A youth attends an online class in a YMCA in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 17, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
A new California ballot initiative
, if approved by voters, would create a state-run four-year university that operates exclusively online.
The measure is being promoted by Boyd Roberts, who is running in 2024 in the election to represent California’s 47th Congressional District, which is being vacated by current Rep. Katie Porte as she seeks election to the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Roberts has until July 8 to gather the required 874,641 signatures to place the issue on the November ballot.
If approved, the measure would require the state to create the University of California Online, which would provide online for-credit courses open to anyone paying tuition.
In addition, the measure would require the online university to offer a version of every course and program listed in every campus catalog for the University of California, California State and California Community College systems.
Tuition for for-credit courses would vary based on the level and content of the course, with additional fees for out-of-state students.
The courses would also be available for free for anyone to audit.
At the online school, students would be able to take courses at their own pace, taking tests, turning in assignments, and completing courses on their own schedule, according to the state’s legislative analyst.
However, students may be required to take some exams or laboratory coursework in person—and all for-credit medical residency and fellowship courses can be taught in person.
The state treasurer would issue bonds to start the school, which would be repaid from tuition, according to the legislative analyst and after that, the schools’ costs would be covered by tuition.