Minerva Schools at KGI Accepts Founding Class at 2.5% Admissions Rate

Although acceptance rates have dropped across the 5Cs, the lowest acceptance rate in Claremont this year is not at any of the five undergraduate institutions. The Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, a new undergraduate program that partnered
with KGI in 2013, accepted 2.5 percent of its applicants for its founding class.

The program,
founded by CEO Ben Nelson in 2011, allows students to earn a four-year degree by taking classes in locations abroad, such as Berlin, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, and Hong Kong, through Minerva’s online teaching platform. Members of the founding class will spend their first year of study in San Francisco before taking a gap year, according to the program’s website. In subsequent years, they will study in Minerva residence halls in up to seven cities around the globe. 

Minerva Schools accepted 45 students from a pool of 1,794 for an expected class size of 15-19 students, according to a press release published March 26. Twenty-six students are female, and 19 are
male; 26 are not American. The accepted students are from 10
different countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Malaysia,
Nigeria, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Minerva Schools at KGI have a need-blind admissions policy, wrote Paige Stein, manager of media relations at KGI, in an email to
TSL. In addition, the founding class will have its tuition waived for all four years, according to the press release.

“We do not ask for any financial information in
the application process and a student’s financial status will not impact his or
her chances of being admitted,” Stein wrote. “Minerva provides financial support options
individualized to each admitted student based on proven financial need.”

The application for the Minerva Schools did not ask for applicants’ socioeconomic or racial backgrounds, either, according to an email to TSL from Robin Goldberg, chief marketing officer at Minerva Project.

The Minerva Schools at KGI are meant to compete with other selective U.S. higher education institutions, and seem to be recruiting applicants of a similar caliber.

According to the March 26 press release, “three students are
entrepreneurs with thriving businesses, two hold patents, eight have written
and published books, plays, articles, or scientific papers, and six are leaders
in student publications or broadcast stations.”  

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an association that accredits public and private colleges and universities, has approved
several majors that the Minerva Schools will be offering.

relationship between KGI and Minerva Project, the offering of an undergraduate
program through the Minerva Schools at KGI, and the majors for Arts and Humanities,
Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences have been granted
WASC approval,” Goldberg wrote. “Specific approval for the Business majors is being sought and is
pending at this time.”

All Minerva students will be taking the same four cornerstone classes their first year.

Diane Halpern, a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College and the dean of the social sciences at the Minerva Schools, will teach the Complex
Systems cornerstone course, which focuses on the “intricate causal forces that shape
complex systems, including psychological, economic and social systems,” Goldberg wrote. 

James Sterling, the director of Minerva Labs and the interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences, will teach the Empirical Analyses cornerstone course, which teaches students “how to use the scientific method to frame problems, formulate and test
hypotheses, and engage in informed conjecture,” Goldberg wrote. 

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