Elon Musk to Establish a New University in Austin

Elon Musk, who has recently moved to Texas, is making plans to establish a university in Austin, as reported by Bloomberg News

The charity, known as The Foundation, intends to utilize a $100 million donation from Musk to develop and launch a primary and secondary school in Austin with a focus on teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. According to the filing, once the school is fully operational, it will transition into a university. The school aims to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is a necessary initial step in launching the institution.

As per the filing, the university will provide education to students through both in-person and distance learning technologies. It plans to commence enrollment with 50 students and gradually expand over time. The school’s funding will come from donations and tuition fees, with provisions for financial aid in cases where students are unable to afford tuition or fees. The filing also mentions that the school is currently in the process of hiring an executive director, teachers, and administrators.

Musk’s decision to establish a new university in Austin, a city already housing the prestigious University of Texas at Austin and numerous private universities, coincides with the upcoming official opening of another private school in the city in the fall of 2024.

The University of Austin was founded two years ago by a group of critics of higher education in response to their belief that college campuses in the United States no longer foster open exchanges of ideas between students and faculty.

In an interview with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday, University of Austin President Pano Kanelos expressed his hope that the school would serve as an advocate for free speech and open inquiry.

“We find ourselves in a time where things seem to be falling apart, where people are being drawn away from each other, and where institutions appear to be crumbling at their foundations,” said Kanelos. “The best response is to create something new.”

Musk’s university, which is yet to be named, has not provided a comment in response to a request for comment from The Foundation.

According to Bloomberg, The Foundation’s trustees include Jared Birchall, the head of Musk’s family office; Steven Chidester, a tax attorney at Withersworldwide; and Ronald Gong and Teresa Holland, who work at Catalyst Family Office in California.

The Texas Tribune collaborates with Open Campus to cover higher education.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has provided financial support to The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization funded in part by contributions from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters do not influence the Tribune’s journalism. A complete list of sponsors is available here.

This article was originally published in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/12/13/elon-musk-austin-texas-university/.

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