How to Get a College Education for (Almost) Free

How to Get a College Education for (Almost) Free

Does a college education really make sense today? Is the investment of time and tens or even hundreds of thousand of dollars on a college or university degree worth what we get in return?

A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Joe Lalonde, recently wrote a blog post outlining the competitive advantage an employer could have by reimbursing their employees for their schooling. Here's a direct link to that post.

In response to his post, I asked if we needed a college education at all, or if we should look at a free path. I'll let you decide.

While I do have a college education and a degree, I must question whether the amount of debt students take on in order to get the degree is worth the financial gains we expect by having it.

So I ask you,

Does paying thousands of dollars for a degree sound like a good idea when most of the world's richest people became so without schooling?

How to Get a College Education for (almost) Free

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-SA

Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of education, learning, reading and improving. What I'm not a fan of is accepting a potentially life-long debt in order to have initials at the end of my name.

To be completely open and honest, I have to divulge that I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Baylor University. I'm extremely proud of what I accomplished and learned while in school.

This post is not about the value of a college degree.

This post is about how you can educate yourself and get a college education for (almost) free.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender – Proverbs 22:7

Some people will spend years of their life and $60,000 or more for a master's degree so that they earn an additional $3,000-$5,000 per year.

Does that math make sense?

If you got an extra $5k added to your paycheck, which sounds like a lot, it would be twelve years before you broke even. That math doesn't even allow for taxes or interest rates on the loan.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education – Albert Einstein

I'm in agreement with Einstein; we shouldn't let our schooling interfere with our education. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of reading. I even wrote a blog post about how your bookshelf will dictate what kind of person you are or will become.

What you know today is not enough to get you where you need to be tomorrow – Millionaire Fastlane

To help you get a college education for (almost) free, I thought I would share these awesome resources with you.

EmpoweredU

EmpoweredU screen shotI've compiled a list of awesome resources on my EmpoweredU page. From books to blogs, this page is a repository for everything I'm doing to educate myself.

Last year alone I read more than I read during the 4.5 years it took me to get a degree, and probably more than I read getting my high school diploma too. If you buy the books from my page, I'll also get an affiliate commission from Amazon. It doesn't cost you anything and helps me keep writing!

Here are a few other helpful Amazon links:

iTunes

iTunes UiTunes has hundreds if not thousands of videos and podcasts by America's top thinkers.

Want to listen to entrepreneurs talk about business? iTunes has it.

Interested in listening to Harvard professors teach about physics and chemistry? iTunes has it.

If you have iTunes installed on the computer you're reading this on, check out:

YouTube

YouTube EDUWhen it comes to online learning, YouTube is a fantastic and growing resource.

You could watch well over 120 hours (the average number of hours to get a college degree) of lectures online via the Universities section of YouTube.

Harvard has a channel.
Yale has a channel.
MIT also has hundreds of lectures.
Even Cambridge has a channel.

If you're still under the impression that YouTube is only good for cat videos and skateboarding bloopers, it's time to update your way of thinking.

I even have a growing list of helpful videos on my channel!

YouTube is where I learned how to podcast from Pat Flynn and where I learned how to drain our hot water heater.

 

Libraries

kharied / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

When was the last time you went to a library? For me, it's been about, oh, eight years. But if you're looking for an (almost) free college education, look no further than your local library.

Education is free for your consumption. Infinite knowledge is at your fingertips and the only thing preventing you from getting it is you. Yes, YOU. Turn off the TV, pick up a book and read it – Millionaire Fastlane

It may smell a little weird and be filled with antiques like VHS tapes and CDs, but a library is an enormous asset that is going out of style fast. Additionally, many libraries have loaner programs for ebooks. I don't have any personal experience with that, but it's worth checking out.

Just do a Google search for “library” and check it out.

Life University

The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarcoIn The Millionaire Fastlane, which I highly recommend, MJ DeMarco talks about what he calls “life university.”

After doing his research, he agreed with me that “I don't have time” is one of the most common, and most ridiculous, excuses you could have.

If you've ever said, “I don't have enough time,” you might like DeMarco's “life university.”

Time isn't a commodity, something you pass around like a cake.
Time is the substance of life.
When anyone asks you to give your time,
they're really asking for a chunk of your life – Antoinette Bosco

I agree with MJ  when he says, “while time might be linear, it can be manipulated by performing double-duty on one time block.” You can “maximize time and maximize [your] wealth” if you “make life your university.”

Here are a few ways we can do that:

1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible
Driving University – With Audible audiobooks and podcasts the possibilities for learning are limitless. If you commute more than 5 minutes like I do, you should be turning that time into knowledge gold.

Exercise University – Same thing as above but you can add in books. “In between sets, on the treadmill, or on the stationary bike, exercise is transformed into education.”

