June 21, 2007


Nearly two years ago at a financial counseling conference, I learned about a newly established consortium of Universities around the world that had collaborated to provide free, open access to educational materials. It sounded like an interesting idea at the time; I hadn’t heard anything about it since until this past week when I was reading the most recent edition of Kiplinger’s Magazine. The article – “Audit a course for free at Online U” shares a little more about this consortium that is a literal ‘who’s who’ of Universities – Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, Tufts, Michigan State, Harvard Law, and MIT (the pioneer of this ‘open courseware’ movement) who will have at least some teaching materials from all 1,800 of their undergraduate and graduate courses this fall. While access to the materials is free, you won’t get credit toward a degree or have the ability to interact with other students or a professor.

I was able to find a couple of the courses that were personal finance-related. One is offered through UC-Irvine and appears to offer some valuable information related to ‘Fundamentals of Financial Planning
;' Utah State also shares information about their undergraduate Family Finance class. The general content available from each course will vary dramatically – some have little more than a syllabus/ reading list. Others provide full PowerPoint slides for lectures, audio podcasts, video webcasts, exams … the whole nine yards. The link below to the list of consortium members will allow you to visit Universities that provide resources associated with a myriad of course topics.

The current consortium consists of more than 100 institutions of higher education
. Additional information is available at http://www.ocwconsortium.org/about/index.shtml.

Sampling of other free online Personal Finance courses:
- Consumer Debit Resource – ‘Checkbook Basics’

- FDIC – ‘Money Smart’

- Florida State – ‘Fundamentals of Financial Planning’

- Freddie Mac – ‘Credit Smart’

- IRS – ‘Understanding Taxes’

- Money 4 Living

- Money SKILL

- NEFE – ‘High School Financial Planning Program’

- Rhode Island Center for Personal Financial Education – ‘Credit 101’

- Rutgers – ‘Investing for your Future’

- Smart Money – ‘Investing 101’

- Spend 2 Success

- Visa – ‘Practical Money Skills for Life’

This list should not be considered exhaustive by any means nor expected to represent an endorsement of any curriculum or program. The resources are merely informational. If you are aware of other good resources, please share them with me.