Introducing: Newlane University

Several years ago Ben Blair launched a startup company: an affordable online university called Newlane. He started the university with his education-tech-philosophy-collaborator (and my brother), Josh Stanley. I talked about the startup back in 2016 when they launched with a kickstarter — when it was still an idea and not a full-fledged university — and I’ve been mostly quiet about it ever since, while they worked on accreditation. But the big news (the very good news!) is that International Accreditation with ASIC has been achieved!!!

The accreditation process is intense. So much more intense than I would have ever guessed. The process is ongoing over multiple years and requires a huge investment of dedication, time, and money. So we are celebrating big time over here! Founding and building a university from scratch, and earning ASIC accreditation, is incredible. I know the sacrifices they’ve made to reach that goal, and I’m super proud of them for what they’ve accomplished.

To celebrate the good news, I thought it would be fun to interview Ben about Newlane. I get asked all the time about what he does for work, and when I answer, people are genuinely curious to know more, and they have lots of great questions. I thought this would be a cool way to cover the most frequently asked questions, and give a good overview about the university.

Q. For those who don’t know you, give us a little bit about your background and how it led to starting a university.

A. My background is in philosophy and education. I did a Philosophy BA at BYU for undergrad, then, when we moved to New York, I did two Masters degrees and a PhD in Philosophy & Education at Columbia University.

I am very conscious about the rising costs of college — especially so as a father of six. When Josh (who has 5 kids) approached me with the idea of creating a university that offered a 4-year accredited degree at the lowest cost possible, I was on board immediately.

The school is still very small, so everyone on our team wears multiple hats and takes on multiple roles, but my main role is Director of Education for the university.

Q. Give us a short overview of what Newlane University offers.

A. Newlane University makes earning a 4-year, U.S. degree accessible to students of all budgets, living anywhere in the world. If you have a reliable internet connection, you can make this happen.

Newlane was created from an abundance mindset. It’s common knowledge that everything you need to learn to be a rocket scientist is available online, for free. Which means a degree should be very affordable! Newlane set out to organize those free learning resources into degrees, and give students a reliable way to confirm and demonstrate what they’ve learned, making a degree available at the lowest cost possible.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. The quick answer: $1500 per degree.

The longer answer: Our pricing is very different than any other university in existence. You pay a one-time registration fee of $249, that gives you access to all the courses, learning materials, the experts, the assessments, the library subscription, etc.. Then you pay $40/month. Once you’ve reached $1500 in monthly payments, the monthly charges will stop — even if you’re still working on your degree. You can continue working on your degree with no further monthly charges.

The $249 registration fee goes toward the $1500 total. You can try Newlane for 30 days and if you decide it’s not the right fit, your registration fee will be fully refunded. You can pause or stop the $40/month and take a leave of absence if needed. Maybe you had a death in the family and won’t be in the mindset to work on school for a few months. No problem.

I’ll explain how it works:

-If you are starting from scratch, you’ll begin with an Associates Degree, which costs $1500.

-If you want to continue and earn a Bachelor’s degree, that costs another $1500 — or $3000 total for a 4-year degree.

-If you already have an Associates Degree, then you can transfer that degree to Newlane, and you just need to earn the Bachelors Degree, which would cost $1500 total.

-If you already have a Bachelors Degree, and want to earn another one with Newlane, the cost of that second Bachelors Degree would be $1500 total.

-If someday we offer a Masters Degree, the price will be $1500.

-In summary: the price is $1500 per degree.

-In each of these cases, you’re charged $40 per month, and not a flat fee of $1500. Once you hit $1500, the monthly payments stop, but you can continue to be enrolled, and continue working on your degree. (You can find more info about our pricing on the Newlane Tuition and Fees page.)

Q. What’s the next closest affordable degree that you have found?

A. The next most affordable degree is around $5000.

Q. What about transfer credit? What if a student took a bunch of college courses, but never finished their degree?

A. We love giving transfer credits. Students can submit their transcript from any accredited college (or AP courses!), and Newlane will typically accept any courses with a passing grade (C or above).

