Mission & History


The mission of Newlane University is: “To make quality online liberal arts higher education accessible to anyone on earth by breaking down the barriers of cost, schedule, and geography.” The mission is also a proxy for the more complete Newlane manifesto.


Ben Blair and Josh Stanley, founders of Newlane University, studied at Teachers College, Columbia University, and have over a decade of experience in online and higher education. Though proponents of education, they recognized troubling trends in higher education, such as rising costs without corresponding improvements in quality or student experience, and a lack of adaptability to the diverse and complicated lives of students.

The current system, designed for 20-year-olds with the resources to live in a college town for 4 years, fails to accommodate students with jobs, children, or health issues. The founders were aware of the 40 million US students with some college but no degree and the difficulties in transferring credits when relocating.

Ben and Josh envisioned an educational process that maintained high academic standards while being agile and adaptable to modern lives and leveraging emerging technologies. They worked on developing a platform to significantly reduce the cost of a streamlined degree program, comparable to the essential objectives at other universities, but optimized for online delivery and testing.

Through extensive research, reviewing conventional and online programs, as well as disruptive resources like MOOCs and instructional websites, they focused on the keys to Newlane’s mission: quality and accessibility. In an online environment with abundant quality instructional resources and a platform optimized for verifying student mastery, both quality and accessibility could be realized.

Newlane University has emerged as a force for making quality education available and accessible to everyone, shifting education from a scarcity to an abundance model.