'Geniuses' to provide free web lectures

March 24, 2000

Free Ivy League-quality education could soon be on offer to "everyone, everywhere, forever" if plans by high-tech billionaire Michael Saylor materialise.

Mr Saylor last week announced a "down payment" of $100 million from his personal fortune towards a university that will deliver lectures from "geniuses" over the internet.

The 35-year-old graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is chief executive of the software company Microstrategy.

He expects the university to be operating within two years. "I think we can take 99 per cent of the cost out of an education and still keep much of the value." He plans to keep costs low by encouraging lecturers to work for free.

Andy DiPaolo, director of Stanford Online, said lecturers might work without pay but their universities might take a dim view.

Stanford University licenses online courses to other institutions - but at a charge.

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