ASU Thunderbird School aims for 100M students by 2030 with free program

Jan 20, 2022, 10:44 AM

(Facebook Photo/Thunderbird School)...

(Facebook Photo/Thunderbird School)

(Facebook Photo/Thunderbird School)

PHOENIX – Aided by a donation of $25 million, Arizona State University announced ambitious plans Thursday to add 100 million students in eight years with the upcoming launch of a free global learning initiative.

The Thunderbird School of Global Management said in a press release the five-course business program designed for underserved communities will get underway April 8 and eventually be available in 40 languages. The school expects 70% of the students will be women.

Completion of the 100 Million Learners Global Initiative courses will count the same as 15 units, ASU said, and can be applied toward degree work at Thunderbird or ASU and are transferrable to universities around the world.

“Access to higher education and the need for equity and inclusion is one of a global scale. One of the reasons Arizona State University is so pleased to have Thunderbird as part of our enterprise is because it is a school that has been focused on sustained prosperity worldwide for decades,” President Michael Crow said in a press release.

The program plans to start with students in Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Senegal, Brazil, and Vietnam. By the fourth year, expansion will reach Europe and central Asia, and hit 40 languages.

Certificate work will be covered by full scholarships, the school said.

Phoenix Suns co-owner Francis Najafi and his wife Dionne gifted the school $25 million for the initiative.

The couple went to Thunderbird in the years it was a private institution. ASU acquired the school in 2014.

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ASU Thunderbird School aims for 100M students by 2030 with free program