“The mythology of higher education has to change,” UniversityNow founder Gene Wade told me when we talked earlier this week. In other words, what is the purpose of higher education: Is college about a residential experience for those age 18–22? Is it about career readiness and professional training? Is it about a liberal arts education? Is it about advanced learning? Is it a series of steps (credits) one takes in order to get a diploma?
Wade believes his startup UniversityNow provides both a challenge to some of those myths and an alternative for students who might not otherwise be able to afford college. UniversityNow runs New Charter University, which opened earlier this year, and the for-profit announced today that it’s raised $17.3 million in Series B funding, bringing the total raised to $21.5 million. It has also received a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research its model.