With $11M From NEA, Comcast & Others, Quad Learning Wants To Create A More Affordable Track To Top-Tier Degrees

Written By: Rip Emerson, Tech Crunch

“Higher education in the U.S. is a hot mess. For decades, funding for public universities and colleges has been in steady decline, which, as spending continued, led to rising institutional debt and eventually reductions in faculty, courses, programs — you name it. To make up the difference, institutions have been jacking up tuition rates to the point that the cost of a college degree is now virtually unaffordable. Not surprisingly, national student debt circles $1 trillion like a buzzard, as college graduation and enrollment rates continue to drop. Some have called it a “crisis,” and that would probably be understating it. Quad Learning launched this week on a mission to help ameliorate some of this pressure by helping to create more affordable pathways for students to a college degree. To do that, the Washington D.C.-based startup is partnering with the nation’s community colleges to help it build and scale “American Honors”, a program designed to help students at two-year institutions prepare for, transfer to (and, most importantly, graduate from) top four-year universities. By creating working relationships between community colleges and top public and private universities and providing two-year institutions with a variety of student and technology services, the program aims to help students earn a degree at 35 to 45 percent-lower cost than traditional four-year programs. The Community College of Spokane and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana are the first two campuses to pilot and launch American Honors programs, and, within the next five years, the startup will look to add an additional 30 to 40 institutions.”