As Businessweek reports, the first nationally available $10,000 bachelor’s degree was announced yesterday, offered by the either oddly- or aptly-named College for America which is an online wing of Southern New Hampshire University. The coolest/weirdest part is it operates through employers, so places like McDonald’s will offer College for America as an employee benefit:
College for America doesn’t teach courses with credit hours. It teaches competencies, and it tests them using projects that resemble work that employees would be called on to do in their real lives. The first bachelor’s degrees to be offered are in health-care management and communications. College for America soft-launched last year with various associate’s degrees.
College-bound high schoolers may not find any of this particularly exciting, which is deliberate. Paul LeBlanc, the president of Southern New Hampshire University, told me the program is designed for adult learners who don’t want the “bubble,” with quads and clubs, that traditional college-age students do. “They’re chomping down a meal in the parking lot, racing home to see their kids before they get to sleep.” They’re all about acquiring and demonstrating mastery of new skills, and getting paid for them.
You know what, online aside, $10,000 for a degree sounds like how much a degree should cost. I mean, if not free. If someone came up to me and was like, “How much would you be willing to give me, out of your savings account, for a degree?” I might say $10,000. Then again I already have a bachelor’s degree, and it cost many people much more than $10,000, so I guess that’s easy for me to say.
Either way: into this, or into the idea of practical degrees, not into the name, want to hear more.