The Minerva Project, the online university that hopes to rival the Ivy League as a top-tier school, today announced they have created a non-profit arm in order to make tuition affordable and to recruit top-tier professors.
The company, who announced their $25 million seed round in April, operates as a for-profit enterprise. The Minerva Project aims to provide a high-quality education for top students at half the price of a traditional four-year university. But the non-profit Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, led by Senator Bob Kerrey, will focus on creating scholarships for students and providing job opportunities for professors looking for a less traditional route.
Minerva Project’s founder and CEO, Ben Nelson (former CEO of Snapfish), is committed to creating a non-profit. This will ensure that the company doesn’t earn
money from the research, but rather will share it so universities may adopt more cost-effective solutions. Nelson has thus far rejected federally funded student aid programs in an effort to keep tuition prices at Minerva from skyrocketing. Because he anticipates so many international students, he wants to focus on creating scholarship programs specifically for Minerva.
“We’re creating an institution that will outlive me,” he said in a GigaOM article. “I want to create structures that are in place 100 years from now.”
In order to attract top-tier professors, Minerva is seeking teachers in transition periods in their careers, such as new PhDs who want experience teaching high caliber students and retired faculty who want to make their own schedules.
Minerva Project has yet to commence courses, but we’ll certainly keep our eye on this innovative online education project and hope that other universities will learn from its findings.