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Hey - let's talk.

Let’s talk about Higher Ed. Let’s talk about Skills Fund.

Take a look at the last five years in higher education. After attending college (more than likely a $150,000 hole in your pocket), you’re either (a) going to a middle-of-the-road job with no career advancement in sight, (b) forcing yourself into a back-breaking internship to get where you need to “be”, or (c) realizing that you need to attend another two, four, or even eight years to obtain the “level of education” you need – whether it’s a Doctorate or a Masters or a series of certifications. To put it simply: It’s really, really expensive street cred.

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Skills Fund was born about two years ago, when two higher-ed academics and alumnus – Rick and Joseph – realized that the industry is becoming more and more broken. You’ve probably seen it for yourself: students are constantly graduating, getting their diplomas, and then dropped into the beginning of adulthood with no game plan. It’s scary. Terrifying, even. This isn’t the way it should be – and Skills Fund was created to help fix it.

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I’d like to jump in here and use myself as an example. I went to, and graduated from, a four year college – because at that time, there were no other viable alternatives for me, and let’s be honest: There was no way my parents were going to let me into society at 18 years old without a few more years of education (and growing up) under my belt.

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The year was 2010. What should I study? Psychology. Perfect. I wanted to analyze people, diagnose them, and fix them. It sounded really rewarding and interesting. I tacked on Studio Art as a side note double major, because why not? I loved graphic design and I was good at it.

I soon realized that in order to diagnose people, I had to attend a lot lot lot more school, and that was so expensive. Quickly that dream faded, and I turned to graphic design. The art program at my college was lackluster, despite driven professors and state-of-the-art equipment. I learned how to do letterpress and typography and sculpture and drawing. There was ONE web design program offered per year. I took it, and it consisted of creating website mockups in Photoshop. My favorite course was in my senior year, and it was about Latin American women artists.

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Why am I telling you all of this? Because I’m a decent example of the broken higher ed system. I learned so many fun things, but nothing applicable to real-life, tangible skills. I was lucky enough to get one of my professors to write me a letter of recommendation for an internship before my senior year of school. That internship was my lifeboat when I went to apply for jobs after college, because I had something on my resume. I saw so many of my fellow students leave college with NO job and NO idea of where they were going. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. It’s a shame. The higher-ed system is a house of cards, and it's already started to fall.

Had there been an option for me, I would have absolutely considered an accelerated learning program instead of college. Or after college. Or even during college to supplement my knowledge.

I work in marketing now. I find myself having self-taught so many skills. I’m a patient person, and I love learning, but there has to be a better way than googling tutorials and attending expensive conferences.

For the first time in higher education, schools have formed curriculum that matches the pace of labor demands and technology advancement.

Introducing: The Bootcamp. This is so exciting. We’re breaking the mold and giving students access to skills and careers quickly and at a smaller cost.

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As with any revolutionary idea, there were (and are) skeptics, and rightfully so. Who’s regulating the bootcamps? Who is in control of monitoring their curriculum, making sure they’re qualified, and measuring their student outcomes? Skills Fund is committed to performing due-diligence on every bootcamp we potentially partner with to ensure that they supply a positive Return on Education (RoE). If they don’t meet our standards, we won’t partner with them. Simple as that.

You’re probably thinking – OK. But Skills Fund is just a student loan company…?

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ANSWER #1

We’re more than that. We’re on a mission to revolutionize higher ed and fix the broken system by providing as many students as possible with a high-quality, outcomes-driven skills education that meets the labor demands of the current tech world. We jumpstarted the CIRR initiative, which is a coalition of bootcamp schools (40 and counting) who annually release their outcomes data (think student salaries, job placement rates, etc.) in a clear and apples-to-apples format. No marketing trickery allowed.

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ANSWER #2

Skills Fund is a students-first financing platform. We offer transparent rates - they’re posted on our partnership websites for all to see. You’re able to view your monthly payment before applying. We promise to never do a bait-and-switch on you to make you pay a higher rate. We encourage students to apply for financing without a cosigner first – because your future is your decision, and you should be in control. (Not to mention the benefit of healthy credit from taking out a loan and making on-time payments.)

Skills Fund is just getting started. We’re a team of mission-driven patriots, who work tirelessly to ensure schools, quality assurance entities, and lenders all have skin in the game when it comes to a student's success.

I'd like to hear from you. Do you need advice on what life step to take next? Are you thinking about attending a bootcamp? Do you want to chat about Latin American artists? Let me know in the comments below, or email me at corinne@skills.fund.