We founded Upstart based on a simple idea: that access to capital on fair and reasonable terms is fundamental to building a successful and rewarding career. So, we’re excited to announce partnerships with General Assembly, Launch Academy, Starter School, Metis, Code Fellows, and Coder Camps, to allow their students to use Upstart to finance their education. While 7 of 10 published upstarts fund successfully on our platform, these partnerships take it one step further, assuring students admitted into one of our partner programs they will be able to raise their tuition amount on Upstart.
Why we think this is cool
Higher education is under a microscope right now. Why are college costs increasing so dramatically? Are grads gaining the skills they need to compete in a global economy? Is a college degree still a good investment? While the debate rages on, the seeds of change and disruption are being sown far away from leafy college campuses, in simpler classroom settings where innovative curricula and teaching methods are focused on giving students the skills they need for the 21st century economy.
According to the National Science Foundation, more than 1.4 millions jobs will be created by 2020 that require programming skills. And today, those jobs have an average salary of about $80,000. So it’s heartening to see innovators and entrepreneurs jump in to help people gain the skills necessary to participate in this lucrative and growing part of the economy. These “bootcamps” will take you from beginner to a capable developer, qualified as a junior software engineer in 9-12 weeks. In the last two years alone, more than 30 coding bootcamps have launched in cities across the US.
In a recent post titled “Disrupting the diploma”, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman suggests, “there are an expanding number of ways to acquire specific skills and knowledge faster and less expensively than one can manage through a traditional four-year degree program.” And our coding school partners are leading the way. In just a few months, for a relatively affordable amount of money, these programs provide skills that result in a significant increase in graduate earnings. These schools carefully track employment rates and starting salaries because this is how they compete.
In the last couple of months, we noticed people applying to Upstart to pay for coding schools. It makes sense, because unlike traditional colleges, students attending these schools are not eligible for government student loans, leaving them to borrow from friends and family or to rely on (gulp) credits cards to fund their coursework. Now there’s a better way.
How it works
Students seeking funds for our partner schools will create profiles like all upstarts do, but will display badges that identify them as accepted to a particular partner school. Each has the chance to receive offers from Upstart backers during the normal 60 day funding period. However, should their offers during the funding period amount to less than the tuition amount from our partner school and, provided they are still enrolled in their course, we’ll fund the remaining amount from Upstart Network funds , which come from individuals or institutions investing on our platform. In this way, upstarts who are learning to code can be confident that they’ll have the money they need for tuition, but can also benefit from experienced backers who can advise or help them on their way once the course is complete.
“A” for accountability
Efficient and innovative learning programs to develop skills critical for 21st century employment, funded by agreements where you repay only when you earn. This is what disruption looks like.