July 31st, 2015
Had Daniella Kippnick followed in the footsteps of the hundreds of
millions of students who have earned university degrees in the past
millennium, she might be slumping in a lecture hall somewhere while a
professor droned. But Kippnick has no course lectures. She has no
courses to attend at all. No classroom, no college quad, no grades. Her
university has no deadlines or tenure-track professors.
Instead, Kippnick makes her way through different subject matters on
the way to a bachelor’s in accounting. When she feels she’s mastered a
certain subject, she takes a test at home, where a proctor watches her
from afar by monitoring her computer and watching her over a video feed.
If she proves she’s competent—by getting the equivalent of a B—she
passes and moves on to the next subject.
Kippnick’s classroom is a small study she’s set up in her home in rural
Michigan, where she can stare out at apple trees and the occasional
passing deer. She can finish her degree as quickly or as slowly as she
wants. It costs her just $5,000 a year.