Bill Gates: 'College, Except For The Parties, Needs To Be Less Place-Based'

08/09/2010 01:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The best way to make college cheaper? Using technology to make it available anywhere, Bill Gates said during a presentation at last week's Technonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA.

The Hill reports on his speech:

"College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based," [Gates] said.

Gates predicted that technology could soon make place-based learning five times less important for college and university students.

The computer czar also said that technological advances, such as online classes, could possibly decrease tuition costs from $50,000 at some schools to as little as $2,000.

Gates also said that home-schoolers are on the "cutting edge" of using some of these technologies.

To deal with rising costs and overcrowding, more schools are considering moving students to online degree programs. A Texas panel recently recommended that the state's college students complete 10 percent of their degrees in internet classes. In California, one UC-Berkeley administrator wants students to have the option of completing their entire college career online. Opponents of the idea say it would "cheapen" the school's brand.

What do you think? Are online classes the way of the future? Can they replace (or at least replicate) a physical learning environment? Leave your opinion below.

WATCH: (video via the Chronicle of Higher Education)

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