WHOA. Georgia Tech and Udacity today said that they would jointly offer an entirely online master's degree in computer science with support from AT&T for less than $7,000, total.
That's a game-changer.
A Master's degree in computer science from Georgia Tech is nothing to sniff at: US News & World Report's grad school rankings puts Georgia Tech at number five the U.S., tied with Carnegie Mellon. Out-of-state, full-time tuition for "Buzz" engineers, reports USNews, is about $27,000 per year. Although AT&T's involvement seems limited to providing what the press release calls "generous" support, AT&T's chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson was unequivocable upbeat about the program in a statement:
"We believe that high-quality and 100 percent online degrees can be on par with degrees received in traditional on-campus settings, and that this program could be a blueprint for helping the United States address the shortage of people with STEM degrees, as well as exponentially expand access to computer science education for students around the world."
AT&T will have to live up to that declaration by offering the first grads jobs--but at least for now that's in the future.
Udacity's Sebastian Thrun wrote on his blog that this kind of program is just why he started Udacity: "I grew up in Germany, a country that offers excellent education. Yet when I started my Master's degree in computer science, I found myself among 1,200 other Master's students with just five professors. Needless to say, I ended up mostly educating myself through books that were available at a nearby research institute. Today is my opportunity to give back."
Anyone will be able to take the Udacity courses for free but only those enrolled through Georgia Tech will earn credits toward its Masters' degree.
A pilot program will begin "in the next academic year" with a
few hundred students recruited from AT&T and Georgia Tech corporate affiliates.Check out details here.
Want your kid to get started? Check out our guide on teaching kids to code here.