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Friday, February 13, 2015

Freshman Year for Free Initiative Launched

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been hampered by low completion rates and the fact that no credit is being offered. Steven Klinsky, founder of the private equity firm New Mountain Capital, believes he has a better plan.

Klinsky recently launched the Freshman Year for Free initiative, which will offer a full range of freshman-level courses to anyone for free online. These courses, unlike MOOCs, will prepare students to take exams that can earn college credit. The courses could potentially allow students to earn enough credits to skip their freshman year.

“It’s not meant to attack the traditional system,” Klinsky said in an article in Wired. “What we’re trying to do is have an on-ramp that helps you with the initial costs.”

Klinsky has already donated $1 million to the MOOC platform edX to develop courses for the Freshman Year for Free program. The funding will help edX create 20 test-prep courses that will be available though a portal from the Modern States Education Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded by Klinsky.

“There’s a clear need for wider universal access to postsecondary education, and a lot of people are thinking about how to solve it,” he said. “The revolution started totally separate from us. We’re just trying to make it useful for people.”

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