Check out edx.org, a collaboration between MIT, Berkely and Harvard. The courses are free and they do provide some certification should you complete the work successfully. Not the same as a real diploma, but…
Another place to look at for cheap education: Udemy. Some of the classes require payment. Quite a few are free. As for the quality, I leave that to you to figure out for now. Maybe I’ll check out a course myself when time permits and post on what it’s like.
Considering that many of the courses are free, if you have the time, check it out!
College makes nearly everyone search for free money. And since many find it, colleges simply raise tuition, in an ongoing battle for prestige. Meanwhile the return on getting a college education drops. It is still worth something — if you do some actual learning — but it is no longer the guaranteed ticket into the upper classes it once was.
Innovators are doing something about it. Check out this Wired article on free online Computer Science classes being taught by Stanford. No credit granted, but if you contemplate college in order to learn something…
Massachachusetts Institute of Technology is also getting into the game with MITx.
And for those who want to get spun up to speed to get ready for college, there is Khan Academy.
This is a great age to live in for those with time and willpower to learn, but limited funds.
The list above is incomplete. I’ll add more later, either by updating this post or in future posts in this category.
If you are unemployed, take advantage of these opportunities. Use your time wisely.