How Affordable Is Elon Musk’s Exclusive Online School?
Elon Musk's newly launched Astra Nova school is gaining traction from families, but how much money will families have to front?
Elon Musk recently made headlines not for his business endeavors, or quirky tweets, but for expanding his experimental private school. For years it operated quietly and mainly served Musk’s children, and select SpaceX employee families. Once named the Ad Astra School, now that the educational institution has gone public (via online classes), it has been rebranded the Astra Nova School, and many parents are wondering how affordable it is.
This private educational option was created in direct response to the public education system. Instead of segregating students by age, children have been encouraged to work together at various levels. This offers a more realistic picture of what job settings and adulthood is like, in addition to giving young students access to mentors while reminding older children that they are influencing others. Although considered experimental, the Astra Nova School has interested many parents, and does offer financial assistance in order to appeal to a broader pool of thinkers.
The Astra Nova School is an online-only option, so costs remain relatively low. Full-time tuition is currently listed at $32,500. While this is a hefty price tag in an uncertain economy, it is less than half of the country’s most expensive/exclusive private schools and offers part-time options that provide further financial flexibility. Two hours of instruction once a week is listed at $3,900, and four hours of classwork per week costs $7,725. Families can pick and choose what works best for them, but the model works in real-time so students are expected to keep up with a Pacific schedule in order to prevent learning loss or coursework confusion.
Any student can apply, and everyone is expected to pay some tuition, but Astra Nova’s School and Student Services (SSS) department processes financial aid needs in order to offer fair and transparent admissions. Families can submit an aid form and the Board of Directors will determine a proper Parent Financial Statement (PFS). There is a $55 application fee, but that is waived for families which make an annual income of $75 thousand or less.
While a focus on STEM learning and problem-solving are at the heart of the Astra Nova School, so are clear policies that allow the small student body to focus on their work. The school refrains from soliciting donor contributions. Because traditional private school models are funded through private donors, school politics are sometimes hijacked by monetary connections. In order to avoid this, the Astra Noval School is a non-profit that is funded through tuition.
Another cost-cutting measure is the fact that this experimental organization does not offer language, music, or sports activities. The focus is mainly on problem-solving, as seen through the school’s YouTube channel — which offers various child-friendly learning videos about unraveling conundrums. Without utility costs and on-site campus needs, the Astra Nova School is able to operate on a smaller budget with financial aid options.
Whether the school will continue to expand, and how students meet future successes, is unknown, but for now, interest is growing. As the public education system continues to fail students across the nation, learning alternatives have increased in popularity. The Astra Nova School is just one of many private institutions that families are now considering.