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Bootcamps Refund Your Tuition?

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Cengage
Cengage

Hi all! Long time, no post! My goodness, it's been a busy Fall. I hope everyone has had a great start to the semester and is now in the swing of things!

 

I found this interesting article and I wanted to share it because in my previous Bootcamp post, a lot of you had mentioned that you were thinking about replicating a bootcamp model at your own schools to get students into your degree programs. Some of you also mentioned that you saw the value in bootcamps in that it's a quick way to learn what you need to know, but maybe not the best way to become a super skilled computer science professional. 

 

OpenClassrooms, a French-based online boot camp model offering certification tracks in development, product management and, soon, design, is coming stateside. Unlike many boot camps, there is no physical classroom presence required for OpenClassrooms; all work can be done remotely if the student has internet access. The school focuses on development training including front end, Ruby, iOS, and Android.

 

If students fail to find job placement within 6 months of graduation, they are eligible for a full tuition refund. However, to qualify for a refund, the candidate must prove they have applied to a minimum of 10 positions a week anywhere in the country and agree to transfer when a job is offered. Those activities need to be documented and sent to OpenClassrooms regularly. Currently, as reported by the company, 100 percent of its graduates are employed globally and have found their positions within the allotted six months.

 

As part of its US launch, the company is also offering DACA "Dreamers" access to its training services. The “Dream On” initiative allows dreamers to pursue OpenClassrooms’ education through a “premium solo” membership, which provides unlimited access to all OpenClassrooms' courses, free of cost.  Options for “non-Dreamers” include  a $20 per month “solo membership” which gives access to the courses without mentoring or job guarantee. There’s also a “premium plus” edition that, at $300 a month, comes with access to a professional mentor via weekly video chats and an online community of students and peers, plus job guarantee.

Pierre Dubuc, CEO and founder of OpenClassrooms said in a press release, "Lifelong learning knows no borders, no barriers and should require little beyond a strong sense of self-discipline, hard work and dedication in order to succeed," Dubuc continued. "It's time that high-quality, flexible, skills-based education become accessible to everyone, and our 'Dream On' program -- which is a free opportunity for 'Dreamers' to pursue lifelong education -- is an excellent example of how we plan to make education accessible to everyone, in every community." He wants all students, regardless of background or upbringing, to have the opportunity for exposure to these technical, future-forward skills.

 

What do you think about this bootcamp model? Is the tuition-refund fair? Will Dreamers benefit from this type of free education? Will this have an impact on enrollment at traditional higher education programs? Please share your thoughts below!

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

So many questions!  I'll start with just one.

 

"Is the tuition-refund fair?"  I think this is a brilliant marketing method!  Here in Texas, people who are drawing Unemployment benefits are required to perform and document at least 5 job seeking activities per week.  I definitley do not consider that to be too much, and 10 documented applications is not too little when we consider that is an average of 2 per day.  In an 8-hour work day, that gives 4 hours per application.  If someone cannot get a job with that level of activity, then there is something wrong beyond their effort.

 

Thus, if OpenClassrooms is confident that their product is worthwhile, the refund is most definitely fair, especially with the requrement to agree to transfer locations.  The economy in City X might not be favorable to tech workers, but there are plenty of jobs in City Y.

Cengage
Cengage

The option to transfer locations is key, I think! @Stephen_J_Padilla because you are totally right...there may not be programming career opportunities in maybe a more rural area, for example. 

 

I live in NYS and although this isn't really related, I can't help but think it....in NYS, if you meet certain criteria, you're eligible to attend a state school for free, with an agreement to live and work in NYS for four years after graduation. If not, I believe you must pay back your tuition. It's a move to make higher education attainable but also to help boost the NYS economy. I heard on NPR that more NYS residents left the state in 2016 than in any other year recorded in history AND that the population of NYS is actually aging because so many young adults are leaving the state. 

 

Again, unreleated, but it popped into my mind when I found this article! 

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

@CassieC, I hope we don't end up in an echo chamber here, but I'm going to go ahead and post my next reply.

 

Will Dreamers benefit from this type of free education?

 

I think that this could be a very good opportunity for Dreamers, but unless OpenClassrooms is recognized by accrediting bodies here in the USA, it will not qualify as protection from deportation under current DACA provisions.  I also think this is a volatile time to be offering things to Dreamers, as Congress does not seem to have anything legitimate in the pipeline to replace DACA.

 

As such, this could be another very clever marketing ploy.  It is a very nice thing to help the Dreamers, but if none of them can really use it then OpenClassrooms has not really spent any money on them.  Hopefully, I'm just being cynical and the reality turns out to be something better.

Kelly_Hinson
Contributor

This is an interesting concept, but as our school is state supported, I don't think the state would do this. But I do think book camps have a place, but probably should not replace a college education. I think may be they should supplement it.

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

Will this have an impact on enrollment at traditional higher education programs?

 

This is a bit of a tough question.  As I mentioned above, these degrees are not accredited by any body in the USA.  As such, the only way it would impact enrollment at accredited colleges and universities would be if people fail to read the fine print while degree seeking. 

 

I see this much more like the Lynda.com and SkillSoft courses.  It is one more entry into the self-paced subscription-based market.  If these have cut into higher education, it is likely only at the adult continuing education level, not at the degree-seeking level. 

 

With that being said, it could cut into the market for the career colleges (such as mine, although none of the programs currently compete with our offerings).

Cengage
Cengage

Interesting point, @Kelly_Hinson! And in line with what employers say, too! 

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing a Cyber Security employer last week in our Boston office. When I asked about bootcamps and if he actively hired from someone with a bootcamp background, he said that if the candidate doesn't have a traditional higher education background in computer science or a related field, but has worked in the industry for a significant amount of time and used a Bootcamp as a way to further their skill set, then he doesn't have a problem with it. Same train of though if the candidate did possess a computer science degree. 

 

However, he said that if the candidate was in an unrelated field and decided to use a Bootcamp as a means to change career paths, he likely would not move them through the hiring process. 

 

This is the site to his company! Really interesting guy! Our interviews with him will be in the new edition of the Security+ MindTap in December. https://www.barkly.com/

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

When I saw "Barkly," I automatically thought of Lt Reginald Barclay.  I am such a geek!!

 

On a serious note, that hiring practice makes perfect sense.  While I would be technically qualified for my current job with my certifications alone, my degrees make me a much better candidate.  Combined with my experience, these things made my résumé end up in the interview pile instead of the recycle bin.

 

Of course, the interview is what landed the job, but the résumé is the ticket to the interview and the combined qualifications are the purchase price for that ticket.