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.