Coursera was forced to shut down its free online educational courses in Minnesota because of a long-standing state statute.

Online education platform Coursera has been banned in Minnesota because it did not obtain the state’s permission to operate within its borders.

For Coursera, the Minnesota statute in question is intended to protect Minnesota residents from second-rate degree-granting programs. But despite Coursera’s partnerships with established universities including Caltech, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, the state’s order has forced the education start-up, which offers free video lectures of university courses, to update its Terms of Service to now include the following statement:

If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.

“It’s unfortunate that we can’t serve everyone that we’d like to yet,” Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng said in an interview. “I think the law applies to our partner universities and not Coursera necessarily, but we’re in a position that we need to protect our partner universities as well.” [read]


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