Transfer credit is a great way to speed up the time it takes to earn a degree. If you started college, but didn’t finish, Newlane may be the perfect fit for you.

Q. Is Newlane University accredited?

A. Yes! We started by tackling International Accreditation, because we have students in countries all over the world. We are accredited internationally by ASIC, a well-established accrediting agency based in the UK. You can read about them here.

We are still in the process of applying for U.S.-specific accreditation. [UPDATE 1/13/22: Newlane just passed the DEAC Readiness Assessment. You can see Newlane listed for consideration on the DEAC website. This is a major milestone for Newlane and represents many years and thousands of hours of work.]

Accreditation in the U.S. is a bit different because it’s tied to student-loans (student-loans aren’t really a thing in many countries). Only schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) can offer government-backed loans to their students, and the USDOE only recognizes certain U.S.-based accrediting agencies.

At Newlane, our degree price is so affordable that we don’t offer any student loans (and we never want our students to go into debt for their degree!). That said, we want students to be as confident as possible about our college, so we are pursuing accreditation that is recognized by the USDOE.

Q. You mentioned students from around the world. How many students are enrolled? And from which countries?

A. We have students in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, Zambia, UK, and more. It’s so great! But keep in mind, our school is still very young and small. So our total enrollment at the moment is about 40 students.

We don’t mean to keep the enrollment small. We intentionally haven’t done any marketing until we achieved the ASIC accreditation. In fact, the students who have found us and enrolled, have mostly come through random searches for “affordable online degrees”. We’re looking forward to getting the word out about Newlane and enrolling more students who could benefit from our services.

Q. Has anyone graduated from Newlane University yet?

A. Yes! We had our first official graduate this past Spring. And we’re proud to say she has gone on to enroll in a prestigious graduate program studying at the University of Nottingham.

It was really, really cool creating a diploma for our first graduate. Also cool: at the moment, we have a handful of other students who are nearing graduation.

[Update 1/13/22: We’ve had our second graduate! This graduate finished their Associate Degree and is now working on their Bachelor’s Degree with Newlane.]

Q. What degrees do you currently offer?

A. We offer an Associates Degree in General Studies, and we offer a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy.

We have intentionally kept our degree offerings to the bare minimum as we go through the accreditation process. But as we finish that up, we plan to add new degrees and we’re very excited about that.

Q. When do you expect to add new degrees?

A. We project adding Business, Computer Science, Graphic Design, and Education degrees in 2023.

That means, if Philosophy doesn’t interest you as a degree, you could enroll at Newlane today, do all of your General Studies courses, and by the time you’re ready for your major courses, the new degrees could be ready to go! Alternatively, you could do your General Studies courses with Newlane, and then transfer to another university for your major — which would essentially cut the time and cost of your degree at that university in half.

Q. Why did you launch with a Philosophy Degree?

A. A few reasons: 1) We wanted to make it clear from the beginning that we are a serious-minded institution of higher learning, and not a diploma-mill or just a job-training certificate. Philosophy is one of the oldest degrees and signifies a true interest in learning.

2) A Philosophy Degree gives you skills in critical thinking, being able to read well, write well, and express yourself clearly, how to construct and critique arguments — skills that are valuable no matter what you decide to do after you earn your degree.

3) A Philosophy Degree is one of the best preparations for graduate programs, including law school, business school, and basically any academic discipline.

4) I was charged with building the first degree, and Philosophy is my personal area of expertise.

Q. What are your students like? What’s their profile?

A. That’s a fun question. Here are 3 example profiles of students at Newlane:
Student X — She wants to teach English in China, but government regulations mandate that she needs a degree; it doesn’t really matter what the degree topic is, the opportunity just requires a bachelors degree.
Student Y — He took some college courses but didn’t get a chance to finish his degree, and always wanted to, but he doesn’t have the budget or room in his schedule for traditional university courses.
Student Z — They have a degree in computer science, but have always been interested in philosophy. It didn’t make sense to go back to a traditional university to pursue a hobby, but Newlane is affordable enough to make getting another degree realistic.

Q. What kind of students are you looking for?

A. While students currently enrolled at traditional universities are welcome to transfer to Newlane, you might be surprised to hear they are not actually who we had in mind when we built this school.

