If you thought attaining a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was out of your reach, think again. As of fall 2012, MIT partnering with Harvard will be offering educational opportunities to anyone who has an Internet connection.

Together with Harvard, MIT will launch a $60 million program called edX. Courses will be online complete with video lessons, quizzes, feedback from instructors, and online laboratories. The first five or so free classes are expected to be offered in the fall, and the number will expand as the program adds other partnerships from various prominent universities.

"MIT's and Harvard's mission is to provide affordable education to anybody who wants it," Anant Agarwal, an MIT computer science and artificial intelligence expert who is edX's first president, said in an interview. "Millions of people in the world don't have access to quality education."

What do these major universities get out of this new venture? By offering a free education to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to prestigious universities, they will gain insight into the impact that an Ivy League education can provide.

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"edX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education," Harvard president Drew Faust told MIT news.

The catch? Students who pass the courses will receive a certificate of completion, but the credentials won’t be issued under the actual MIT or Harvard name. It is possible that other online courses that currently charge tuition may also become part of the program and may require fees. This project may eventually charge various fees but can be paid through job placement services and advertising, always a work in progress.

With the opportunity to take classes from MIT, what classes would you like to explore?