Arthur C. Brooks, a former economics professor at Syracuse who heads the American Enterprise Institute, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Thomas Edison in 1994, at age 30, after a decade as a musician. He took correspondence courses, he said, “at the cheapest places I could find.”
Mr. Brooks believes he did the same homework, wrote the same papers and took the same tests as on-campus students at other colleges, without meeting a single professor. To get his degree, he had to prove mastery of economics in a two-hour telephone conversation with a professor at Pace University.
“It was like a field exam,” said Mr. Brooks, now 48. “He asked about Adam Smith, John Keynes, supply and demand, macro and micro — everything an economics major at any university would be expected to know.”