Long before Scott Hines dreamed up the World Education University, he was a young foster kid growing up in Western Colorado who believed that college was out of his reach. That all changed when he was accepted into the Air Force Academy.
“I was very lucky I got in,” he said. “It’s a completely free, high-caliber education. You pay back your education through service to your country. It set me on a whole other path.”
Hines earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees while serving more than 10 years of active duty. Yet, as he continued to accumulate higher education honors, he never forgot where he came from.
“It has been a lifelong goal for me to pay it back and inspire other kids like me to reach for the stars,” he said.
In 2010, Hines was elected Mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., and he founded World Education University (WEU), a completely free online university where he serves as president and chief operating officer, alongside Curtis Pickering, who serves as CEO.
WEU is unlike most other online universities in that it focuses primarily on training its students to become “an army of humanitarians,” according to Hines.
(Next page: How WEU works—and how it emphasizes the importance of giving back)