PelotonU | Rethinking College

About PelotonU

pel·o·ton /ˈpeləˌtän / noun: A peloton is a group working in unison to help one another achieve a goal that would be impossible individually

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The Problem

Each year over a quarter of a million students graduate from Texas public high schools. Of these, less than 30% enroll in four-year colleges. More than half of freshmen who enroll never graduate, and those who do carry an average debt of $25,000 before interest. At the same time, 90% of the fastest growing jobs in Texas require post-secondary education.

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What We Do

Since 2012, PelotonU has offered a higher education pathway for hard working college students that blends online education and in person mentorship. Based in Austin, the program provides students flexibility to study on their own time, opportunity to avoid debt, and exposure to experiences outside the classroom. Students study at the PelotonU office located in Vessel and receive a scholarship to offset their tuition. They graduate with a clear plan to pursue their vocation. Here’s our approach:

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learn-icon  Online Education

PelotonU partners with regionally-accredited and competency-based online universities. Students decide when to study and take one class at a time.

work-icon  In-Person Support

Students study in a community environment alongside a full-time mentor and group of peers. This provides tutoring and life skills as they are needed.

Community Partners

Apply to PelotonU

Welcome! We are now accepting applications for our July class.

Our team is dedicated to making sure you graduate on-time with no debt. Before you apply, remember PelotonU works exclusively with online universities. Online education, in contrast to a traditional classroom, is self-paced. This means successful students are self-motivated and independent learners. See if that’s you.

After you apply our team goes through two steps to determine eligibility. The first step is a phone interview where we explain the program and review answers from the application. Second, we invite students to the office for an in person interview. Students who complete the interview process are invited to join provisional enrollment. This two month period uses Khan Academy to teach math and introduce the necessary skills for online learning. Successful completion of provisional enrollment results in full admission to the program.

 

If you believe PelotonU can equip you to finish college, please complete the application below.

Process

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Begin Your Application     or   Request More Info

Our Team

Staff

Hudson Baird

Executive Director

An Austin native, Hudson graduated with a degree in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University and earned a Certificate of Journalism through an online program at the University of Massachusetts. Before PelotonU he co-founded a political advocacy startup and lived in Guatemala to help launch a rural community development organization.

Sarah Saxton-Frump

Director of College Completion

Sarah graduated from Brown University in 2007 and received her Master’s in Educational Administration in 2013. Sarah served for five years at KIPP: Austin Collegiate as a high school social studies teacher, 9th grade team leader, assistant principal and principal. Prior to KIPP, she was a 2007 Rio Grande Valley corps member with Teach for America where she taught 9th World Geography and 10th World History.

Advisory Board

Rex Gore

Founder & Board Member

A long-time entrepreneur and small business owner, Rex has managed a variety of businesses and spearheaded numerous charitable initiatives. After developing an education program for his employees, Rex determined to create a program which would help motivated students succeed in higher education. Rex and Deb, his wife of 28 years, have two sons.

Kirk Golinghorst

Board Member

An Iowa native, Kirk has built a career in business operations working extensively with immigrant populations.  Currently the Vice-President for Operations at Professional Janitorial Services, he has seen alternative pathways to higher education effectively support the pursuit of the American Dream.  Kirk has a BS from Iowa State and MBA from Acton School of Business.

Candice DePrang Boehm

Advisory Board Chair

Candice, a graduate of the University of Texas, began her career at the Texas Capitol before joining Teach for America in 2007. After TFA, Candice was selected as a fellow at the Political Action Leadership Initiative before returning to Austin to lobby for education issues at the campus, district, and state level. She also volunteers with Austin Partners in Education and Austin Kids First.

Kathryn Gonzales

Advisory Board Member

Kathryn is a native Austinite whose passion for storytelling and startups led her to launch a family history service called Live Oak Legacies in the Fall of 2013. Following graduation from UT-Austin, she pursued a career working in product and brand management in New York. When not helping families preserve their memories, she enjoys hiking, cooking and volunteering for Girls on the Run and Meals on Wheels.

Robin & Taylor Bruce

Advisory Board Members

Robin and Taylor Bruce are insightful leaders in Austin’s creative economy. Taylor, the publisher of Wildsam Field Guides, curates stories that showcase the character and personality of cities around the world.  Robin, the CEO of the Acton MBA program, develops entrepreneurs and curates the community of support around new ventures in Austin.

Mark Hand

Advisory Board Member

Mark Hand is an Entrepreneurship Fellow at Saïd Business School. He cofounded the SBS Seed Fund, a fund that invests in startups launched at Oxford University. Previously, Mark was an Associate at First Light Ventures where they invested more than $2.5 million in twenty-six startups with a social or environmental purpose. Mark has a BA from Vanderbilt and an MBA from Saïd.

Austin Dannhaus

Advisory Board Member

Austin started working in education as a third grade teacher in the D.C. metro area. Following his time in the classroom, he started an after school program and currently works with education organizations as a public policy and strategy consultant. Austin grew up near Houston, graduated from the University of Texas, and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Nearly 80% of students work while in college. PelotonU provides a pathway specifically for these students.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PelotonU’s vision and mission?

Our vision is that any student with the will and drive to graduate from college can earn a degree, regardless of geography or economics. Our mission is to increase college graduation rates for working adults by blending online education with in-person support. By 2020, we intend to support 1,000 students in Central Texas and share our model with 50 like-minded organizations.

What colleges do you work with?

We only offer scholarships for colleges that are both regionally-accredited and competency-based. At the moment, our three favorites are Western Governors University, College for America and Patten University.

What are the benefits of online education?

There’s three reasons we work with online universities. The first is that it’s flexible. Students learn as much from work as from school and we prioritize time to grow professionally as well as academically. Second, online education is personalized. Students are not constrained by class size or pace – they focus on the material that’s difficult and skim what they’ve already mastered. Last, online education facilitates professional growth. Research, self-management, and writing are all consistently reinforced for the online learner.

What is competency-based education?

Competency-based education is an alternative to traditional academic semesters where students learn at their own pace. Students take one class at a time so they can focus on mastering the material. Those who already know a subject can finish classes quicker and students who need remediation can take the time they need. This offers flexibility with each student’s work schedule and reinforces learning skills needed for many growing occupations. PelotonU’s mentors add additional structure and accountability onto each academic program.

What’s the fancy way of explaining what you do?

PelotonU combines personalized learning, mentoring, and workforce development to equip hardworking non-traditional students for college and career success. We partner with high-quality online universities that are regionally-accredited and competency-based to provide students a self-paced post-secondary education focused on accumulating knowledge and skills instead of credit hours. In parallel, students work with their peers and a dedicated mentor to develop the soft-skills and critical thinking essential for workplace success. We also provide students with learning opportunities aligned to workforce needs and last-dollar scholarships to alleviate the financial burden of higher education.

Jobs now require workers who are proficient in 21st-century skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and technology. PelotonU’s mentors reinforce these traits.

Donate

Your generosity provides hard-working college students the support to graduate from college.

PelotonU provides scholarships and mentorships for students who juggle college and work. Students are paired with a mentor who guides them during their educational journey. Mentors meet weekly with students, teach life skills seminars, and provide tutoring.

We operate on a 100% model. Operational expenses are covered by local supporters to ensure the entirety of your donation goes to our students. Even $10 makes a big difference. Here’s some key areas:

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Donate Today

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