Chris Whittle’s new venture Avenues – The World School may be an object business lesson for the elite university sector.
Yale recently invested $600m to expand its undergraduate intake by 15% or by around 800 students. At $750k per student this is rather expensive even when you take into account they had to build two new residential colleges and related academic and support faculties.
By contrast Avenue’s New York campus cost $75m for 753 student places; a tad less than $100k per pupil and yet boasts a technical infrastructure that can ‘run about 5000 mobile devices on its network simultaneously’.
Aside from the astonishing difference in per pupil cost Whittle’s funds came from investors whereas Yale was able to fund its program from its $19.4bn endowment with an ‘average return of 14.2%’ – enough in a single year to fund ten of Whittle’s schools.
With demand for elite higher education currently running at about three times supply it’s clear why 2tor, the Minerva Project and MOOCs like edX, Coursera and Udacity are attracting so much interest from investors and students.