Start a college in your basement

The frontier in higher education is wide open.

How ‘bout starting a college in your basement with $100k seed money?

That’s what Mr. Tim Cook has done with Saxifrage School. He wants to radically cut the cost of college education. His idea is to combine learning a trade or other productive skills along with traditional humanities classes that teach you to think.

Check out the status so far, according to Startup Takes Aim at Old-School Ways in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Cook has raised about $100,000 from local foundations and takes in about $20,000 a quarter in fees, roughly half of which goes to pay teachers. In a few years he hopes to have 500 students paying $6,500 a year—about a third of the cost of some other schools in Pittsburgh.

Fee for each course is $395.

Major hurdle discussed in the article is getting accredited. Quote at the end of the article points out why that is not overly important ant the moment – one student already has a degree and now needs to obtain skills usable to provide herself income. Over time accreditation will become critical.

Another long-term objective is obviously to fill out a full schedule of classes.

The article mentions two other small startups that are aiming to offer an on-line degree.

Check out College in a Basement: The New Higher Ed? at Via Media for more discussion of Saxifrage.

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