This week, the Minerva Project, which received more than $25 million in seed funding last spring, revealed some of its plans for its Web-based university. Scheduled for a 2015 launch, its goal is to provide a top-notch education to highly-qualified students at less than half the cost of the average Ivy League school. Up until now, the company’s kept itself out of the headlines, unlike other online education ventures such as Udacity and Coursera. Founder Ben Nelson’s goals for the university are as ambitious as they are carefully considered: “We’re creating an institution that will outlive me.”
What’s the Big Idea?
In addition, the for-profit company announced the creation of a nonprofit research institute, led by former Nebraska senator and governor Bob Kerrey, that will develop out-of-the-box programs for financing students’ education and recruiting top-notch professors. Also, former US Treasury secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers has signed on as an advisor. The university’s intended focus on liberal arts, research, and packaged degree programs is designed to help it stand out from its peers’ shifts towards skill-based “unbundled” online education.