Waiting University – Waiting time shouldn't be wasted time. Always carry a book with you when you go to the doctor, auto-repair shop, or anywhere else there is a possibility of you waiting. Don't want to carry a book? Get the Kindle app.

Toilet University – “Never throne without reading something of educational value.” I have nothing to add to that…

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you – Carl Sandburg

There you have it! These are some really great resources to help you get a college education for (almost) free. Remember, I said education, not a degree.

A degree is something you hang on your wall. An education is something you carry for a lifetime! (TWEET THAT!)

And lastly,

and mostly just for fun, here are some cool quotes about money, education, and success:

Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value – Albert Einstein

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school – Albert Einstein

Any place that anyone can learn something useful from someone with experience is an educational institution – Al Capp

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other – John F. Kennedy

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn – Benjamin Franklin

The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school – Will Smith

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them – Leo Buscaglia

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over – Richard Branson

Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins – Jim Rohn

Question: Do you think a college degree is worth it? Do you have other hidden resources you'd add to this list?  Let me know, and share your ideas in the comment section below by clicking here!

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to start or grow your business? Enter your name and email below and I'll send you the tools I use, plus other resources to help you succeed.

  • Juana_Storm says:

    Wow the information you have here is intense. I am not a believer in borrowing for a degree either. What I have noticed around me is you get a Bachelors and a Masters to be the worker but not a lot of millionaires and experts have such time and money to waste to get a graduate degree of masters. Don’t get me wrong they know the value of education. What puzzles me is if the people that actual work for it do “they” know the value of it? Most of them are all boxed in and will never be “rich”. They aren’t able to think without someone telling them what to think. That’s exactly what I don’t want to be, even though I am still pursuing my degree. Its just taking me a little longer because I would rather fund the cost myself than borrow to do so.

    The Problem they have is relying solely on an education to get them there. They are afraid to take risks.

    • Juana, thanks for visiting and commenting! I’m glad you’re here.

      I’m happy to hear that you’re staying debt free through the process. I think that’s key.

      Would you be interested in a podcast episode where I chat with a Ph.D about the value of education vs the value of a degree?

      I’ve been thinking that may be interesting. Check out my Facebook page to join that discussion!

      https://www.facebook.com/ellorywells

  • Juana_Storm says:

    Wow the information you have here is intense. I am not a believer in borrowing for a degree either. What I have noticed around me is you get a Bachelors and a Masters to be the worker but not a lot of millionaires and experts have such time and money to waste to get a graduate degree of masters. Don’t get me wrong they know the value of education. What puzzles me is if the people that actual work for it do “they” know the value of it? Most of them are all boxed in and will never be “rich”. They aren’t able to think without someone telling them what to think. That’s exactly what I don’t want to be, even though I am still pursuing my degree. Its just taking me a little longer because I would rather fund the cost myself than borrow to do so.

    The Problem they have is relying solely on an education to get them there. They are afraid to take risks.

    • Juana, thanks for visiting and commenting! I’m glad you’re here.

      I’m happy to hear that you’re staying debt free through the process. I think that’s key.

      Would you be interested in a podcast episode where I chat with a Ph.D about the value of education vs the value of a degree?

      I’ve been thinking that may be interesting. Check out my Facebook page to join that discussion!

      https://www.facebook.com/ellorywells

  • Ben says:

    Man I love this!! I completely agree! I’ve leant more from Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Dale Carnegie then I ever did at school! I’m now putting it into practice at http://workfromhomeblog.net and using my drive, will and determination to get where I want to be 🙂

  • Ben says:

    Man I love this!! I completely agree! I’ve leant more from Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Dale Carnegie then I ever did at school! I’m now putting it into practice at http://workfromhomeblog.net and using my drive, will and determination to get where I want to be 🙂

  • Just found this post Ellory. I couldn’t agree more. I love what Gary Vaynerchuck says about it. Go if your parents are going or you get a scholarship. Don’t go if you have to take on a huge amount of debt.

    • I completely agree Jimmy. Taking on debt you’ll most likely never entirely repay in order to get a piece of paper doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      Especially when there are resources like the ones mentioned above are available to us.

      I guess the question then becomes, is it worth it to save for a kid’s college? If so, at what cost to lifestyle etc.?

  • Just found this post Ellory. I couldn’t agree more. I love what Gary Vaynerchuck says about it. Go if your parents are going or you get a scholarship. Don’t go if you have to take on a huge amount of debt.

    • I completely agree Jimmy. Taking on debt you’ll most likely never entirely repay in order to get a piece of paper doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      Especially when there are resources like the ones mentioned above are available to us.

      I guess the question then becomes, is it worth it to save for a kid’s college? If so, at what cost to lifestyle etc.?

  • >

    Get an Email About Every New Post!

    x