Graduate Debt-Free and With a Good Job? This School Flips the Script on Traditional Education

Even though Masa Bando had been accepted to MIT, he deferred admission to attend Make School. One month before graduating Bando landed a job with a salary of $90K, without any student loan debt. 

From Fast Company

One month shy of officially finishing Make School’s course—which included iOS,Ruby on Rails, and web development—Bando’s preliminary job hunt yielded an offer for a software engineering position at Papaly, a social bookmarking startup, at a salary just north of $90,000…

For Ashu Desai, a cofounder of Make School, Bando’s story validates a long-held belief that computer-science degrees from traditional universities may not be the best path into a highly competitive job market in this sector…

Make School’s 50 open slots aren’t easy to snag and require that prospective students have some programming experience. Yet even with a two-year program—which Desai points out also includes theory and communication courses, as well as coding and developing practice—Make School isn’t accredited (yet) to give an associate’s degree. That sort of bridge diploma is offered by many technical colleges that focus on teaching students practical skills needed to get jobs in health care or manufacturing, for example, or to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree…

But why invest the money in higher education if there is no guarantee a company will hire you? College tuition is rising faster than inflation, according to a Bloomberg report. The total amount borrowed by all students currently tops $106 billion, and the average student debt for the class of 2013 was over $28,000.

In contrast, students at Make School pay tuition through their internship earnings and 25% of their earnings in the first two years on the job. If the employer pays a placement fee, that percentage is reduced. There is no official dorm, but Make School is working with a housing partner to place students who don’t live in the Bay Area with peer roommates. This isn’t free, but part-time contract work is available in the second term to cover part of those expenses. Teaching a Summer Academy class can also be used toward payment of living expenses.

Besides teaching coding and product development, Make School’s emphasis is on filling the skills gap and helping students find jobs…

Read more at Fast Company