Can’t afford $40,000+ to get a master’s degree in computer science? Well, how about $7,000? That’s the tuition price for a new degree program from Georgia Institute of Technology and Silicon Valley educational startup Udacity.
Subsidized by AT&T, the three-year online program centers on curricula and coursework designed by Georgia Tech instructors and support from Udacity, which will step in to field student questions. This allows costs to remain low — in fact, only eight new instructors will be required to handle the projected 10,000 new students (over the next three years). Compared to the 300 master’s students currently in the university’s traditional program, that’s a pretty major expansion. And when they graduate, they will have degrees comparable to Georgia Tech’s traditional master’s.
In tech circles, education is definitely an area to watch. MOOCs (or massively open online courses) is a rapidly growing area of the industry. However, many of these are non-credit courses, and the for-credit offerings that are out there often carry a hefty price tag, like their offline counterparts. Hopefully seeing a respected university step up like this will inspire others to make affordable education possible. This seems to be Udacity’s mission as well. It has actively worked to slash costs, most recently at San Jose State University.
As for Georgia Tech’s program, enrollments will open in January, with several hundred students expected the first year — mostly candidates from the military and AT&T. As time goes on, other students will be admitted, including non-master’s students, such as those seeking certification only or wishing to audit classes for free.