Would You Like Coffee With Your Freshman Year?

Starbucks BaristaIf you’re in a radio market like mine, you get to hear ads for the dozens of online education programs offered by Arizona State University (ASU). ASU also garnered publicity not too long ago for its collaboration with Starbucks that provides the company’s customer service employees with access to an affordable college education.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re also familiar with my prognostications about the technology-driven transformation of post-secondary education — those depressing posts about the financial unsustainability of small colleges with mediocre reputations, the inevitability of a tiered pricing system that conforms to market demand, and the rise of convenience-based learning.

As of today the stars have aligned: ASU has partnered with edX to offer, according to The New York Times, “an online freshman year that will be available worldwide with no admissions process and full university credit.” Cost? Two hundred dollars per credit hour, payable upon passing each course. The total price for the whole program is about $5,000. 

According to MIT professor Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX, the full complement of courses for the new Global Freshman Academy is projected to be live within twenty-four months.

Say goodbye to your general education requirements.