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…

Mission, Vision, & Values

VISION Our vision is that any student with the will and drive to graduate from college can earn a degree debt-free, regardless of geography or economics.   MISSION Our mission is to provide working students with a pathway and the support to graduate from college on-time and debt-free.   BELIEFS We believe every student should have access to a high-quality college education, but know that a Bachelor’s degree isn’t the only path to a fulfilling life aligned with their goals. We believe our students’ well-being is more important than our organizational outcomes. We believe hard work with the right supports…

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…

PelotonU’s Board Members

PelotonU has seven board members from the Austin community, including a current student. Our board plays an active role in strategy and governance as we continue improving our support for working college students in Austin and share those lessons with partners in communities outside Austin. Here are our current members, as of January 2017.   Mary Ellen Pietruszynski Executive Director, Sooch Foundation A former teacher and attorney, her work with the Sooch Foundation alongside area non-profits provides important insights into best practices for nonprofit governance and operations. Mary Ellen also serves on the Austin Opportunity Youth Steering Committee and is active…

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…

Who Do You Serve First?

Teddy Roosevelt famously once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” For a start up like us, this triggered an important question in the early stages of forming our higher education non-profit. What can we actually do right now with what we have? In short: with limited staff, money and time to demonstrate our viability, let’s serve students with the smallest barriers to college now so we can serve students with more complex barriers later. Early in our formation, we tried to achieve our mission of helping working students graduate from college on-time and debt-free in a…

A Crash Course in PelotonU

We’re PelotonU, a higher-education non-profit and scrappy start-up based in Austin, TX. Here’s what we do, why we do it and what keeps us up at night. The Problem In Central Texas, 4,000 students start and drop out of college every year — that’s before you even count the 30% of local high school graduates (around 4,200 students) who intend to enroll in college and never do. Locally, only 28% of of high school graduates earn a certificate, Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in six years. If you come from a low-income family, that number drops to 12% for ANY credential — we’re not even talking…

Community College For All?

Community colleges are a crucial part of the higher education landscape. With nearly 1,000 institutions and over thirteen million students, they have an important mandate and offer a variety of affordable educational pathways for students, and especially for low-income learners. Unfortunately, President Obama’s free community college proposal misses the mark: it provides a solution to the wrong question, because tuition isn’t the problem. Tuition and student debt have both risen significantly over the past decade, but the majority of this increase has been at four year universities and for-profit colleges. Prices have risen more modestly at community colleges and Pell…