$140 Million is Massive

Apart from all sorts of misgivings about Georgia Tech’s MOOCish Master’s program in Computer Science, I want to take a moment to do the math. You charge $7000 a year tuition with the idea you’ll have a 2-year cohort of 10,000 students. If you add that up, you get $140 million. That’s massive, especially when you’re only hiring eight new faculty to educate those 10,000 students. Follow the money, this is no joke,  the profits are huge even after you split 40% of the kitty with Udacity.

Update: As Robert MCGuire notes in the comments, my math is off (how about that for doing the math), the number is probably closer 50-60 million given they are charing $7,000 for the whole degree over three years. My bad.

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6 Responses to $140 Million is Massive

  1. No, Jim, you have it all wrong. It’s those 10K students who are really the ones reaping the profits here, with all those millions they’ll make innopreneuring in a limitless market ready to absorb limitless CS majors.

  2. Jim Groom says:

    Trip,
    You are totally right, I completely forgot about the market, thank god Sebastian Thrun has a heart (and wallet) big enough to educate us all 🙂

  3. Pingback: MOOCs and the Redistribution of Wealth | iterating toward openness

  4. Cole says:

    The real shocker is what will happen next — how will Stanford respond? How about CMU? What will it do to other program specific (professional) masters degree programs? How will the other online CSE programs compete? Quality? Because if GT has the ability to do this at scale, with quality, and with results the rest of that market is either going to have change or not grow. When this sort of thing starts to get applied to say the first year of college and some universities are willing to take on 10,000 new freshman a year that never come to campus things are going to get crazy … and I mean that across every possible dimension. To date all we’ve seen are slight disturbances, but if just one decent sized (well known) school (or state system) decides to do a close to free first year all hell is going to break open.

    It would be fun to take the program just to see how it stacks up to anything you’d get on campus or via something like our own Penn State World Campus. We’ve (collectively) worked for years to design online programs that match the quality and rigor of residential ones and now GT is saying they can do that at scale for $14,000 … that same program would typically cost upwards of $48,000 in tuition alone via PSU if taken a course at a time … it isn’t education for the masses, but it is closer than the standard model. I have no idea how to fill the demand side, but what has been cracked open is the supply … can it deliver a learning experience that is quality? Time will tell, but if it does … then what?

    • Reverend says:

      @Cole,
      I totally agree with you, andI think what’s happening at GT is fascinating for a lot of reason. The scale still confuses me a bit, but I think people are just saying screw that, let’s see if we can experiment and have data that tells us just how much worse off graduates in such a program are. It will be interesting as hell to watch.

      @Robert,
      You seem to be right on my re-reading it. And like you said, still massive, but not so much, and still a remarkable deal by current tuition standards, but then there is the social element. Hmmmm, can we do that online in massive ways 🙂 Crazy moment in time and space in terms of higher ed.

  5. Point taken, though there may be a flaw in the arithmetic. If I read the press releases correctly, they’re charging $7k for the whole degree, which they say will take most students 3 years to complete. And it was a little unclear the timelime for enrolling 10k students. I took it to mean over the first few years. So, potentially, a third of the profits you calculated, but massive, nevertheless.

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