The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most selective universities in the world, and with a 10 percent acceptance rate, the vast majority of applicants never make it in. For those who are accepted, a year's worth of tuition can run just shy of $40,000.
But a new program announced Monday is about to change all of that. Starting next spring, anyone, anywhere will be able to take online courses at MIT for free. The program, which is being called MITx, doesn't culminate with a degree, but those who earn passing marks will be able to walk away with a certificate from the institute for a nominal fee.
The initiative is hardly new ground for MIT, which helped to develop the field of online education more than a decade ago when it began posting course materials on the web. The school's latest effort looks to build on that legacy by providing students an opportunity to be graded for their work for the first time.
"MIT has long believed that anyone in the world with the motivation and ability to engage MIT coursework should have the opportunity to attain the best MIT-based educational experience that Internet technology enables," MIT President Susan Hockfield said in a statement announcing the program.
- L. Rafael Reif, provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This program aired on December 19, 2011.