Although opportunities for higher education continue to increase throughout the world, it still may not be accessible to many for financial, cultural, or infrastructural reasons. In America, the average cost of a 4-year undergraduate program (measured in constant 2011-12 dollars) has steadily increased over the years, resulting in an average around $17,000 for a public institution and just over $33,000 for a private one. Other countries across the world still have a negative view of educating women and this makes it extremely difficult for women to leave the household to obtain knowledge for themselves. In addition to cultural limitations, many universities around the world simply lack the infrastructure necessary for the large demand, turning people away every year. How can people save their money, time, energy, and resources (all of which contribute to future Million Dollar Choices) when it comes to higher education? These TED Talks provide information about free online programs, courses, and community centers that will revolutionize our approach to higher education, providing accessible knowledge for more people while allowing them to keep money in their pockets and have control over their future prosperity.
Khan Academy provides an interactive database of videos covering many topics to students and adults alike. Possibilities for flipping classroom learning, reviewing materials before and during college, and providing accessible education for all lend to a more successful learning environment for no cost
Shai Reshef founded University of the People, a non-profit, tuition-free, accredited university that grants Business Administration and Computer Science degrees to people who would be unable to access higher education otherwise. Using online access that is costless and physically unlimited allows higher education to switch from being a privilege for the few to a basic right for all.
Connexions, an open-source, online education system seeks to cut out the middle man of textbook sales, revolutionizing the source of knowledge by allowing all to freely share and modify course material and provide it at discounted rates to students. A controlled open-source ecosystem can maximize the quality and quantity of information that will become available for the largest audience possible.
After building hole-in-the-wall computers in impoverished communities around the world and recording data of children's performance, Sugata finds that creativity and learning can come from a curious spirit and an encouraging atmosphere. He hopes to bring education and computers to all to further the spirit of learning, adapting education to our modern age.
Applying online technologies through MOOCs increases access to education and makes it more applicable to the millennial generation. Courses using a blend of classroom work and online interactive study have seen vast improvements in performance and number of students taught. This lowers costs for universities and students alike, bringing education to many more than before.
Coursera takes the best courses from the best instructors at the best universities and provides it to everyone around the world online for no cost. Now, 640,000 students take advantage of wonderful interactive material that is available at their fingertips that improves their job placements and counts for real college credit while they do not spend a cent.
Two Stanford professors brought their Artificial Intelligence class online, providing it to everyone for no cost. They created short (less than 6 minutes), interactive videos that kept students up to date with material and got students to think about the world around them. Exploring free classes provided online can dramatically cut costs of obtaining an education, freeing money that can be used to make a Million Dollar Choice.
Empowering the 5 billion digitally excluded people across the world using Learning and Innovation Network centers, Molinari provides computers and instruction on how to use them for people who need education to improve their lives. Though mainly used in impoverished countries all around the world, these centers can reduce costs for any who choose to use public services rather than pay for technological furnishings for their own home.
British film directors organized FILMCLUB, a group that brings culture and critical thinking to children through the presentation and discussion of great films. As children open their minds and explore new possibilities using the most influential media source of the 21st Century, education can improve, leading to brighter minds that will prosper in the future.
This performance artist pleads for change in the financial aid system so that school can become more accessible to all. Although his piece is emotionally moving, it does not address potential solutions to the problem of inaccessible higher education.