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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has offered free online courses for the last four years with one major downside: They didn’t count toward a degree. That’s about to change.
In a pilot project announced Wednesday, students will be able to take a semester of free online courses in one of MIT’s graduate programs and then, if they pay a “modest fee” of about $1,500 and pass an exam, they will earn a MicroMaster’s credential, the school said.
The new credential represents half of the university’s one-year master’s degree program in supply chain management. As part of the pilot project, students who perform well in the online half can take an exam to apply for the second semester on campus. Those who get in would pay $33,000, about half the cost of the yearlong program.
“Anyone who wants to be here now has a shot to be here,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. “They have a chance to prove in advance that they can do the work.”

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