George Mason University (GMU), Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the Saylor Foundation and StraighterLine to plan affordable pathway to 2 and 4 year degrees

George Mason University (GMU), Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the Saylor Foundation and StraighterLine to plan affordable pathway to 2 and 4 year degrees

6 minute read

Northern, VA – Though the debate about student loan interest rates roils in the nation’s capital less than 10 miles away, a pair of Northern Virginia colleges plan to tackle the problem at its source: the price of a college degree. Today, George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, who already have a robust transfer program, announced the formation of a working group with the Saylor Foundation and StraighterLine to discuss additional affordable pathways into college. The Saylor Foundation, a provider of free and open college courses, and StraighterLine, a provider of courses recommended for credit by the American Council on Education, also announced a partnership today to significantly reduce the cost of select credit-bearing college courses.Though many details need to be finalized, the working group’s objective is to create clear articulation plans among the participating groups such that students who have the discipline for independent or accelerated study would have frictionless transfer, leading to a low cost college degree. The student could start at the Saylor Foundation, StraighterLine, NOVA or GMU. The benefits and price of each starting point will be clearly expressed to prospective students so that they can make the choice that best fits their educational and financial goals. The four participating organizations met for the first time today at “The College Affordability and Innovation Roundtable,” which was convened by Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration and Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Michael Saylor, Chairman, President, and CEO of MicroStrategy and Trustee of the Saylor Foundation, and Mitch Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital.
“George Mason is interested in this project as a means of enhancing educational accessibility and building on our growing strength in distance education,” says Peter Stearns, Provost at George Mason University. “Our existing partnership with Northern Virginia Community College and our commitment to quality learning outcomes will guide our work.”“NOVA is committed to increasing college access for more people while lowering the cost of completing a degree,” explains Bob Templin, President at Northern Virginia Community College. “The goal of our collaboration with George Mason University, Straighterline, and The Saylor Foundation is to create one or more new pathways that will offer flexible options for learners to complete college at an affordable price.”
About George Mason University (GMU) GMU is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and to meet the needs of the region and the world. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, dance, organizational psychology, and health care, Mason students are routinely recognized with national and international scholarships. Enrollment is more than 33,300, with students studying in 202 degree programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and professional levels. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in such areas as cancer, climate change, information technology, and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center bring world-renowned artists, musicians, and actors to their stages. In 2008, GMU was ranked number 1 in the U.S. News and World Reports list of Up-and-Coming Schools. Mason was cited as a school that made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus, or facilities. GMU has remained in the list’s top five schools since that inaugural selection. About Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge. Over 23,000 students participate in more than 350 online courses and 19 Associate Degrees through NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute. About the Saylor Foundation The Saylor Foundation (under its legal name, The Constitution Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Michael J. Saylor, the Chairman, CEO and President of the business intelligence company MicroStrategy. Mr. Saylor serves as the Foundation’s sole trustee. The Foundation’s focus since 2008 has been its Free Education Initiative, through which it is using technology to drive down the cost of education to zero. serves as a zero-cost alternative for individuals who lack the resources to attend traditional brick-and-mortar institutions and as a complement to willing mainstream education providers. Saylor expects free, self-paced, automated online learning opportunities to motivate people to pursue personal growth and career ambitions as well as to lead to institutional change among education providers everywhere. More information about the Saylor Foundation and its 200+ college-level courses is available at About StraighterLine StraighterLine has been recognized as a revolutionizing force in education by major news organizations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for offering students online courses that earn real college credit for just $99 a month. Fast Company named StraighterLine one of the “10 Most Innovative Companies in Education.” In order to facilitate the award of credit, StraighterLine has forged partnerships with leading accredited online colleges and universities. A student ultimately earns a degree from those institutions but realizes tremendous savings and convenience by starting with StraighterLine. StraighterLine’s courses are evaluated and recommended by the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT). In addition to the institutions with which StraighterLine has a direct relationship, more than 250 other schools are reported to have accepted StraighterLine coursework for transfer credit. Currently, StraighterLine offers 38 entry-level college courses online in the Sciences, Humanities, English, Math and Business. For information, visit or call 202-507-7020 or 1-877-str8erline (1-877-787-8375). For Immediate Release May 9, 2012 Media Contacts:
Goodlett McDaniel George Mason University p. 703-993-8978 e. [email protected] Carlene Mackereth Northern Virginia Community College p. 703-257-6658 e. [email protected]
Camie Rodan The Saylor Foundation p. 202-333-4005 e. [email protected] Josef Katz StraighterLine, Inc. p. 202-507-7020 ext 603 e. [email protected]

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