File your taxes online for free.

The Internet Book of Life

Free FileIf your income last year was less than $57 thousand, file your federal taxes electronically for free with Free File.This year, 15 private tax preparation companies are participating in the Free File program. They all have different eligibility rules, so use this “wizard” to find the best one for you: Note: You may have to pay to file state income tax forms electronically. Those of any income level can use IRS-approved Free File fillable forms. Fill them in online, print them out and send them through the mail.

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Revive your algebra skills at Khan Academy

Khan AcademyAmerican educator Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard, started the Khan Academy in 2006 for the purpose of making “a free, world-class education available for anyone, anywhere.” Khan, a mathematician by training, features videos of an electronic blackboard on which he works out math problems while explaining them in voice-over. His site has expanded its offerings until now it not only hosts lessons in math, but also computer programming, economics and even art history. Site registration is free, and those who complete courses can earn “badges” for their accomplishments. The lessons are aimed at a college preparatory level. Still, if I had to brush up my algebra, I would click right in to Khan Academy. Khan Academy lessons are available through free apps, too.

Khan Academy

Learn stuff for free through iTunes U.

iTunes UIn 2007, Apple jumped on the free online college course bandwagon through its iTunes application. Here you will find iTunes U, a selection of recorded videos, ebook, .pdf files and podcasts from courses offered by a variety of schools including Harvard, Stanford, and Earlham Community School District. These days, iTunes U offers “courses”, as noted by the binding on the left side of the course icon, and “collections”, that is, gatherings of lectures on a topic. For example, “Statistics 101”, taught by Harvard’s Joseph Blitzstein, was designed as a class, whereas “What Great Bosses Know” is a collection of podcasts from Poyntner Intsitute’s Jill Geisler. All are available on a desktop computer through iTunes or through the iTunes U app for iPad or iPhone. These courses are offered freely, but one cannot get college credit for them.


Take science classes from MIT for free online

OnlineCourseWareMIT began to offer virtually all of its course content over the web for free in 2002 through its OpenCourseWare (OCW; program. Many of the classes have been translated into eight languages, including Chinese, Spanish and Turkish. OCW has a separate program for independent learners called OCW Scholar ( These courses are more complete than typical OCW offerings and feature supplemental multimedia materials. Subjects covered include biology, mathematics, and microeconomics.

MIT OpenCourseWare

Take college-level classes online for free at the Online Learning Initiative

Open Learning InitiativeFree college-level online classes have been available since 2001, when Carnegie Mellon University introduced its Open Learning Initiative (OLI). Today, OLI offers 18 introductory-level online classes in a variety of subjects including Biochemistry, Statistical Reasoning and Elementary French. Students affiliated with the university pay a fee to have their tests graded and receive credit for their work. Independent learners, on the other hand, are welcome to work through the pre-recorded lectures for no charge, but they will not be quizzed nor receive credit. Still, they are encouraged to establish a free account with the OLI site so it can track their progress. OLI designs their courses with measurable learning outcomes, which gives them the tools to “iteratively improve our courses and improve the teaching and learning experience.”


Familiarize yourself with 3D design with Tinkercad

Tinkercad3D printing is hot! But before you can print out an object, you must design it. But how can you learn this skill? From Helsinki comes this simple, free, web-based design tool meant to help beginners to make their first 3D patterns. The results can be downloaded directly to 3D printers. Or, you can send them off to a 3D printing place and have the resulting object delivered by mail.


The DOJ offers free legal help with immigration

free legal servicesDo you know someone who needs legal help with his or her immigration status but has no money to pay for it? The Department of Justice runs the Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program that helps non-citizens who appear before Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Search this nationwide directory to find free legal counsel near you. Notice that both Alaska and Iowa are devoid of pro bono immigration attorneys.

Free Legal Service Providers