Top 10 Free Accredited Online Colleges

Are you interested in pursuing higher education but worried about the cost? Have you considered attending a free accredited online college? These schools offer quality education without the burden of tuition fees, making them a great option for those on a tight budget.

One such institution is the University of the People, which offers degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Health Science, among others. This fully accredited online university charges no tuition fees, though students are expected to pay modest fees for each exam they take. Additionally, the university offers scholarships to qualified students in need of financial assistance. With a student community that spans over 200 countries, the University of the People provides a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Check them out at

What Are Free Accredited Online Colleges

Free accredited online colleges are institutions that offer degree programs over the internet that are fully accredited and do not charge tuition fees.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Accredited Online Colleges

The advantages of free online colleges include the convenience of studying from home, flexibility, cost savings, and access to a wide range of programs. The disadvantages include limited interaction with professors, lack of structure that can lead to procrastination, and the need for self-motivation.

Examples of Free Accredited Online Colleges

Examples of free accredited online colleges include University of the People, Open Learning Initiative, Saylor Academy, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare.


Online education has been around for a while, offering a convenient way for students to earn a degree while balancing other responsibilities. However, finding an accredited online college can be difficult, especially if you are on a tight budget. The good news is that there are free accredited online colleges that offer quality education without the high price tag. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best free accredited online colleges available today.

1. University of the People

The University of the People is a non-profit institution that offers tuition-free education to students worldwide. The school offers undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Health Science, and Education. They also offer graduate degrees in Business Administration and Education. To be accepted into the program, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass their English proficiency test. While tuition is free, there are some fees associated with the University of the People, such as application fees, assessment fees, and exam fees.

2. Open University

The Open University is based in the UK and offers free courses that are available to anyone worldwide. The school offers courses in the arts, business, education, engineering, health, languages, law, science, and social sciences. The Open University also offers online degree programs that have a tuition fee, but their prices are relatively low compared to traditional universities. The Open University is known for its quality education, and their courses and degrees are recognized worldwide. They also offer financial aid and scholarships to students who qualify.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare

MIT offers free courses in various subjects through their OpenCourseWare program. The school has over 2,400 courses available, ranging from biology to computer science to history and more. The courses are taught by MIT professors and are available to anyone worldwide. While these courses do not count towards a degree, they are an excellent way to enhance your knowledge and skills in a particular field. Some students even use these courses to supplement their traditional education.

4. Stanford Online

Stanford University offers free online courses, certificates, and degree programs through their Stanford Online program. The courses are taught by Stanford professors and include subjects such as engineering, business, medicine, education, and more. While some courses are self-paced, others follow a traditional academic calendar. Stanford Online also offers professional development courses, which can help individuals enhance their skills in their current profession or help them prepare for a new one.

5. Coursera

Coursera is an online platform that offers courses and degree programs from top universities worldwide. The courses are free to take, but if you want a certificate or degree, there is a fee. Coursera has partnered with over 200 universities to offer courses in a variety of subjects, including computer science, business, history, and more. The courses are self-paced, and some offer a community of students and instructors to help students along the way. Coursera also offers financial aid to students who qualify.


Attending a free accredited online college can be an excellent option for students who cannot afford traditional college prices or who want to supplement their traditional education. The schools mentioned in this article offer quality education from top universities and are recognized worldwide. Whether you want to learn a new subject or skill, enhance your current skills, or earn a degree, these schools have something to offer for everyone.

FAQ: Free Accredited Online Colleges

1. What are free accredited online colleges?

Free accredited online colleges are universities that offer tuition-free education for their programs online while maintaining the same accreditation and curriculum as any other traditional university. These colleges are approved by the relevant accreditation agencies, which guarantees that the institution meets or exceeds the necessary academic standards.

2. Are these colleges legitimate?

Yes, they are legitimate. Accredited online colleges have to follow and maintain the same standards as any traditional university. This means that you will be able to get an education that is of the same quality as any traditional four-year university. Accrediting bodies are tasked with ensuring that the schools are genuine, have qualified faculty, and maintain academic quality and rigor.

3. Why do these colleges offer education for free?

Many free accredited online colleges are non-profit organizations that are supported by grants, endowments, or donations. Others offer tuition-free education to encourage learners to earn degrees independently. While students study for free, they may need to cover additional costs such as textbooks or technology fees. Moreover, while college is free, the admission process requires students to meet certain academic qualifications.

4. Is the curriculum the same as at traditional universities?

Free online accredited colleges have the same accreditation as traditional four-year colleges, which means that they have to follow the same academic standards and offer the same quality of education. Instructors at these colleges have to create and deliver course materials that are comparable to those delivered in traditional classrooms. The online curriculum is often as challenging and rigorous as that of other colleges. Besides, some online institutions offer a self-paced curriculum that is tailored to accommodate students with various schedules or learning styles, in this case, the material is presented in shorter segments to enable students to grasp the content more effectively.

5. How can I ensure that the accreditation of an online college is legitimate?

You can verify the accreditation of an online college by checking the website of the accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. The website has a database where you can verify whether the institution that you are looking for is recognized by the accrediting body. If you cannot find it in the list, then it is not genuine. The database is designed to help you gain access to reliable information on the college’s accreditation history, any sanctions against the college, and the type of degree courses offered.

6. How do I apply to a free accredited online college?

Applying to a free accredited online college is similar to the application process for any traditional university. Start by selecting the school you are interested in and visit their website to confirm their admission requirements. Some schools will require you to complete an application form, while others may require you to write an essay and submit other documents to support your application. Just like a traditional university application, you will need to have your official transcripts sent from your previous schools. Once you meet the admission requirements, you will receive an acceptance letter that details the next steps you should take.

7. Do online colleges offer the same financial aid programs as traditional universities?

There are many financial aid options available to online college students. Federal financial aid is available to students attending accredited online universities, which means that you may be eligible for grants or loans to help cover your education expenses. Private scholarships might also be available from the online college or other organizations, mainly if you are pursuing a particular degree program or field of study. Other than that, you can look for work-study programs to offset the cost of your tuition by working on campus.

8. Can I access free accredited online colleges outside of the United States?

Yes, many universities that offer tuition-free education are available to students worldwide. Some universities operate fully virtual programs, which means that students can access the coursework from anywhere in the world. Others allow international students to access the online content via a network of domestic and global partner institutions. This enables students to connect with instructors and peers, access course material, and receive credentials on the completion of the program.

9. What are the pros and cons of attending a free online accredited college?

Pros: Tuition-free online colleges are ideal for many learners who do not have the financial resources to pay for more expensive traditional university tuition. They offer flexible schedules that are tailored to fit the needs of working adults, and students can log in to their courses at any time and from anywhere. Besides, online colleges that provide a broad range of degrees and certification programs make higher education accessible to a more diverse group of students.

Cons: Free online colleges require students to be self-disciplined, self-motivated, and organized because they need to manage their time and study schedule effectively. Without peer-to-peer interaction and the traditional classroom experience, students may find it difficult to build relationships and network with other students and instructors. Additionally, some employers may perceive online degrees to be inferior to traditional degrees.

10. Do employers recognize degrees earned from free online accredited colleges?

Yes, as long as the college is accredited by a reputable body and follows the same academic standards, then the degree should be as respected as one from a traditional four-year college. Still, it is worth noting that some employers might prefer applicants with degrees from universities with a physical campus. One way to increase your chances is to graduate from a well-respected, accredited college with an excellent academic reputation. Finally, consider supplementing your education with internships, professional certifications or gain hands-on experience in your chosen field, and this can make your job application or resume more appealing to employers.

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