YouTube, Arizona State University and "Crash Course" — the popular educational YouTube channel founded by vloggers Hank and John Green — on Tuesday announced the launch of Study Hall, a pathway to college credit and higher education resource.
Study Hall provides guides about the college selection and admissions process, as well as foundational courses that students can receive college credit for.
The Green brothers were among the early prominent creators on YouTube and Tumblr. The duo, who launched the creator convention VidCon, have been making educational videos since 2010.
Hank Green said the idea for Study Hall came after years brainstorming solutions for the student loan debt crisis. Student loan debt, which has been steadily rising in the U.S. for more than a decade, reached $1.745 trillion last year.
"College education is a tremendous tool for individuals and society, so I think we should be exploring every possible tool for understanding what stands in the way of student success, and lowering or eliminating those barriers whenever possible," Hank Green said in an email. "It’s easy to know there are problems, but very hard to actually interface with them, and I’m just really proud of (and grateful for) the bunch of thoughtful, dedicated people who are making Study Hall happen."
Study Hall provides free access to four YouTube courses that cover subjects that are typically taken during early college years. Available courses are English composition, college math, U.S. history and human communication.
After students feel comfortable with the material, they can take corresponding Arizona State online classs with coursework for $25. Once students finish the courses, they can pay $400 for college credit, which can be transferred to any institution that accepts Arizona State credits.
In its announcement, YouTube said Study Hall will expand to include 12 courses by January 2025.
Maria Anguiano, the executive vice president of Arizona State's Learning Enterprise, said in an email that the university aims to make education accessible to "as many learners as possible." Study Hall is the latest addition to the university's suite of online, low-cost educational resources.
Katie Kurtz, the managing director and global head of learning for YouTube, said Study Hall was forged to “create pathways to more formal education” and allow users “to claim the credit for what they’re learning” on YouTube.
YouTube wants to improve on the experience for learners on the platform without "breaking the magic" of informal YouTube education content, Kurtz said.
"Crash Course is so incredibly talented at compelling storytelling and teaching through ideas that can really bring to life concepts for students," Kurtz said. "ASU has the rigor of their expertise and pedagogy. And then YouTube has this platform of reach and engagement. I think that combination of these three entities feels like it is potentially a new approach to higher education that I hope will inspire a lot of other people."
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com