When you look at a piechart of all students enrolled in colleges and universities in the U.S., it is quite shocking. All the universities you’ve heard of? The ivy-leagues, the state schools? They only account for ~30% of students enrolled. The rest of the students in the pie chart attend colleges that most of us have never heard of — you see them off the side of the freeway in nondescript buildings. And a good portion of those are scams. The scammy programs tend to tie their tuition costs to the maximum allowable student loan levels, and pile their students up with tuition-based debt.

We would love to see those students come to Newlane instead, where they will never need to go into debt for a degree.

But Newlane is not just for U.S. students! As I mentioned, we have students from all over the world. In many places, a U.S. degree is considered very valuable, but is typically out of reach for all but the most wealthy. Just getting a student visa to come to the U.S. is a daunting and expensive project. And international students often have to pay the inflated U.S. tuition rates, plus total housing costs, up front, without access to student loan programs. So it’s just not feasible for most people in the world.

But with Newlane, anyone with a reliable internet connection — no matter where in the world they are based — can now access a U.S. college degree.

Q. What is it like taking classes at Newlane?

A. This might be my favorite question, because we’ve built this from scratch. All classes on Newlane are made from course objectives. Course objectives are a list of specific things a student needs to learn in order to pass a class.

For example, in a Biology 101 class, one of the course objectives could be: Explain the process of photosynthesis.

So a student enrolls in a class, and they’ll see the list of objectives. If they click on an objective, there will be resources and links that our professors have vetted, where they can learn that objective. The resources can be anything — youtube videos, TED talks, journal articles, interactive games, textbooks, etc.. The student can use any of the listed resources, or even come up with their own — like maybe their Aunt is a biology teacher, so they call her up and ask her to teach them about photosynthesis. Students can learn the objective however they see fit.

Once they’ve mastered all the objectives for the course they are enrolled in, they can pass off that course.

Q. What is it like passing classes at Newlane?

A. Another of my favorite topics! There are 3 phases to passing a course at Newlane. The first phase is self-determined. Once you learn an objective, you mark it off. Simple as that. It will be as meaningful as you make it.

The second phase is a computer-scored test. The student will answer questions about every single course objective and the computer will automatically score the test and let the student know if there are objectives they need to review. And yes, if students want to cheat here, they can, but it’s not really going to help them, because of phase 3.

The third phase of passing a course is a live video review with a course professor. When the student is ready and feels they’ve learned all the objectives for a course, they set up a live video chat with a course professor. Our professors and subject experts are located all over the world, so you can easily find someone that works with your time zone and schedule.

On the video call, the professor will confirm the students I.D., and then ask the student questions. The questions can be about any of the course objectives. They can be open ended. There can be follow up questions. The student really needs to know those objectives. At the end of the call, the professor will determine one of two things: 1) the student passed the course, or 2) there are objectives the student needs to review.

If the student needs to review objectives, they can do so using whatever resources they prefer, and then set up a new video call. This is so cool! It means students don’t have to re-enroll in the class in a future semester! You don’t get a failing grade.

Q. You mentioned professors all over the world. Tell us more about your professors and subject experts.

A. Yes, it’s true. Our English-speaking experts are based in Hungary, Belgium, Argentina, China, Canada, India, the U.S., etc.. They are well qualified, thoroughly trained, and tend to use Newlane as a sidegig. (As Newlane grows and enrolls more students, we expect full-time positions will open as well.)

One of the nice things for our professors is that they can choose the parts of the job they like best. They can do video calls so students can pass off courses, they can grade papers, they can build new courses and new degrees, they can create learning resources for course objectives (like mini video lectures). But they don’t have to do all of those; they can just choose the tasks they prefer.

Q. What’s the quality of the degree like?

A. I would say: don’t be fooled by the price! The low-cost might make you think this is a really easy degree or something you don’t need to take seriously. But that’s not true at all. When building our degrees, we compare and align them with the top universities in the country, so our courses are rigorous, and anticipate serious learning and study by the student.

