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Paying for College

Rules Changing for Massive Open Online Courses

You may be able to get credit for these free online tutorials.

Lately, MOOCs, or "massive open online courses," have become the hot topic for educators and policymakers looking for ways to expand access to higher education. Harvard, MIT and Duke are among the growing list of institutions that offer these free online tutorials, through partners such as Coursera, edX and Udacity. The courses typically offer a certificate of completion, but few offer credit toward a degree.

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That could change. Last October, Antioch University in Los Angeles launched a pilot partnership with Coursera to offer several MOOCs for credit. And the American Council on Education has begun evaluating the creditworthiness of a number of Coursera MOOCs. If approved, those courses would have enrollees take an identity-verified exam (for example, via webcam) and pay a fee.

For now, look to accredited degree and certificate programs to pick up a credential -- and participate in MOOCs for the love of learning.

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