Why We’re Different

Fostering Change in the Industry

In the U.S., getting a college degree is one of the most significant financial decisions that an individual will ever make.  Given its importance, families are willing to invest their life savings, and students are willing to mortgage their futures in order to pay for college.  This is reflected in the $1 trillion in student loans outstanding, which has surpassed both credit card debt and auto loans in the U.S (and shortly will surpass the total of both combined). Yet, as the cost of college continues to skyrocket and its importance continues to grow, the model for delivering education hasn’t changed much.  For the most part, the experience of school is the same as it has been for over a century:

  • Most students still sit in classrooms, where instructors lecture the entire class to all students and don’t necessarily distinguish between the varied backgrounds and knowledge that students have.
  • Students are assigned the same textbooks and course materials for each class.
  • The amount of time a students spends on each course is pre-determined by the school, and all students adhere to the same schedule, even if they could master concepts and progress more quickly.
  • Students who struggle to master concepts according to the pace set by the instructor are either failed or allowed to barely “pass” the class and move on to the next course without having the solid foundations that set them up for academic success.

We believe that there’s another way – and that higher education can be re-imagined, creatively and thoughtfully, to better address the needs of today’s students.  The good news is that the U.S. could dramatically increase the number of people who obtain a higher-education degree, if it applies innovation and the strategies of highly productive colleges and universities.  By making these best practices widely known, and by leading through example and sharing our learning along the way, we believe we can help foster change in the industry and demonstrate tangible initiatives that all higher education institutions could explore to lower costs and create access.