Minerva Schools of KGI doesn’t yet have accreditation, a campus or even a full faculty roster, but it is offering something even Harvard can’t — four years of free tuition for its first matriculating class.
The San Francisco-based Minerva Project, an ambitious effort to remake the higher education model, announced its tuition plan on Tuesday in hopes of attracting some of the world’s most talented and academically competitive students for the class that will enrol in the autumn of 2014.
Students in subsequent years will pay tuition of $10,000 a year along with about $19,000 annually for room and board — still well below the cost of many other top US universities that can run upwards of $50,000 a year.
“Not only are we looking at students who are intellectually brilliant, we are looking for students who have a deep intellectual thought, deep integrative thought, worldliness, excitement about seeing the world, and maturity,” said Minerva founder Ben Nelson, who ran photo service Snapfish until he sold it to Hewlett Packard in 2005.
In a further departure from the traditional educational model, the school’s faculty, projected to be experts in their fields from around the world, will not be offered tenure. They will hold classes with the Minerva students online.
Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary and former president of Harvard University, is an adviser to Minerva; former US senator Bob Kerrey is its executive chairman. Stephen Kosslyn, an academic who headed Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and previously served as dean of social sciences at Harvard University, is in charge of recruiting faculty.