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Mar 19

CA businessman gives away free higher education courses: Central Valley Business Times

popPhotoCentral Valley Business Times

Rancho Mirage
March 17, 2013

For full article, click here.

•  Says his World Education University will compete with traditional schools

•  Business model centers on targeted advertising

World Education University may not be top of mind, but co-founder Scott Hines, mayor of Rancho Mirage in Southern California, expects that it will be because of its unusual business plan: It’s free.

He says it disrupts the traditional model of online education by offering a completely free education from start to finish.

“No tuition of any kind. No book fees. No application fees,” says Mr. Hines. “We are authorized under the state of California to grant degrees and we open our doors in an open enrollment environment to anyone in the world who wants to improve themselves through education.”

But he cautions that while it may be easy to get in, staying in is not guaranteed. “It’s a difficult and rigorous curricula,” he says.

(Scott Hines explains how the business model works in this exclusive CVBT Audio Interview via Skype. Please visit the Central Valley Business Times for the MP3 audio file of the live interview.)

Mr. Hines says that unlike other “Massive Open Online Courses” called MOOCs, WEU Inc. is not a surrogate hosting service with a la carte coursework from other schools presented without credit, WEU offers its own in-house PhD faculty with multiple departments.

“WEU is not accredited,” Mr. Hines says. “We are in the process of being evaluated through both national and regional accreditors. We have acquired two small colleges that already have accreditation and are moving through that process with them. We’re also pursuing accreditation with the American Council of Education, which recently approved five courses with a MOOC sister company of ours.”

He says he is confident that WEU will “achieve accreditation by 2014.”

He says the goal is to help level the education playing field on a global scale with the goal of “increasing prosperity for traditionally underserved populations.”

The for-profit company plans to use targeted advertising, corporate sponsorships and publishing among other revenue streams to keep the courses free to students.

To view the article in its entirety as well as download the MP3 Audio from Scott’s live interview, click here.