Free University

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Education for the sake of education and empowerment.

College is expensive. Public education only goes through high school. What if college did too? My friend Kristen and I are trying to establish our goals for this idea and pin them down.

Just because you don't have the means to attain an Ivy League degree doesn't mean that you are powerless. Rather, it shouldn't. Free University is aiming to change that.

While we recognize things like accreditation are important, we are also want to make the point that accreditation doesn't always equal good education, and a lack of it doesn't mean bad education. Getting accredited is not necessarily an intended step of the organization.


  • Establishment
    • Website: I don't know the first step in buying domain space, or what to do if the domain you want is covered in ads and search engines.

Until we get Free University in physical form: The goal of the website is to direct the world to sources in which they can educate themselves. The sources I know of are all online right now.

      • FreeUniv They have sources for high school and college people that allows one to get credit from universities for cheaper prices than tuition. However, it's not completely free, and only works for schools that accept the credit. It's rare to be able to obtain a degree with this method.
      • MIT's Open Courseware Books and things aren't free. Not all classes are taped, etc.
    • Obtain place
    • Hold classes-

  • Legitimacy
    • After 20 years of establishment, I want local employers to be able to look at a resume, see free university education, and think the candidate's education is just as good as others with a degrees from traditional universities. That sets a high standard, but it's a worthy one.

Research and Ideas

  • Obtaining a website
  • Obtaining place- combining forces with Makers Local 256 to obtain a place?
  • Combining forces with Makers Local 256- We all like to share what we know. Perhaps teaching classes on and about completed projects could be part of this plan. Directly applying knowledge is a great source of empowerment, and I think this group could help "enrollees" feel the direct benefits of learning something new.
  • Classes- Idea: We can probably get a lot of professors to come teach classes on their sabbaticals from their local universities. We've already talked to a couple of sociology professors at UAH about this. They were extremely supportive of the idea. Not sure if this idea would work for hard science professors. I think this project would make a fantabulous research topic.

Idea: Seek out students in battered women's shelters/ homeless shelters. Empower these people with tools of education. These may be the people Free University could help first. (We're probably not going to be stealing students from UAH just yet).

  • Spreading like the Herp- Idea: Long term- send out student "seeds" to establish similar organizations in major metropolitan areas.

  • Process of accreditation- Who knows if we even want to go there. Still worth researching though.


  • Place
  • Funding- Should this be a non-profit? Even if we're donation supported, most middle-class and "rich" people I've met think our education system is fine, and Free University is not needed. blah blah blah. So, we'd need to work on selling ourselves better.
  • Conflicting Ideas- Thus far, I see these as separate visions. Are they? If so, what should Free University be? There are lots of hard questions and possibilities here.
    • Legitimacy- We may not be accredited, but still want the same legitimacy that comes with accreditation. Silly goal? I don't know, but surely it's possible.
    • Outreach Differences There are different approaches to reaching, say, the homeless and upper-lower/middle class people who have just had bad luck/circumstances with school.
    • Community focus vs. Student focus On one hand you have the aspect of this to be a community project- a focus on skills, quick lessons, and not dependent on perfect attendance. Many of these freebie community centers seem to focus on that.

    • On the other hand, you have the aspect of student rigor- associated with high attendance, more theory than directly applied skill, and concepts that may take longer to grasp.*