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Philanthropist hopes to make freshman year of college free, announces $1 million donation to try and make it happen

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

New York philanthropist Steven B. Klinsky announced $1 million donation Wednesday to a new program that he hopes will help make freshman year of college free for students.

The program, an online venture affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, is designed to help students pass Advanced Placement or College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests so they could actually enter college as sophomores, the Washington Post reported.

“I’m just trying to make the revolution that’s already going on more accessible to more people,” Klinsky told WaPo.

Colleges around the country have offered credit to students for high scores on AP tests or through CLEP for decades. Klinsky hopes to pair this existing structure with the rise of massive online open courses.

This donation will kick off the development of about 20 online courses from prominent universities, all geared toward AP and CLEP, the Post reported. By the time it is all said and done, Klinsky’s organization, called Modern States Education Alliance, will create a freshman-year catalog of more than 30 introductory courses in topics ranging from calculus to Western civilization.

The catalog should be available within a year and a half.

Klinsky said he took AP courses and tests as a high school student, earning credits that helped put him ahead in college.

“No one should be shut out of education after high school because of tuition cost or lack of access,” Klinsky told WaPo. He said his ultimate goal is just “to create at least one universally available and tuition-free path toward high quality education for anyone who seeks it.”

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