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The Minerva Project wants to bring Harvard-level education online in 2014

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The Minerva Project is hoping to become the next great American university, and it's doing it online.

The Minerva Project
The Minerva Project

Online universities aren't exactly new, but an upcoming school called the Minerva Project isn't just trying to bring classes online — it wants to compete with the Harvards and Yales of the world. Minerva bills itself as "the first elite American university to be launched in a century," and it's planning to open its virtual doors to students by 2014. According to the school, acceptance will be based on "the world's most demanding intellectual standards" and those who make it in will be taught by "the world's most inspirational and engrossing professors." It's an ambitious project with a quickly approaching deadline, but Minerva will be funded much like any other internet start-up — through venture capital. So far Minerva has raised $25 million to build the school, and while that may sound like a lot, CEO Ben Nelson tells Pando Daily that the money is necessary because the school isn't the kind of product that can benefit from a limited beta release. "You have to launch with the world's greatest product," he said.