You might think signing up for continuing education programs will take too much time out of your day and too much money out of your wallet.
Fortunately, there are free or low-fee continuing education courses that can be delivered right to your inbox. They can kick-start your learning, or help you discover your interests for more formal education down the road.
3 email-based continuing education courses
You might already be spending a lot of time on email. Maybe you’re bombarded by discounts from online retailers, unusual requests from Nigerian princes, and other forms of spam.
Here are three address more worthy of your inbox space.
With daily 5-minute lessons comprising 10-day courses, Highbrow asks for the least amount of time and money to sign up. That’s probably why it claims to have more than 300,000 users. The site has 170 courses to choose from and keeps growing.
You can sign up for one course at a time, picking from 15 different categories, including arts, business, and productivity.
Highbrow’s structure is for those of us lacking discipline, as you can only take one course at a time, receiving one daily email. But if you prefer learning in chunks, you could archive the emails and review them at your convenience. Once the course has ended, you can also sign up for another, as Highbrow has no way of knowing whether you read all your lessons.
Each lesson hits your inbox bright and early so that you can you check it off the list as you pore through your morning messages. Ads might appear in your text-only emails if you’re a free subscriber.
Upgrading to Highbrow Premium ($4 per month) gives you more course options, ad-free lessons, and interactive quizzes. I haven’t found the need to upgrade after a few months of using the basic subscription; there are plenty of free courses to choose from, and the ads aren’t distracting.
If you have a genuine curiosity about learning certain topics — anything from creating a podcast to building a web scraping tool — Highbrow is a great, free resource. You might find the instruction too basic if you already know quite a bit about the course topic, but it’ll at least give you a foundation. Then you can jump off into more formalized continuing education courses, even pursue a professional certification.
Price: Free, or $4 per month for premium access
Pro: Great selection of courses might make the premium subscription unnecessary for most users.
Con: Highbrow’s one-course-at-a-time approach limits users from learning about different topics simultaneously.
Unlike Highbrow, which prompts you to pick what you want to learn about from a list, Curious.com takes a different tact. It asks you to complete a 10-part questionnaire that decides your courses for you.
It aims to fill out your eight wedges of curiosity. You’ll see topics ranging from STEM to sports because the wedges are meant to connect the brain’s varying learning centers. The thinking is based on scientific research on, in part, humans’ multiple intelligences.
Here’s a version of what you might see after completing the questionnaire:
This is how Curious.com decides which of its lessons — 3,500 lessons of the 25,000 lesson library are for free subscribers — to deliver to your inbox.
If this all sounds overwhelming, boil it down to one email per day. Whether you’re a free or paid subscriber ($9.99 per month), you’ll receive a personalized “workout” in your inbox. You can read your quick “Curio” lesson for the morning and move on within five minutes, or click to work on puzzles or watch in-depth classes based on your interests.
That’s the one clear downside of Curious.com. You can engage with the daily workout and read through weekly emails (like the Sunday Mindset Curio, above), but you’ll have to leave your inbox to find more in-depth lessons.
It’ll be worth it if you get to know your wheel. On the desktop version of the site, you can click on any wedge and take classes fitting your interests.
Curious.com also hopes its points system keeps you engaged. On the desktop version of the site, you earn points for completing lessons and competing against other users. I earned eight points, for example, by watching a 13-minute video about probability and statistics, a topic chosen from my colorful wheel.
If you’re someone who uses YouTube to watch video tutorials, think of Curious.com as a highly-curated version of the same thing. The teachers and their material — anything from beer brewing to, yes, math — has been vetted by the platform. You won’t have to click around until you find a lesson worth watching.
Price: Free, or $9.99 per month for premium access
Pro: Your lists of courses are customized for you, which is valuable for users who might not know what they want to learn.
Con: The most value of the platform — from the video courses to the points-based competition — has to be gained on the website, not in your inbox.
3. Now I Know
Whereas Highbrow and Curious encourage you to take courses based on your interests, Now I Know encourages you to be interested in anything and everything. The daily emails from Dan Lewis, the newsletter’s author, reach 100,000-plus subscribers.
The first week of topics to reach my inbox might make you think twice about signing up:
- Monday: The Squeegee that Saved Lives
- Tuesday: The Power of Being Bored
- Wednesday: What Happens When a Monkey Takes an Awesome Picture of Itself?
- Thursday: How a Good Breakfast Helped Create a Sneaker Empire
The cute titles of the lessons don’t always match up with the content. For example, one email used a light-hearted prompt to launch into a more serious discussion about copyright law.
Friday’s weekender email is not a continuing education course, more a review of the week. It includes educational content found around the web. You might see a link to a lengthy investigative piece from ProPublica, for example.
Also free, Lewis’ emails are supported by in-email advertisements and affiliate links. If you fall in love with Now I Know, you can volunteer to support its projects.
Now I Know is probably not going to teach you a new skill or trade, but it has a better shot at making you think about the world differently. Lewis’ posts, such as the one about President Lincoln creating the Secret Service on the day of his assassination, could also send you down a rabbit hole searching for more information. But that’s probably the point anyway.
Price: Free, but donations are welcome
Pro: The simple but interesting nature of the newsletter’s content makes it worthwhile and covers up for the in-email ads and affiliate links.
Con: Now I Know might engage your mind, but the content is typically not as practical as other email-based continuing education courses.
A warmup for continuing education courses
You might like the idea of Now I Know’s daily one-offs. Or maybe you prefer the more classroom-like content from Highbrow or Curious.
Either way, these emails are a good test for what you’d like to study via more formal continuing education. If you become immersed in Highbrow’s introductory courses on content marketing or coding, for example, you could end up seeking continuing education courses that upgrade your career.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 8 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of December 13, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 12/13/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Figure.
Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.
4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.
5 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.
6 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 12/07/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
8 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 12/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
|1.99% – 6.89%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.31% – 7.36%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.75%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.65%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.43% – 7.60%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.85% – 6.13%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 8.59%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.74% – 6.25%8||Undergrad & Graduate|