The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the state has decided to crack down on free education, notifying California-based startup Coursera that it is not allowed to offer its online courses to the state’s residents. Coursera, founded by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, partners with top-tier universities around the world to offer certain classes online for free to anyone who wants to take them. You know, unless they happen to be from Minnesota.
A policy analyst for the state’s Office of Higher Education told The Chronicle that Minnesota is simply enforcing a longstanding state law requiring colleges to get the government’s permission to offer instruction within its borders. She couldn’t say whether other online education startups like edX and Udacity were also told to stay out.
Minnesota bans Coursera: State takes bold stand against free education.
According to Minnesota's Office of Higher Education, it isn't the fact that it's free and online that Minnesota finds problematic...it's the fact that the universities who offer these free courses through Coursera haven't obtained permission or paid the $1,200 application fee. Nevertheless, if free online education providers have to pay a shakedown fee to every local, state, or national government that wants to shake them down, it will be very financially difficult for them to operate.
Seems like Minnesota needs to update its laws for the 21st century.