Pelotonu Announces National Expansion To Provide A Path For Today’s Students To Earn A College Degree
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Austin-based PelotonU, which combines college on-demand with personalized coaching to help post-traditional students earn their degree, today announced plans for national expansion as part of its new strategic plan. Following a national pilot that launched in September 2020, PelotonU will now offer its virtual coaching to students across the country – prioritizing education deserts and equity gaps for historically marginalized populations.
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Post-traditional students represent 74 percent of all college students and are five times less likely to graduate than their peers because of their varying responsibilities. Students who are parents or have a family to look after, work full time or have other critical responsibilities don’t fit within the fixed structure of most higher education institutions. The model used by PelotonU, called a hybrid college, redesigns postsecondary education from the ground up by pairing affordable, self-paced degree programs with a trained coach who forges a trusting relationship with students while helping them navigate through college. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, PelotonU found an unexpected opportunity when the program was redesigned to serve students in a fully virtual environment.
“We thought our coaching had to be done in-person to be effective, but in the early months of the pandemic, we learned that virtual coaching was just as powerful,” said Sarah Saxton-Frump, PelotonU co-founder and chief operating officer. “That early success in Austin led to a pilot with partners in Cincinnati and New York that further proved PelotonU’s ability to virtually serve the students who stand to benefit the most from the economic mobility a college degree affords.”
Since 2012, PelotonU has evolved its program to ensure working adults have the flexibility and support to earn their degree. The model has likewise grown, leading to the launch of the Hybrid College Network earlier this year, which includes PelotonU and 14 other nonprofit organizations serving a cumulative 3,100 students. Central to the hybrid college model are competency-based, online degree pathways in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University and other accredited nonprofit colleges purpose-built for an online learning environment.
“PelotonU is uniquely positioned to expand our proven model to working adults around the country, and we have ambitious goals to grow from 425 students starting our program in 2022 to 1,275 new students by 2024,” said Hudson Baird, founder and executive director of PelotonU. “Our student outcomes are leading the industry and will allow these graduates to avoid over $30 million in college loans. This national expansion will support our long-term goal of providing a pathway for any student to earn a college degree and build a better future for their families.”
To date, PelotonU has served more than 350 students and celebrated over 115 degrees earned, including 25 bachelor’s degrees and 89 associate degrees. The PelotonU student population includes:
- 26 average age at start
- 86% are students of color
- 48% are parents
- 52% have tried college before
- 80% are the first in their family to graduate (first generation)
PelotonU also announced this month, in partnership with Western Governors University, the launch of two new IT degree tracks, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity, which reflect one of the fastest-growing segments of the modern workforce. Recruitment has started now for the first cohort, and classes will begin in November.
Additionally, the organization launched a new brand and website as part of its efforts to further connect with and enroll post-traditional students. Historically, this population of students has not had the opportunity, resources or a viable path to earn a college degree.
For more information on PelotonU and its hybrid college model, visit PelotonU.org.
PelotonU transforms college for post-traditional students with jobs and families. We believe any student can succeed with affordable, flexible college on-demand plus personalized coaching support. All it takes is the right team.
Today’s college students have grown-up lives and responsibilities. That’s why we’ve reimagined the path to a college degree, making college affordable, flexible, and supported for students with jobs and families. When college is designed for grown-ups, we all win.
Learn more about how anyone can earn a college degree without putting life on hold at PelotonU.org.