University on-the-go

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Oct 14 2013, 15:06pm hrs
In this day and age when the number of students seeking quality higher education is increasing exponentially, it is but natural for experienced and proven professionals to get together and cater to this demand. The Minerva project is one such initiative, founded by American businessman Ben Nelson in 2011 and supported by Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) president Sheldon Shuster. In fact, the project received a $25 million seed investment from Benchmark Capital in 2012.

In July 2013, the Minerva project partnered with KGI, a member of the Claremont University Consortium, to incubate the Minerva schools at KGI. The Minerva schools will matriculate its founding class of 15-30 students in Fall 2014, and its first class in Fall 2015.

Robin Goldberg, the chief marketing officer of the Minerva project, who was in India recently, said that Minerva has a strict no-quota, non-discrimination policy. Minerva guarantees admission to any applicant who meets or exceeds our qualification criteria, Goldberg said. She added that Minervas classes will be live, discussion-intensive seminars directed in real-time by faculty using a proprietary interactive platform designed to maximise student interactions with the professor and with each other. Students who join Minerva will spend their first year in San Francisco. And every semester thereafter they will be encouraged to travel and live in Minerva residence halls located in cities such as Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, London, Mumbai and Cape Town, Goldberg said, adding, Students will change locations every semester to maximise immersion in different cultures and languages, take advantage of location-specific co-curricular activities, and to develop a global network of connections prior to graduation.

Also, recently, Minerva schools at KGI announced that the undergraduate tuition will be $10,000 per year. This is approximately 25% the cost of tuition at other highly selective, private American universities, Goldberg said.

Vibha Kagzi, the managing director India of the project, said that an exclusive group of 15-19 students will be selected for Minervas founding class, to matriculate in Fall 2014. The founding class will provide input on everything from academics and internships to extracurricular activities and student life. Tuition for the founding class will be waived for all four years. When inquired about the annual cost for a Minerva education, including tuition, room, board, books, health insurance and other fees, Kagzi added this will total $28,850. It is less than half the total cost of most highly selective private universities in the US. She also said that there will be flexible payment plans for the students that include annual, semester and monthly invoicing.