Low Cost Online Accredited Degrees Coming Soon
The Saylor Foundation -- in collaboration with Excelsior College and Straighter Line, is developing a way to bypass this corrupt and destructive system, while acquiring the important and varied career-advancing knowledge that youth and adults need.
Excelsior is a private, nonprofit college that offers relatively inexpensive, online degree programs. The regionally-accredited college is also one of the first to have competency-based programs, where students can take Excelsior-developed examinations in a fairly broad range of subjects – earning credits without having to take classes. The exams are worth three to six credits, and typically cost $95.Saylor thinks that education should be free. And that is the direction that online educational technology is taking us.
The college discovered Saylor when it was tracking down open-education material online to suggest for students to use as study guides for exams. John Ebersole, Excelsior’s president, said faculty members at the college were impressed with Saylor’s courses.
“We found ourselves at Saylor’s door,” Ebersole said, adding that the foundation “doesn’t get the cachet, but they have the quality.”
StraighterLine has a similar partnership in place with Saylor, and, as of this week, with Excelsior. As a result, the group has created what is perhaps the lowest-cost set of credit-bearing courses on the Internet.
Like Excelsior, StraighterLine offers inexpensive courses online. Students pay $99 per month to enroll, shelling out $39 per course. The material is self-paced, and students can take final exams whenever they’re ready. Tutors are available to help them along the way.
...The new credit pathway between the three institutions is obviously a tad complex, and not as simple as just enrolling in an online college. But the price might be attractive to savvy adult students – already the typical Excelsior and StraighterLine student. And Saylor hopes to be an option for students, including those in developing countries, who lack affordable or quality education options.
“Online courses should be really inexpensive,” says Burck Smith, StraighterLine’s CEO. “There’s no overhead. There is no reason for costs to be what they are.”
...The foundation is the brainchild of Michael J. Saylor, an Internet entrepreneur who has had several brushes with techie fame. The founder of MicroStrategy, a Beltway-based business intelligence software company, Saylor once lost $6 billion in personal wealth amid a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry. At the time, he promised to donate $100 million to create a free online university.
That idea grew into the Saylor Foundation, which has a long-term goal of putting a lot of quality academic content on the web – as much as possible, really.
This fall will be Saylor’s launch, for all practical purposes. Although the foundation has gotten some notice among higher-education reformers, the fleshed-out majors make the concept tangible. _Highered
This is good news for newer generations of learners, and very bad news for the corrupt system of indoctrination that calls itself "US higher education."