U.S. program lets refugees take free online courses at Harvard, other universities

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Syrian refugees

The U.S. State Department is partnering with the free education site Coursera to help refugees access more than 1,000 online courses for free.

The initiative provides access to courses at such schools as Harvard University in topics from computer coding to neuroscience, said Coursera, a for-profit provider of online courses.

Typically, course fees could range from $29 to $99.

"Coursera for Refugees" will work like this: Nonprofit groups that support refugees in any country, as well as individual refugees, can apply for fully funded access to Coursera's course catalog-meaning they'll be able to take all of the platform's classes and also skip the costs of obtaining professional certificates from them.

"Over the last three years, the State Department and Coursera have provided educational opportunities to thousands of individuals around the world" Evan Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, said in a press release. "Coursera for Refugees builds on our work to help people around the world succeed in the global economy."

The State Department will promote the courses through embassies and consulates. The program was announced on Monday as part of World Refugee Day.