Q. Do students get a transcript?

A. Yes. And it’s an especially good one. A traditional transcript doesn’t tell you much. It might say Biology 101— B+. But that doesn’t tell you what was actually covered in the course, and which things you learned well (or didn’t learn well — because maybe you missed a couple of classes).

A Newlane University transcript is different. It lists the objectives for each course, so anyone can see exactly what was covered in that class. And since students need to master all course objectives before passing a class at Newlane, the transcript shows exactly what a student mastered as well, (not just what was covered in the class).

Q. Tell me more about students having to master every objective in the course. It’s like they all have to get an A?

A. It’s called Competency Based learning — students get credit for demonstrating mastery, not just doing assignments or spending time in class. A student doesn’t pass the class until they’ve mastered every objective for that class.

One of the reasons we wanted to start Newlane is because this is a better model of education. The lower cost of our degree is a symptom of a better model, in an environment where we have better access to abundant quality instructional resources.

We’re not the first school to adopt Competency Based Education, but we do think we’re the logical end to that movement.

Q. How long does it take to earn a degree with Newlane?

A. Newlane classes are designed to take the same amount of hours a traditional college course would require. So a two year degree would take two years. That said, Newlane is totally self directed and competency-based, so if you want to move through courses quickly, you can! And if you want to take your sweet time, that’s fine too!

If a student already knows a lot of the coursework from earlier studies, in theory, they can pass classes more quickly and earn a degree more quickly.

Q. How do I sign up?

A. We enroll students every day, all year long. There is no official start to the semester. In fact, there is no semester! You can start whenever you want to. Even today. Go to our Apply Today page to get started or learn more.

Q. Are your own kids enrolled in Newlane?

A. They are not at the moment. Ralph and Maude are both attending California state schools. And Olive is attending film school in Paris. Of all our kids, I think Oscar may be the most likely to do a Newlane degree — but I think he would probably do it concurrently with a traditional university, and then earn two separate degrees. Oscar is very self-directed in his learning, and enjoys watching Kahn Academy classes just for fun.

I hope this answer makes clear that we don’t pretend to think Newlane is the perfect fit for everyone. Many people benefit by attending traditional universities — including our own kids. But for people where schedule, budget, or geography make enrolling in a traditional university impossible, Newlane is a really terrific alternative, and the most affordable alternative out there.

Q. Can I offer a scholarship for a student in need?

A. What an awesome question. That is something I love about Newlane. At a traditional unversity, you’d have to be pretty wealthy to set up a scholarship endowment (think: $100,000 range). But with Newlane, anyone who can afford $40 per month, could put someone through college! How cool is that?

You can donate to the Newlane Global Scholarship Fund here.

Q. For anyone who has been following along since 2016, they may remember the school was originally called Teachur.co, and now it’s called Newlane University. Why the name change?

A. As the school has grown from an idea to an actual degree-granting institution, we chose Newlane because we appreciate that it sounds like it could be a university you might find in New England — one of the big centers for education in the U.S., but we also like what the name means: this is a New Path for education.

Q. Anything else people should know? Anything you are excited about that we haven’t covered?

A. Our school is still young, so we’re listening carefully to students. Our current students are helping us decide what degrees we should offer next and which new features we should implement, or that they find the most valuable. So if you want to influence the direction of Newlane, consider signing up!

Lastly, we are officially trying to get the word out about Newlane. If you have any interest in talking — about student loan debt, about online learning, about Competency Based Education, about this new concept for a university, about rising tuition prices, about educational technology, about educational philosophy — in your podcast or website or newsletter, we would be delighted to answer questions or tell you more. Feel free to reach out.

—–

Did you make it all the way to the end? Hah! That was a long interview — I’m super proud of Ben and didn’t want him to leave out any of the awesome details.

What’s your take on the idea of Competency Based Education? Would you appreciate a detailed transcript like Ben described? How would you feel about getting a 4-year degree entirely online and never visiting a college campus? Do you think of yourself as a self-directed learner? Or do you prefer due-dates and deadlines to help you move things along? I’d love to hear.

