By Anne Lee, CNNMoney

(MONEY Magazine) – Going back to school can be cheaper than you think, with a wealth of free online courses to choose from and an easy way to have your class work accredited. Saving for college can be easier too. We have three expert picks for the best 529 college savings plans.

If you just want to get smarter…

Search for thousands of free classes via the Open Courseware Consortium’s website. If you want recommendations, will link you to some of the best free college courses, such as the 1,800-plus offered by M.I.T. and the arts and history at the U.K.’s Open University.

To get accreditation…

The $500 intro class at teaches you how to properly document a newly learned skill for college credit. For another $250, a professor will vouch that you’ve mastered the subject based on the body of submitted work; LearningCounts credits are accepted at dozens of colleges around the country.