Even before COVID-19 made campuses physically risky, higher education faced a serious crisis, largely because of debt—total student-loan debt hit a staggering $1.5 trillion in 2019. Less expensive online learning is one solution, but the quality of web-based schools has been spotty at best. Enter Outlier. Built by the people behind the online-­learning platform MasterClass, Outlier offers remote college courses for credit through the University of Pittsburgh. The courses—which include calculus, astronomy, psychology and statistics—are taught by top professors from schools like Yale and NYU, and are made with high production values not usually seen in online education. —Matthew Gault

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