65 thoughts on “Introducing: Newlane University”

  1. Way to go Ben Blair! I am inspired by the idea of competency based education. As I’ve seen education (good and bad) up close with 6 kids in various forms of online learning this year I can see how this model has great potential to be very successful for many students.

    1. I love it so much as well, Marian. It eliminates the whole idea of trying to get an A or B in a class, or doing the minimum required to pass. I love that each student passes the class once they’ve learned all the class objectives. So simple! It seems so obvious!

      With class schedules and classroom constraints, traditional schools have to keep the whole class on the same pace, and in that kind of setting, competency-based learning seems almost possible. But with a platform like Newlane, students can learn on their own timeline, and really master the objectives before they move on.

  2. I have read it all ;-) that’s because I ama professor also, teaching Philosophy also, and online for more than 10 years! (but, it is in spanish). The heart of my University is in Mexico and we have a Masters and Doctorate and now Posdoctorate studies. I am sure the site and the programs will interest your husband; it’s Critical studies. Here is the link.

    That University has a ton of experience, 20 years on line. The one big difference is that the way of communicating is through writing and that’s really why I accepted to teach there, I didn’t want to do videos. Each tutor has a kind of blog which is kind of a class room and we exchange with our students through texts, and very edited work; the communication becomes very deep and students become really good writers. It is more expensive than Newlane; it has been a fantastic experience, i love it. I allows me to live in France, still work in Mexico. And during the pandemic, it has been such a “relaxing” space for the students: the one space where nothing has changed.

    Bravo for this project, it’s fantastic I am sure it will do very well.

  3. Love this idea!! Was just checking out the application, and am curious why it’s only available in certain US states?

  4. I’m very interested, as I think the pandemic is blowing up the whole idea of traditional colleges and higher education. Can you explain more about the business model? With the cost being so low, how does the University earn money to sustain itself, or how do they plan to do so at scale?

  5. Hi Laura, Thanks for the question. Yes, the basic model is that we’re leveraging extant quality instructional resources rather than providing live teachers for each class. So the only direct cost for a student passing a course is a professor to review the course project, and host a course hearing (a live video conference oral exam). Current models of universities often draw on an outdated idea that information is expensive (and exclusive). The thrust of the Newlane model is that information is really inexpensive, and the job of an educational institution is to verify mastery, and this can be streamlined and managed.

  6. I’m so curious about this! I’m in my mid-30’s and attended traditional universities in the US for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I explored Newlane’s website and I’m wondering if you can give examples of the hosts or primary sources of “extant” course material for an Associates degree in General Studies. All I can think of is TED Talks, but I’m sure there’s much more out there that I don’t know about/understand.

  7. Hi Aliesha,

    Yes, we’ve been registered in Utah since 2017. All the other states listed have reciprocal arrangements with Utah, so that if a school is registered in Utah, they are exempt from having to register in other states. If a state isn’t listed, it means they don’t have such an arrangement with Utah.

  8. This is very exciting. I’m hoping that a positive result of the COVID pandemic will be for us to not only re-evaluate traditional education but move to better learning models: how we learn, why we learn, what are the best ways to learn. My favorite part of Newlane University’s manifesto is “Education should not be at the service of institutions, but at the service of learning.” LOVE THIS!

  9. Is Newlane a non-profit?
    I am wary of for-profit education at all levels. I understand that non-profits can also be corrupted, but as a for-profit venture eventually you will sell and the new owners may not be as idealistic as the founders.

  10. Thanks for your question, Steph. Yes, Ted Talks would be an example, and things like youtube videos, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Open Educational Resources, and we have an online library subscription, etc. If I ask you to explain the process of photosynthesis, you could find appropriate, reliable resources. As we have developed courses, we first focus on the objectives, then gather and vet appropriate instructional resources.

  11. I work in fundraising at a top research institution. One of the comments I have heard from alumni and some faculty is that it’s exciting when a first gen student gets accepted and gets scholarships, but that doesn’t account for the environment that they will encounter while they’re learning – the inherent bias, navigating systems that no one in their family can help them with, demands outside of university – and how the university isn’t helpful in those areas. This endeavor seems like a great entry point for first gen students – would it consider offering counseling or similar to help students navigate a higher ed experience, even an untraditional one like Newlane? Honestly, it all sounds very exciting. Congrats to Ben and everyone involved!

