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Software Billionaire Envisions Free
'Ivy League' Education Online

Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Computer software billionaire Michael Saylor is donating $100 million to start an online university he says will offer a free "Ivy League" education to anyone.

"Done right, this will impact the lives of millions of people forever," Saylor told The Washington Post in an interview. "Done wrong, it's just noise in a can."

Saylor, 35, is chief executive of Microstrategy, a software company based in suburban Vienna, Va. His 44 million shares of the company are worth $13 billion on paper as of Tuesday, the Post reported in today's editions.

Saylor has no staff, specific curriculum or estimate of the ultimate cost of his project, the Post said.

But he said he envisions online courses that would include lectures from the world's "geniuses and leaders" who would be videotaped at a studio to be built somewhere in the Washington area.

The Post said Saylor planned to announce his plan today at the Greater Washington Business Philanthropy Summit, which was started three years ago to encourage philanthropy in the region.

He characterized his $100 million donation to his personal foundation as a down payment toward creating what would become a nonprofit university.

"I'll contribute more over time until it's done," Saylor was quoted as saying. "Other philanthropists might want to come on board. If not, I'll do it myself."

A variety of degrees already are available from Internet sites, but Saylor's would be the first offered free, the Post said.

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