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In the era of Betsy DeVos, this school wants to remain accountable

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Recent news in the United States state that Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education of the Trump Administration, wants to ditch a ruling put in place by the Obama Administration, and that required for-profit schools to disclose the figures regarding the percentage of their graduates who, after finishing their studies, managed to secure ‘gainful employment’.

While this might sound like strange terminology, ‘gainful employment’ is quite simple to explain: it refers to having an income that is in line with the student debt accumulated by the students. Or, in other words, an income that allows them to pay their student debt and life an otherwise comfortable life.

As one would expect, reactions to the DeVos’ intentions are somewhat aligned with the political views of each individual – however, there is at least one for-profit college that actually wants to keep divulging their figures which, by the looks of it, are actually astounding.

That college is Holberton School, which started in San Francisco (CA) and has now a second location in New Haven (CT), and offers a two-year disruptive software engineering curriculum which is based in project development and peer learning. This is a school revolutionary in several fronts, starting in the way its tuition system works, to the advocacy the school does in having women and tech, amongst other important aspects.

In Holberton School, students can decide how to pay their tuition, with two models to choose from. The first is a pretty standard full upfront payment, clocking at $85,000 for the two years of education. But the innovation really is in the second option, which has no upfront payments at all – students pay only when they find a job (with 17% of their salary), and only if it is a job making over $40,000 per year.

Holberton’s model is really paying off, which is proved by the jobs landed by their graduates. In fact, they are getting employment at top-tier companies, such as Apple, NASA, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox or Tesla, just to name a few.

This school focuses on a field that will, almost for sure, land its students a job after their graduation. This happens because it directs people towards a field that has a huge and increasing demand for professionals, who are mostly not available, as there is a shortage of these professionals.

Anyone wanting to pursue a career in the tech industry definitely has a strong option on Holberton School, regardless of their gender or financial condition – everyone has a chance to make it with this study program. Students learn so well that a few of them actually open their own businesses, instead of working for other tech companies, which is a clear sign of just how well Holberton School prepares its students.

The success is really so huge that they do not have any reason as to why withhold the information regarding how well their students do after finishing their program – in fact, they want to keep doing, despite DeVos’ intentions to revoke the ruling put in place by the previous Administration.

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Joseph Eckert
Joseph Eckert is a long-time tech professional and consultant helping launch companies like Canonical, LogMeIn and Qumranet as well as drive exits for open source, cloud and big data startups. He helped launch Holberton School in 2015.

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