  12. I love this idea. I have a BA from BYU (International Studies) but in the twenty years since graduating, have found my true passion to be art and design. Financially, it just doesn’t make sense for me to go back to school for an additional degree to amplify my hobby. I’m super interested in the graphic design degree you plan to roll out, I’d love to have a more structured way to increase my knowledge without the huge expense of traditional degrees.

    1. Love hearing that, Jen! I haven’t taken a graphic design client in years, but I’m grateful every single day for what I learned earning my BFA in graphic design. I agree that it’s really cool that Newlane will allow someone who really wants to learn a new skill to be rewarded with a degree, without the kind of investment of time and money that a traditional university program requires. Hooray for flexible, affordable college!

  13. This is phenomenal! You can feel the love and integrity — not to mention the innovation — with which this school was built. What a gift!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Olivia. Ben and Josh have poured every resource they have into this project since 2016 and it truly is a labor of love. Helping students earn a degree, when they wouldn’t have been able to afford one otherwise, definitely makes all the effort (and patience!) worthwhile.

  14. As a professor at a traditional private university, I’m very excited about this model. But I would love to hear more about how your experts are compensated. The casualization of academic labor is a real problem in the US and around the world–people work for years to earn PhDs, but adjunct salaries are horrifyingly low (maybe a couple of thousand dollars for teaching a whole semester long course with 100 students). That isn’t the problem that Newline sets out to solve, but do you benefit from the fact that so many experts are underpaid and cobbling together side gigs? And if so, what do you plan to do about it?

  15. Thanks for your question, Sarah! You and me both on being wary about for-profit education. We have looked into the non-profit route, and we may still go that route in the future. While Newlane is a for-profit company, we believe a free market is a good solution to the problems of expensive costs to higher ed, and the corollary of massive student debt. The for-profit schools most people are familiar with are based on a student loan revenue model. The problem with these is that they exacerbate rather than address the problems. In light of these twin problems, what should concern us is not primarily which of several models is used, but what are the most effective means to address the problems. We believe Newlane is perfectly suited to address the problems of exorbitant cost and massive debt. Currently, most all the other available models of higher ed in the US (regardless of institutional structure) are built on gouging students, and the biggest beneficiaries are banks. We are hoping to offer an alternative.

  16. Thanks for your comments and question, Abbey. We think that the casualization of academic labor is a big issue, and though we didn’t set out to solve that, we think we have some good options that our model allows. We’re young and small, and don’t have enough work to hire professors on a full-time basis so we currently pay professors an hourly rate. Our model lets experts choose how they want to contribute (i.e., develop curriculum, review student projects, host course hearings), so that is a difference that offers some flexibility. One of the areas that we’re excited about in the future is compensating professors through a royalty basis (e.g., based on their contributions to coursework). It’s kind of the idea of “every professor a publishing house”. We’re small and we’ve benefitted from the problem you articulated–a lot of PhDs looking for academic work. None of our professors (including me) is making a living yet on Newlane, but we think that will change…

  17. I would absolutely have benefited from this self-directed learning style. I am so excited to see the next degree offerings, because I would consider splurging on a third degree for fun. I also really appreciate seeing a new model in a sea of broken educational models in the U.S.

    1. Isn’t that fun to think about, Caitlin? Earning a degree out of interest and pleasure with no pressure or urgency? If degrees were as affordable as they should be, it would feel like we could freely learn anything! And easily pivot in our work as many times as makes sense.

  18. Sounds fascinating! I’m interested in this “teaching at Newlane as a sidegig” idea. I’m a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a college professor in California. What’s the process for getting hired as a professor?

    1. Ben is trying to respond to specific questions like this when he’s able to check in on this post — so watch for a response (but it might show up below, because the comment threading on my blog is broken at the moment).

  19. I absolutely love this whole idea. While I am a big fan of student loan forgiveness, I feel like it is more of a band aid. This type of disruption to the education system is the only thing that could solve the problem long term. Kudos to you and your team.

