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Burton Memorial Tower at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty

At a time technologists are stressing that, to stay employed, workers need to keep learning their whole lives, the graduate business school at the University of Michigan is offering alumni lifetime rights to return for refresher classes for free.

Quick take: The idea of the "open loop university," as it's called, was conceived two years ago at Stanford University. Rather than a traditional degree consisting of four consecutive years after high school, students can accumulate six years of Stanford classes as it suits them and their career throughout their lives.

  • That's different from Michigan, where MBA grads can return for any executive-level program course tuition free as long as they live. "It's a lifetime partnership between the university and the person. We can help them retool before their job is destroyed," Scott DeRue, dean of the business school, tells Axios.
  • "I worry about people in their 40s and 50s," DeRue said. "We've tooled these folks with certain capabilities. Re-tooling isn't easy."

Bottom line: Open-loop seems likely to become a trend in order to cope with the massive disruption of changing technology, demographics and globalization. "Universities are thinking how they can serve people across their lifetime as the future of work evolves," DeRue said.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

500 Hong Kong police officers raid pro-democracy newspaper

Chief Operations Officer Chow Tat Kuen (front 2nd R) is escorted by police from the Apple Daily newspaper offices before being put into a waiting vehicle in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said 500 police officers searched the pro-democracy newspaper's offices and arrested five senior executives on Thursday.

Why it matters: The arrests of the paper's chief editor, Ryan Law, along with its chief operating officer, two other editors and the CEO of Next Digital, which operates Apple Daily, were made under China's national security law — which gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom.

World Bank rejects El Salvador's request to help implement bitcoin

President Nayib Bukele, giving a speech in El Salvador's legislative assembly in San Salvado earlier this month, pushed for bitcoin to become legal tender. Photo: Emerson Flores/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

The World Bank has rejected the government of El Salvador's request to help the country implement Bitcoin as legal tender, Reuters first reported late Wednesday.

Why it matters: The international lender's rejection could hamper the government's goal of making the digital currency accepted across the country within three months.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

China launches first astronauts to new space station

The manned Shenzhou-12 spacecraft from China's Manned Space Agency onboard the Long March-2F rocket launches at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, on Thursday morning Beijing time. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China's Shenzhou 12 mission carrying three astronauts launched into orbit on Thursday morning Beijing time.

Why it matters: Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo are set to occupy China's new space station. This will be the country's longest crewed space mission ever and the first in almost five years.