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Post-Traditional Students in Central Texas

We’re lucky in Austin to have so many organizations and schools dedicated to ensuring that anyone who wants it can earn a college degree. And yet nearly 250,000 Austinites older than 25 have gone to college and dropped out. The purpose of this research was to better understand the experience of post-traditional college students in Central Texas, especially those supported by college access and completion programs. Below is a high level summary of our research and findings. For details and findings from student interviews see this report conducted by Austin Center for Design (AC4D). Background First, a definition.  Post-traditional students…

Wondering How to Submit a FAFSA?

If you’re able to submit a FAFSA, it can be well worth the effort! Here’s how: Go to this website to submit a FAFSA If you want to start college BEFORE July 1, 2018 submit the 2017-2018 FAFSA If you want to start college AFTER July 1, 2018, submit the 2018-2019 FAFSA  Make sure you save your FSA ID, Save Key, and any other log-in information in a safe place. You’ll need this information every year you submit this or make a correction. It’s very important! When you sit down to fill out the FAFSA make sure you have your…

2018 Academic Onboarding Start Dates

We have 10 cohorts starting PelotonU in 2018! Academic onboarding is the first four week trial period at PelotonU. This is when you learn the routines of online classes. Each week you’ll meet with your CCA, complete academic assignments, and spend time in our office. After successful completion of Academic Onboarding, you’ll enroll in college! Here are the official start dates for Academic Onboarding in 2018: February 5, 2018 March 5, 2018 April 2, 2018 May 7, 2018 June 4, 2018 July 9, 2018 August 6, 2018 September 4, 2018 October 9, 2018 November 5, 218 If you’re interested in joining…

The American Dream

This story is by Lakhpreet Kaur, founder and editor-and-chief of Kaur Life. “One of my dreams is to get an American higher education.” Qahtan Mustafa is an Iraqi refugee who, when immigrating to the United States in 2009, realized that his bachelor’s degree from Baghdad University was not recognized in the United States. So, Qahtan went hunting for a way to earn an American degree. But, he came away feeling that it was going to be a very difficult, if not impossible, endeavor. “I never found the resources that were suitable for me,” he said. Each time Qahtan looked into an…

Why Now?

We’re presenting our two year plan at Mission Capital on September 21st. You can find details and RSVP here. Here’s how we got here — I was between jobs. My first Austin startup had flopped and I was looking for a another chance to build a company. Then, on April 11 2012 an email from Rex Gore, one of my mentors, showed up on my inbox. It just said — Read Academically Adrift. I bought the book on Amazon and began reading. Here’s what I first noticed: The book nagged at me. College was supposed to be an economic equalizer, but what I…

Q2 2016: Students First

Over the weekend on Facebook, I noticed a picture from three years ago. It showed PelotonU’s third enrollment party — back before Sarah, Khan, or our office — when we gathered with 6 new students on the roof of Whole Foods to celebrate their college aspirations. A lot has changed since then. We stopped offering housing, became co-ed, lifted the age cap,and began working with College for America (CFA). What’s remained consistent is that when we make decisions, students come first. Our first priority is to be accountable to you — for finances, student support, communications, and community. You are our most important stakeholder, and it’s in…

A History of Gratefulness at PelotonU

I was at a birthday party last Sunday for Zoe, a friend who has been instrumental in PelotonU’s growth. As she blew out the candles, I looked around and realized her twenty guests were strangers two years ago, and now we were friends. At some point, nearly every guest had taken a meeting, made an introduction, shot down an idea, or listened to my fears — and I had done the same for them. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it this far. For PelotonU to come this far we needed each of them, because it takes a village to build a…

PelotonU 2015 Q3 Update

It’s a rainy Saturday in November, and I’m sitting at the office wondering which story to tell. On the one hand, we’ve made more progress in the past three months than in the previous six. We doubled in size, exceeded our Q2 metrics on every indicator, partnered with two top online universities, built a student-focused website, and moved into our first office. On the other hand, we’re also in a season of reflection. Our team is convinced — more so than ever before — that working students need a better way to earn their degree, and our approach is the most effective and affordable…

Gaby’s Story

Gaby ignored her Breakthrough Austin advisor, Byron, for a long time. She was sure that her plan to get certified as a Medical Assistant through Southern Careers Institute was the right path for her, so when Byron first told her about PelotonU, she wasn’t interested. “I thought I had a good plan in place, that I was on the track I wanted.” But as her teachers quit and the $700 per month tuition caught up to her, Gaby began to reconsider. “I realized I wasn’t getting a good education at Southern Careers — especially not for how much I was paying. Plus,…

PelotonU 2015 Q2 Update

We have spent the past year developing a more nuanced understanding of the students we can effectively serve, building and replicating high-quality support, and mapping the path to greater impact and financial sustainability. Here’s our first report from the field. Want to help us continue providing hard-working adults in Central Texas a pathway t o a college degree? Contribute towards our work or suggest PelotonU to a local employer. Details on both options below. As you can see, we are well on our way and picking up steam. Key Performance Indicators 18 students This includes nine students enrolled in college and nine who…