    1. I feel the same way, Heather. I support loan forgiveness for sure. But how does that help current and upcoming students? They’ll just need to get loans again. The cost of the higher ed in America is unreasonable and needs more than a band-aid. I can see this is especially true when I compare prices in the EU.

    1. I’m trying to let Ben answer specific questions like this, but I can see the his responses aren’t showing up in a threaded format (that’s my blog tech issue, not his), so I’m not sure if he’s missed this question. From what I understand, yes, you do need a high school diploma or equivalent (like a GED) to enroll. Ben can correct me if I’m wrong.

  20. This is so exciting. And amazing. I can’t wait for you to start adding more degrees. Great job, you two! I’m very eager to see where Newlane University goes.

  21. This sounds fantastic! I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently teach middle and high school English, but I’ve long wanted to get a Master’s degree. At age 57, I don’t have the money or time to do so, as I am also a full-time caregiver for my severely disabled young adult daughter, but if your new university eventually offers Masters’ degrees, I’m in!

    1. Totally! Sounds like Newlane could be a great match for you. I look forward to the (hopefully near) future when Newlane can offer dozens and dozens of degree options.

  22. Congratulations. This model is an important addition to the options available to those who want to obtain a college degree. As you mentioned about your older children, not for everyone. I benefit greatly from the give and take of conversations within a class and/or between myself and professors so, this wouldn’t be for me. But, this structure is a valuable alternative for many.

  23. I’m thrilled that Newlane is going so well! I am an original Teachur Kickstarter backer & I even did a long video call with Ben and Josh in the initial course development days. I’m not in one of Utah’s reciprocal states, but hopefully someday soon I can register on the site and put my lifetime benefit to good use.

    I’m a former special education teacher & I find competency-based learning to be far more equitable and akin to real-life. As a parent and an educator, I’m not interested in how *fast* you can learn a new concept or skill; I just want you to learn it, learn it well, and retain that knowledge. Giving students (of any age) the freedom to use a variety of resources to learn and then demonstrate knowledge AND allowing/encouraging them to go back and remediate areas that aren’t quite up to snuff is more valuable than I can quite put into words. For students with learning differences, eliminating high stakes “do-or-die” tests can be a total game-changer and give them access to degrees (and therefore jobs) that wouldn’t otherwise be possible for them because of how they learn and demonstrate their knowledge.

    I am excited to watch as Newlane continues to grow!

  24. Hi Betsy,

    Gabby is right. The admissions criteria are:
    *Students must be at least 18 years of age.
    *Students must be able to provide evidence of completing secondary school (high school) or equivalent. Suitable evidence includes: an official high school transcript, a copy of a recognized high school diploma, a high school equivalency transcript (GED, TASC Test scores etc.) etc., or an official college transcript from an accredited university.
    *Students for whom English is a second language, must meet our English proficiency standards.
    *Students must have access to a computer with a camera and microphone, and internet fast enough to handle live video conferences (30+ minutes).

  25. Are you considering getting accreditation in an European country? If you are accredited in just one EU country, all the other EU countries recognize your diplomas, so you can enroll students from all Europe!

  26. What an awesome development! And what perfect timing to get accredited while everyone is exploring remote working/learning! Congrats and so excited to see Newlane University grow!

  27. I am intrigued, as a mom to six kids and potentially four in university all at the same time. Then I saw your first graduate is now studying at U of Notts and I got very excited – that’s our city! I’m reading through your site now & am curious for students in the UK what type of qualifications they would need (A levels, Btec, etc.)

  28. Ashley Fernandez

    I am relatively new to your page and very much interested in your political views/posts as well as your construction to your estate! This specific post on Instagram caught my attention as I went to a traditional University right out of High School (years ago) and it just wasn’t the right time or fit for me as a student, the cost was a huge issue as well. I love the idea of this learning platform and I will be following along as it grows. This is so brilliant and I will be a huge supporter from here on out!

