The Corner

Education

A New College Plans to Open — No Federal Money, No Accreditation

Entrepreneurship isn’t just for new products; it can also deliver new kinds of education. It’s a darned good thing that we allow that (unlike some “progressive” countries) because American education is notoriously high in cost and low in quality.

Here in North Carolina, a business entrepreneur, Robert Luddy, is using some of his wealth to start new schools. He has a thriving chain of K-12 schools and is now looking to open an extension into higher education, which will be called Thales College.

In today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins writes about this intriguing development.

Thales will be a blend of the old and the new. The curriculum will be old — a true liberal arts education — but the pedagogical approach will be new — the “flipped classroom” where students listen to lectures on their own time and classroom time is reserved for discussion of the material.

Faculty members will need to have strong teaching and mentoring abilities in addition to their doctorates.

How much will it cost? Only $4,000 per term and students will be able to earn their degrees in three years. Obviously, to keep costs down to that level, there won’t be any sports or excess administrators.

Thales won’t take any federal student aid money (to preserve the school’s independence) and doesn’t plan to seek accreditation (which is no guarantee of quality anyway).

Unlike many college students, Watkins writes, Thales students “will not be the kind of students who sit at the back of the class, completely unengaged. Between the coursework’s level of rigor and the one-on-one attention received from professors, a Thales education will require discipline, focus, and dedication. The admissions requirements are themselves demanding: in order to be admitted: students must have a minimum 1100 SAT (or 22 ACT) and 3.25 GPA.”

The college plans to open next year.

Hooray for competition!

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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