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Why Elon Musk Wants to Start a University in Texas

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By Abi Gibson - - 5 Mins Read
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk poses with a smile in a black suit
Elon Musk | Shutterstock

A recent report by Bloomberg reveals that Elon Musk is planning to set up a university in Austin, Texas, as per tax filings made by the Musk charity.


The Foundation plans to donate $100 million to construct primary and secondary schools emphasising science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.


Once these schools are operational, the ultimate goal is to establish a university that provides education at the highest levels.


The tax exemption application was submitted by The Foundation to the Internal Revenue Service in October 2022 and was approved in March, as highlighted.


The proposed university is set to offer courses in various subjects, such as mathematics, science, engineering, and physics, all taught by experienced faculty.


In addition to theoretical learning, students can access hands-on experiences, including simulations, case studies, fabrication and design projects, and various laboratory exercises.


Moreover, the university aims to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, ensuring high educational standards are maintained.


The Foundation, spearheaded by Musk, plans to utilize his generous $100 million gift to establish a secondary school centered around STEM education in Austin.


Once fully operational, the Foundation's filing states that its focus will shift towards creating a university.


Seeking accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is a critical initial step in the university's launch.


According to the filing, university classes will be conducted in person and via distance education technologies.


Initially, enrollment is expected to begin with 50 students, gradually expanding. Funding for the school's activities will come from donations and tuition fees, providing potential financial aid to students who may face difficulties paying tuition or fees.


As stated in the filing, the university is recruiting an executive director, teachers, and administrators.


Musk's plan to establish a new university in Austin coincides with the impending opening of another private school in the city, which is expected to welcome students in fall 2024.


Additionally, the application sheds light on the planned K–12 schools, which will concentrate on teaching STEM subjects alongside other relevant topics.


A university campus building in sight
University campus | Cheng/Shutterstock


The initial enrollment for these schools is projected to begin with around 50 students, with the ultimate aim of scaling up enrollment progressively.


Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal reports indicate that Musk might also open a school focused on Montessori-style education as part of his ambitious plans to develop a town in Texas.


He believes that the best response is to create new educational avenues amidst the current societal divisions and institutional uncertainty.


Musk's university in Texas remains unnamed, and the Foundation has yet to provide a comment in response to inquiries.


This is not Elon Musk's first venture into the field of education. In 2014, he established an institution called Ad Astra, which catered to his five children and a select number of students.


However, in 2020, Musk and the co-founders decided to close Ad Astra and launch Astra Nova, an online-only school with approximately 50 full-time students as of last year.


The trustees of The Foundation 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, according to Bloomberg.