NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Campus.edu, the company transforming higher education by making community college accessible across the country, announced it has opened enrollment with $29 million in funding from Discord founder Jason Citron; OpenAI founder Sam Altman; Figma founder Dylan Field; former head of Stripe Issuing Lachy Groom; Bloomberg Beta; Founders Fund; Rethink Education; Reach Capital and Precursor Ventures among other investors.
Campus is an accredited college offering live online and in-person associate degrees and certificate programs. Unlike most traditional community colleges, its online degree programs, dubbed Campus Scholars programs, are taught by a network of professors who also teach at leading universities and HBCUs, such as Princeton, Spelman, NYU and Vanderbilt. Tuition for these programs is offered at less than the maximum Pell Grant award, enabling many students to forgo out-of-pocket tuition expenses. Inspired by CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), every student is given the resources needed to ensure their academic success, including a free laptop, free WiFi, unlimited tutoring and individual support coaches. For faculty, Campus provides an opportunity to supplement existing teaching income — the average Campus professor has increased their annual income by 20 percent.
“Campus is about maximizing access to world-class education regardless of one’s background or household income. We’re making higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more relevant to the real-world challenges and opportunities that students face today,” said Tade Oyerinde, Founder and Chancellor of Campus, and the first Black 29-year-old college dropout to become Chancellor of a college.
For more than a century, the four-year college degree has been vaunted as an effective means to achieve the American dream. But escalating tuition costs have surpassed average household income — pushing students into debt for the privilege of attending, and leaving them paying off loans for decades. There have been growing calls for alternatives that better equip students with the skills they need. Yet once-promising online programs like massive open online courses (MOOCs) have completion rates of less than 5 percent. Traditional community colleges, too, do not fully address students’ needs; less than half of students from these institutions complete their 2-year degree within six years.
“Campus provides a unique opportunity to democratize top-tier education for students who might not otherwise have access,” said Campus professor Steven Kelts, who also teaches politics at Princeton. “Campus is not only extending an important opportunity to students who need it, it’s also offering better employment options for the adjunct faculty community.”
Campus has about 850 students enrolled today. More than 80 percent of Campus students are female, and many are from underrepresented populations. Most Campus students also work at least 10 hours a week.
"As an immigrant and first-generation college student trying to launch my career, I didn’t expect to find a path to a college degree that fit my needs and goals, but Campus has made it a reality for me,” said Campus student Josephine L.
Last year, Campus acquired MTI College, a Sacramento-based college that was founded in 1965, with approval from its accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). It will use the remainder of its $29 million to invest in its technology platform; recruit and retain professors; and further support its offerings to students.
“Higher education has failed to serve too many students for far too long,” said Jason Citron, CEO and founder of Discord. “I dropped out of my local college after one semester because the curriculum wasn't engaging for me. Fortunately, I was able to transfer to an alternative school, but even my experience is yet another example that the traditional higher ed experience is not for everyone. I’m excited to support the Campus team as they reimagine solutions that fit students’ actual learning needs and equip them to succeed, while trying to eliminate debt for students.”
As part of the launch, Campus also announced the appointment of a distinguished Board of Trustees, which includes Dr. Arthur Levine, President Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University; Dr. Eduardo Padrón, President Emeritus, Miami Dade College; Dr. Gail O. Mellow, former President, LaGuardia Community College; Dr. Joe May, Chancellor Emeritus, Dallas College; and Dr. John Wilson, former President, Morehouse College. Ralph Wolff, former President, WASC Senior College and University Commission, will serve as board secretary.
Oyerinde, who dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering degree after starting his first company, previously founded Campuswire — a leading online learning platform used by students and professors from over 300 universities — which inspired him to build Campus. Oyerinde comes from a long line of educators and has firsthand experience with online education, having been homeschooled online from 1st through 8th grade.
He added, “A great education — one filled with inspirational professors, fellow students you can learn from, and a cadre of supportive advisors — is a critical (but missing) stepping stone for all too many young Americans to get to build the lives they want for themselves. Campus blends the best parts of traditional and online education, and combines that with the skills and support that today's students want and need.”
Campus.edu is the new, online alternative to traditional community college built for students who are considering community college but wish they had more accessible high-quality options for starting their education. Campus delivers live classes with top tier professors from leading universities, all while minimizing out-of-pocket costs to students. With wraparound support through dedicated advisors, live office hours, and free coaching services, Campus blends the best parts of traditional and online education, and combines that with the skills and support needed to ensure every student’s academic success. To learn more, visit campus.edu.