AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Skills Fund, a student financing and quality assurance platform for coding and data science programs, announced today it raised $11.5 million in seed capital to issue loans to students of leading high-quality accelerated learning programs.
Select launch partners include Dev Bootcamp, Metis, Galvanize, Hackbright Academy, CodeU, and Sabio. In partnering with high-quality programs that target diverse student populations, Skills Fund will accelerate bootcamp industry growth and student access to skills training for millions of high-paying, unfilled tech jobs in America.
“The only way to guarantee successful student outcomes is for all stakeholders – lenders, accelerated learning programs, and quality assurance entities – to share in the risk when students invest their time and money in education,” said Rick O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Skills Fund. “By only partnering with bootcamps on whom we’ve performed due diligence on their quality and outcomes, providing students full transparency in annual percentage rate of their loan before applying, and tying all stakeholder’s financial success to that of students, Skills Fund is supporting a revolution of higher education quality and student loans.”
The Department of Education’s recent announcement of the Educational Quality and Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) initiative reinforces the need to enable access to skills education for a diverse set of Americans and perform program and outcome quality assurance. Skills Fund is positioned to do both.
O’Donnell is the former chief of all consumer protection agencies in Colorado as well as the former secretary of higher education in the state of Colorado. He currently serves on the federal advisory committee overseeing college accreditation agencies.
Iowa Student Loan, a nonprofit with $2.6 billion in active student loans, formed a strategic alliance with Skills Fund and provides a source of funding. Iowa Student Loan will also provide customer service for Skills Fund loans through its subsidiary, Aspire Resources Inc.
“We’re excited for the opportunities this alliance with Skills Fund will create for software engineers,” said Steve McCullough, Iowa Student Loan president and CEO. “By ensuring access to funding for accelerated learning programs we’re helping boost their earnings potential and fill high-need jobs, benefitting economic growth.”
Partner accelerated learning programs are located throughout the United States, and are focused on promoting access for a diversity of students.
“Our mission at Galvanize is to provide learners of all backgrounds with access to new skills and amazing job opportunities. Our new partnership with Skills Fund provides Galvanize students with a simple, hassle-free way to fund their education,” said Jim Deters, CEO and co-founder of Galvanize. “Together, Galvanize and Skills Fund are changing the future of education and making transformative opportunities accessible to anyone. We're excited to work with them and have their team on our Austin campus in 2016."
With the demand for coding and data science education rapidly increasing, bootcamp and lender partnerships solely focused on student access and post-graduation results have become critical.
“We partnered with Skills Fund because of our shared belief in developing enduring relationships with our students and broadening access to both the Dev Bootcamp and Metis immersive programs,” said Tarlin Ray, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Strategy for Dev Bootcamp and Metis. “Fostering a culture of inclusion and diversifying the technology sector have been at the core of our vision from the beginning, and Skills Fund allows us to further that mission with a breadth of financing options unique to Dev Bootcamp and Metis students.”
In partnership with bootcamps, student access will equate to a high-quality education, a means to obtain well paying jobs, and fulfilling urgent employer demand.
"Every year, we continue to provide passionate women with the software engineering skills that render them valuable players in the tech industry. Our partnership with Skills Fund allows for affordable financing options – paving the way to accessibility for more students, and helping us achieve impactful change in the industry even faster," said Paria Rajai, Director of Marketing for Hackbright Academy.
Austin-based Skills Fund is combining the functions of lender and quality assurance entity to align all financial incentives around student success.
ABOUT SKILLS FUND
Skills Fund: A student financing platform that facilitates the growth of high-quality, innovative higher education providers. How? First, we ensure that coding, data science, and other accelerated learning programs meet our quality standards, including strong graduate employment outcomes. Second, programs that meet those standards obtain access to competitive financing products for their students. In partnership with one of the largest nonprofits in the student loan industry, Skills Fund is combining the functions of lender and quality assurance entity to align all financial incentives around student success.