When I first met my wife, I saw a person filled with tremendous talent and potential. But because she was carrying over $100,000 in student loans without attaining a bachelor’s degree (she left school early due to financial hardship), the main thing she saw in her future was the weight of her debt.
She had constant anxiety that this was a burden she would carry for the rest of her life, because student debt is the only debt in the Unites States that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, so it will never leave you.
The burden of attending traditional four-year institutions weighs on entire families for years, as loans are now extending beyond the students themselves, to parents and grandparents as well. The pace at which the loan system has spun out of control is staggering — since 1985, college tuition has risen 538%, and is predicted to rise to costs of over $130,000 per year by 2030. This increase year over year is simply not sustainable.
What’s even more frustrating is that students are taking on this nearly insurmountable debt and leaving college completely unprepared for the realities of today’s economy and job market. The traditional idea of college as the pathway to secure a successful career is also no longer the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, as students are cast into job application pools with little to no valuable work experience, and none of the hard and soft skills that are most important to today’s top employers.
The bottom line is that students are spending four or more years studying material that is barely applicable to the needs of today’s employers or the problems they would face on the job.
These current trends are only predicted to get worse in the coming years, as growth rates predict the average student borrower will graduate with more than $50,000 of debt by 2020.
What I found most ironic as I was researching this issue is that college is the one institution that is meant to enable economic mobility, yet it is actually creating a larger and larger divide in this country.
These challenges of our future rose again in my mind when my wife and I were recently blessed with twins. If tuitions continue to rise as predicted, I can only imagine what traditional colleges will cost when my children graduate from high school or the children of my co-founder Mike Adams.
Today we are launching MissionU, a college alternative for the 21st century that prepares students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, debt-free.
We’ve reimagined what a modern institution of higher education would look like to meet the needs of today, and couldn’t be more excited to start taking applications immediately.
In our one year program, classes are targeted and efficient, focusing on the skills that students need to be successful. We charge $0 in upfront tuition and instead receive 15% of student income for three years only after students receive successful jobs that pay $50,000 or more. We don’t get paid until students do, because that’s how we fundamentally believe college should work.
We ensure that our year long program is as effective as possible in training students for in-demand jobs, and have partnered with today’s top companies, including Spotify, Warby Parker, Lyft, Uber and many others to calibrate our curriculum to the needs of leading companies and high-growth industries.
The simple truth is that the current system is unsustainable and those entering today’s workforce deserve better. 91% of freshman say they attend college to get a better job, but the debt and anxiety that weighs on students and their families does not have to happen along the way. Other options need to exist, and as of today a new one does.
Apply today at www.missionu.com
Originally published at medium.com