tuition-free programs like The University of the People, instead of paying for the degree, the online university requires its students to pay by working at the school facilities.

Lastly, since the degree pursued is online, you will need to a PC, desktop or smartphone and internet to access the courseware. And depending on where you live, streaming and downloading videos is expensive. So while you may not be paying tuition fees, you still will have to cater to your internet costs. And if you don’t have a PC, you’ll have to invest in one.

Shallow content

The thought of pursuing a free online degree on applied mathematics is exciting. After all, traditional colleges seem to charge an arm and a leg for the same. Though many people feel robbed by traditional universities and colleges when paying their tuition fees, there is a reason they charge so much.

Traditional colleges and universities have comprehensive curriculums designed to transform the students into formidable forces in the industry. Though colleges offering free online degrees seem to follow similar teaching curriculums, the content is shallow. So much so that students end up half-baked. Eventually, few (if any) companies will want to be associated with an individual they have to retrain to acquire skills they should already have.

Lack of accreditation

Unfortunately, most online colleges offering free online degrees are not accredited. This means that acquiring a degree from such institutions is a waste of time. No employer will acknowledge the degree or hire you solely based on it. So in essence, unless you find a way to convert the knowledge into practical skills that will provide value to your employer, the free online college degree will not help advance your career.

You do not earn credits

Earning cheap online degrees fast is great. And while these free online college degrees may look good on your wall and give you a sense of achievement, they do not earn you college credits. This is to mean that a traditional university will not accept a free online college degree as a prerequisite to pursuing a master’s degree in the same field. Yes, even when you complete MIT open course, MIT won’t let you in on their traditional master’s class based on your free online degree.

Even worse, some free online colleges only offer statements of accomplishments instead of free online degrees. These statements of accomplishments will look good at the bottom of your resume but not help you towards advancing your education and career.

Free online Colleges have a high fail rate

Free online colleges and MOOCs are hyped and heavily marketed. As a result of the marketing and hype, thousands of students enroll every month. A simple sign up to the site counts as an enrollment. Unfortunately, a staggering 93% of students either fail or drop out of the courses.

Why is that? Well, the free classes draw a lot of attention from individuals only looking to try out the course. And since no check was ever written, walking away is easy. And even for those who see the course through to the end, they experience a lot of turn-offs.

First, with so many students to evaluate, the grading systems are bug filled or are just wrong. Second, the humanities rely on peer grading which is often tedious and unreliable. Additionally, some students are reported to be quite rude and offensive in their grading. Though most online colleges claim they are working to improve on these bugs, they have a long way to go. At the moment, these free online colleges are churning out students with dismal results compared to those who pay for their degree.


There is a reason why traditional universities and paid online degree courses get a lot of traffic despite their high costs. Such as verifiabledegree, offer tangible benefits and value to their students. If you are looking for career advancement these two are probably the best options.

However, if you don’t have time to take the classes, you can always buy an accredited college degree. Yes, this is possible and they are legit. Once you make payments for these, you receive your degree in a matter of days. However, it’s important that you buy a degree in an industry you are conversant with. If not, you’ll encounter problems when you’re required to prove your skills in the arned’ degree.

And with that said, beware of free or fast online degrees. Though alluring, in the end, you might spend a fortune. Remember, there are no free things in this world.


Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.