National Online University - A Template for Policy Makers
Create a national online university with all courses and programs. Make all classes accessible to the public via two divisions: a free division and a for credit division. Set the tuition in the for-credit division to pay for everything.
The free division should allow any student to audit all courses and programs at no cost and allow students to question professors, access course books, materials, and labs at cost.
The for-credit division should give full access to all courses and programs, including courses with labs. It should allow all students to earn full credit and full academic degrees and complete courses at their own pace.
The for-credit division tuition and lab fees should vary by course/lab and reflect actual or projected costs, amortized by the number of students. All costs should be transparent.
Open sources books should be used as much as possible. All books – open source or not – should be included in the for-credit division tuition.
The curriculum would need to be the most rigorous, of the highest quality, fully accredited, and second to none. The new university must be the best.
Labs and other courses requiring the student to be physically present would need to be taught offline. The university would need to dictate the lab’s place, schedule, and pace. Off-line courses and labs – for credit or not – would need to be a student cost.
Tests should be proctored, offline, in a physical setting at the student’s cost.
Shared Platform/Other Universities. The platform could be shared with other universities. For example, Harvard could upload all its classes and programs into both divisions. They could set their own tuition, based on their own costs. Courses would need to be of the highest quality, fully accredited, equal to, and fungible with the new university’s courses.
Out-Of-Country Fees. Foreign students could be charged extra fees to benefit American students. These fees could fund domestic merit-based student scholarships, need based student food pantries, housing, and/or simply subsidize the for-credit division tuition.
Credit Acceptance. Since the new institution will be the highest quality university in the world and since many – if not all – current institutions utilize federal monies and programs, other universities could be required to accept the new university’s course credit, apply it to their own degrees, and consider it for admission into their own institutions. For example, if a straight-A junior at the new university wanted to transfer to Harvard, Harvard would need to consider it.