REINVENTING UNIVERSITIES: Peter Thiel will pay you to skip college; Sebastian Thrun will let you take Stanford-caliber courses for free; 2tor wants to create an online extension of degrees. Now former Snapfish CEO Ben Nelson, with advice from former Harvard U president Larry Summers, aims to reinvent elite universities with The Minerva Project. "Our mission is to accelerate the life trajectory of the smartest, hardest working kids in the world for our collective benefit," he says. For less than $20K a year, Nelson plans to offer each student a unique education experience: online lectures from the world's leading professors; specialty programs aimed at strengthening critical, analytic thinking; dorms around the world. "If I don't know that a Minerva degree is creating substantial value, to the students, every single year, then I'm not doing my job," Nelson declares. The doors open in September 2014.

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