- A philanthropist is proposing a way for high school students to take massive open online courses as a form of a free freshman year in college.
- The professional investor, Steven Klinsky, has donated $1 million toward the cause and formed a nonprofit group, the Modern States Education Alliance, to carry it out, the Washington Post reported.
- The idea is to have MOOC provider edX develop 20 courses, in addition to an existing 10, that would prepare students to pass Advanced Placement or College-Level Examination Program tests so they could start college as sophomores.
If the Obama $60 billion free community college tuition plan was ever enacted — a big if with Republicans controlling Congress — the free-first-year idea could offer a like-minded path for students who choose four-year schools. Klinsky’s idea also would tap one of the strengths of MOOCs (that they’re free) and avoid one of their weaknesses (certifying that students complete online courses and master the material) because the AP and CLEP tests would provide the evaluation.
Besides the online courses, Klinsky’s Modern States group would also help connect students to tutoring and other study support.