  29. What a great concept and, in my opinion, long overdue. As a 19-year former homeschooler of three, competency was always my aim. We got a slap in the face when my son first applied to college, back in 2000, and I naïvely wrote on his transcript that he did not have grades but he did have knowledge sufficient for any test. The first-tier university responded with, “I’m sorry but that isn’t sufficient for us.” All this to say that reading about your philosophy, procedures, and goals is very exciting and will certainly benefit humanity. (I’m a big picture person ☺️)

    I think your school would be perfect for one of my adult children who could not finish college no matter what they tried to do. The demands of time, the money, the course material that was tedious and overwhelming… they just couldn’t pull it off. I suspect this is a very viable option for them. Hoping Montana is one of the reciprocal states.

    I too am also interested in possibly working for your school. Currently an elementary school educator with a masters, but I am an editor on the side and my language/writing skills are suitable for that one aspect Ben mentioned, reviewing written work from the students. Would I find information about working with you (or for you) on your website? I think I’m answering my own questions — I’ll just head over there and do a little more research.

    Super happy for you and really thrilled to see this turn in higher education. Thanks for a great interview!

  30. This is exciting! I was just beginning the steps of going back to school to get my degree in Graphic Design…but now I’m intrigued by your school! I know someone asked above, but I didn’t understand your answer about certain states not listed. I live in Maryland, so I am guessing since MD isn’t listed I won’t be able to attend the school just yet?

  31. I have been checking in on Newlane for a while to see the progress–congrats on getting accredited, that’s HUGE!! What an exciting and needed addition to the higher ed world.

    I’m a college administrator who concentrates in the Title IX/VI/VII/ADA civil rights and equity part of the school–I’m curious to know if you’ll be looking to expand your administrator career opportunities, perhaps in areas of compliance like these. (This is an unabashedly self serving question, I know!)

  32. So I’m a little unclear about the eligibility in the US states (even though I read Ben’s response to a similar question) that are not listed on the application. I reside in Oregon. Does this mean I’m not currently eligible to enroll? And, if not, is that one of the things that are dependent on the ASIC accreditation and, once that is in place, the enrollment will be opened up in the remaining US states? Thanks!

  33. So cool! Love the concept and idea behind newlane! I’m in my forties and think about a second degree in psychology (my first one is law) just for fun and because I’m highly interested and would love to learn more. Classroom study could be an affordable way (we don’t have general study fees in Germany) but I don’t want to be the granny sitting next to teenagers in class so I prefer distance/ online-studies. We have one state distance-learning university (fernuni Hagen) which is also really affordable and I will probably go for that. But your new approach to transfer knowledge and how to pass exams is so unique and modern, I will definitely follow your progress and see what courses you will offer next. Really great!

  34. I read all of it! Fantastic idea! I absolutely love this. Higher education should be accessible to all. I consider myself a lifelong student. I have a B.S. in Business, a Masters in Education, a Montessori AMI diploma and a graduate certificate in Holistic Health all from US universities. To help with costs I even worked at one of the schools to receive tuition remission. I just paid off my student loans and don’t want more debt, but am interested in health related subjects. I do a lot of my own research, but love having degrees to back me. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Newlane!

  35. I’m very interested! Would you ever offer enrollment for students under age 18? As long time homeschoolers, my children are very self directed. We have considered early college for at least one of them. Could that ever be an option?

    1. Good news, Erika! The Newlane team got quite a few inquiries about enrolling students under age 18, and yes, if you estimate your student is going to be age 18 when they graduate from Newlane, they can start taking classes right now, no problem.

      For those students who will start and finish Newlane before turning 18, the team at Newlane is definitely willing to make a policy change, but likely won’t prioritize that change unless they can see that many families will benefit. Like, if there were 50 families who would sign up their 14 year olds today, Newlane would bump the policy change up their to-do list.

  36. Just so, so interested and inspired by everything about this. Bravo, Ben Blair and Josh Stanley, and thank you for sharing it with us, Gabby. <3

  37. Ok, so where was this when I was in college? This is what I had always dreamt of. When you start offering advanced degrees, I’m signing up. Patiently waiting for your first doctoral program!

  38. Hello! This sounds like a wonderful option. I’m curious, if students are having trouble understanding or mastering a Course objective are professors available to chat with? Can students ask them questions? Or is there an online class forum for discussions between students and teachers?

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