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In which we discuss amazing inexpensive (or free!) educational resources, including where to get cheap textbooks, Massive Open Online Courses, financial aid, community college, and how to attend world class universities without spending a penny or leaving your chair.

P.S.: I (Mike) made a mistake with the onscreen text re: Google's partnership. UDACITY -- not Coursera -- has recently partnered with them. Sorryyyyy!

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Special thanks to Peter Musser ( for consulting on this video!



Federal Grants:
Find and Apply for Scholarships:
Top 5 Student Loan Search Engines:

Project Gutenberg:
Open Textbook Library:
OpenStax College (free textbook initiative, affiliated with Rice University):

Kiplinger article on MOOCs:
Stanford OpenEdX:
Udacity (affiliated with Google): (which is affiliated with Google)
Project Gutenberg:
MIT Open Courseware Initiative:
Harvard on iTunes U:
Open Learning Initiative from Carnegie Mellon University:

Animal Wonders:
The Art Assignment:
The Brain Scoop:
Crash Course:
The Healthcare Triage:
SciShow Space:

Khan Academy:
TED Talks:

"How to Adult" is a "life skills" edutainment channel brought to you by Executive Producers Hank Green and John Green. Subscribe for new videos every week!


Created, Written, and Hosted by:
Emma Mills & Mike Martin
Mike is also a Young Adult novelist. His book, THE END GAMES, is available at all online booksellers, including
Indiebound ( ) and Amazon: (

Directed and Edited by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin

Executive Producers:
Hank & John Green


(Both): Hey!

(Emma): So, real talk, here, sometimes higher education can actually feel like higher cost education. So today, we're going to discuss some of the ways how to make the educational bill pill a little less bitter.

 Part One

(Mike): Number One: Community colleges and CLEP exams.

For many people, this is going to be an awesome option. The cost savings on community colleges versus larger universities can be enormous--often up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Also, community colleges tend to have more diversified schedules. So, if you want to work your way through school, you'll probably be able to find classes that work for your schedule.

(Emma): There's a lot of pressure on the young people these days to figure out what it is they want to do with their lives in, like, the seventh grade. So if you're not sure, and you don't want to spend a ton of money while you're trying to search your future out, community college could be a good, inexpensive option to try many different things.

(Mike): And hey, even if you do know what you want to do, community college can still be a good option. At a larger university, you might be spending your first two years taking general studies classes anyway, and going to community college is a great way to get those classes out of the way more inexpensively.

(Emma): Similarly, you may want to look to testing out of some of those required courses by way of CLEP exams. You buy a relatively inexpensive book--usually around twenty dollars--study for the test, take the test--which usually costs around one hundred dollars--and then you receive a full college credit for that course.

 Part Two

Number two: Scholarships and grants.

(Mike) You know that stupid FAFSA, that everybody says you have to fill out, but its stupid, and boring, and blah, and what's going on on Tumblr today...

(both) FILL IT OUT!

(Mike) Filling out the FAFSA is the first and vital step in getting many scholarships and grants.

(Emma) There are so many under-utilized scholarships and grants out there, from colleges, private funds, state and federal government, and this is money that


(Emma) We put a link to scholarship search engines and some info about grants in the doobly doo below... FREE MONEY, Y'ALL! --Put a ring on it.

 Part Three

(Mike) Number three: Cheaper books. If you aren't lucky enough to be one of Michael Scott's tots, the textbooks at your bookstore can be crazy expensive. One fantastic resource for finding the best price online for your books is The way it works is you get the ISBN number for the book you need, type it in, and will look for the best prices across a ton of sites.

Sometimes, a book that at your bookstore could be going for three hundred dollars can be found for ten dollars online, so we really do recommend giving slugbooks a try.

(Emma) Some required books may be old enough to be in the public domain, in which case we recommend sites like Project Gutenberg, where you can download over forty-five thousand books for free.

Some universities are also beginning to adopt open source or creative commons textbooks that can also be downloaded for free.

 Part Four

(Mike) Number four: MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.

(Emma) To quote Kiplinger magazine these classes are mostly free, digital replicas of actual college offerings.

(Mike) Did you know that you can access coursework from MIT, Harvard, and Stanford, and more for free? Well, that is a thing that you can do.

(Emma) Through initiatives such as Open Courseware, iTunes U, Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative,,, or, you could attend classes from world class universities completely without cost.

(Mike) For some of these classes, you can also receive a certificate. Although these will cost a fee, the benefits can be enormous. More and more companies all the time are recognizing the importance and validity of these resources.

 Part Five

(Emma) And finally, we end with something that's near and dear to our hearts--number five, online educational video.

(Mike) Obviously, you guys know about How to Adult, and you also probably know about the amazing channels in the Vlogbrothers' network.

(Emma) Some other educational online resources we love include the Khan Academy and the famous Ted Talks.


And that's all we've got for you today, I hope some of these educational strategies were helpful. If you have any tips or tricks, please leave them for us in the comments section below.

In the meantime, we'll be rolling out our latest catchphrase in a seventeen hundred part educational series...available never.

 End Credits

It has recently today come to light that Mike does not know what the phrase "to put a ring on it" is from. Do you for real not know?

(Mike) No, I really do not know. I'm going to try to guess. Is it from a song?

(Emma) Yes.

(Mike) Is it a girl singing, like, I needed a commitment, and I'm out of here?

(Emma) Yeah!

(Mike) Okay, is it a Beyonce song?

(Emma) Yes it is!

(both) Oh my God!

(Mike) Well it just seemed like, you know, cause Beyonce does everything cool. The only other female pop artists I know are Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

It was like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, or, Cyndi Lauper. That's all I've got.

(Emma) That's incredible! I want her to cover that song.