Going to university obviously has its perks – there’s more fancy dress opportunities than even Mr. Ben could handle and lots of brilliant student discounts to abuse. But nowadays it’s hard to justify higher education with the terrifying amounts of debt looming at the other end.

However, there is another way, namely online education. There’s a host of sites and resources offering free outlets to learn from home. Here’s our pick of the bunch:

1) CreativeLIVE

The new online learning community stream lectures from their offices in Seattle and San Francisco, covering everything from photography, design, software, business, video and film. The classes are 100% free if you watch them live and cost between $99 – $149 to download (about £61.54 – £92.62).

2) UCL’s Lunch Hour Lectures

Why waste your time catching up on TOWIE at lunchtime, when you could be watching the University College London’s live streamed and lectures? They cover a host of different subjects, often based on their latest academic research, so expect everything from medical research, digital media, history and geography. View a full list of upcoming UCL lectures here and view previous UCL lectures here. They’re also on YouTube and iTunes.

3) iTunes U

Apple’s free education app is available on iPod, iPhone and iPads, but can also be accessed via iTunes. It has tonnes of potential, firstly there a huge resource of textbooks, similar to iBooks. But there are also thousands of video lectures and podcasts from universities all over the world, including Oxford and Yale. The only drawback is that there’s so much content, you’re better off having a distinct idea of what you want to learn, rather than simply browsing.

4) Harvard Open Courses

Being the most famous university in the world (and the richest) means that Harvard offers eight different courses for free online. They cover the likes of Greek civilisation, an intensive introduction to computer science and even a course on how China is developing. You can view all free online courses from Harvard here.

5) Khan Academy

Salman Khan started making videos to help his cousins with their maths homework. However, the videos soon gained a massive audience, so he quit his full-time job, added lots more subjects and now runs the company, which has backing from the likes of Bill Gates and Google. The subjects range from math and finance to history and art, they even have progress tracking, plus point and badges to mark your achievements. You’ll even get the opportunity to coach others. Search the courses available from Khan Academy here.