PelotonU | Rethinking College
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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

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.

 

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. The program provides students flexibility to study on their own time, opportunity to avoid debt, and exposure to experiences outside the classroom to facilitate ongoing learning. Students study at the PelotonU office located in Center61 and receive a scholarship to offset their tuition. They graduate with a clear plan to pursue their vocation. Here’s our approach:

learn-icon  Online Ed

PelotonU partners with regionally-accredited and competency-based online universities. These programs offer students additional flexibility and improved academic outcomes.

work-icon  Community

Students work with one of our full-time mentors who provide accountability and personal development. They also study alongside peers at our office where they receive additional tutoring.

live-icon  Part-Time Work

Students work part-time. In addition, they’re taught a two year supplemental curriculum to ensure they graduate with work ready skills. In their second year they identify a local apprenticeship.

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We’ll send you a monthly newsletter with updates on our students.

Admissions

Welcome! We’re now accepting applications for our October class.

Our team is dedicated to making sure you graduate on-time with minimal 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

application-process

Begin Your Application

The average college student graduates with $25,000 in debt.

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 Mentorship

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.

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.

Sam Whiteside

Advisory Board Member

Sam Whiteside is an entrepreneur whose passion is helping others achieve their professional goals.  An advisor from the launch PelotonU, Sam has founded and sold multiple Austin companies and is now focused on growing Thomas Allen Real Estate Advisors, a commercial real estate firm focused on healthcare professionals.

James Hart

Advisory Board Member

James worked with PelotonU for over a year as the Director of Mentorship. Originally from San Antonio, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Liberty University, a leading online program. He spent four years in the Navy leading a team before earning his Master’s degree through another online program. James is married to Angela and they have two children, Josh and Noelle.

Dana Zichlin

Advisory Board Member

Dana supervises volunteer engagement for PelotonU. Before moving to Austin she spent three years as Country Director in Guatemala for Manna Project International. In this capacity she managed annual residential teams with a $50,000 annual budget and supervised over one hundred yearly volunteers.

7.8% of full-time Associate’s students graduate in three years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What colleges do you work with?

We only offer scholarships for colleges that are both regionally-accredited and competency-based. At the moment, the two we endorse are Western Governors University 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.

Jobs now require workers who possess proficiency in 21st-century skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and technology.

News

Online enrollment is growing annually at 12.9%.

Donate

Your generosity provides hard working college students debt-free education and a dedicated mentor.

PelotonU provides scholarships and additional support for hard working college students. 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.

Operational expenses are covered by local supporters to ensure the entirety of your donation pays for student education. We need your support to provide this opportunity to more students in Central Texas. Even $10 makes a big difference. Here’s some key needs:

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