Turning classes into a degree

I mentor middle school students in Camden, NJ, the poorest, most crime-ridden city in the US. We’ve stressed education and they’re listening. But when they’re ready for college, some of them are going to be faced with no financial aid due to being undocumented immigrants. I know P2PU offers classes for free which is fantastic. Is there a way to have these wonderful kids have a degree…for free? They’ll need that to compete in the world.

While I would not go as far to argue that it isn’t a fine idea have a formal degree for classes completed there are some other options. One such website is http://degreed.com. But something that I don’t agree with is the “fact” that one needs a degree to compete in the world. That simply isn’t the case. Degrees open some easy doors, but true competency in, passion for, and mastery of a skillset will do just as well. Someone without a degree might have to be a little more creative, they can’t send in resume’s cold. But they can get referred by friends, get picked up by demonstrating high level skills, join a start up, start their own business, and the list goes on.

Of course it’s easier with a degree. But I only argue that it isn’t necessary. And I might even suggest that it is harmful, especially if the degree is going to put the degree getter into large amounts of debt. Fortunately their are a wide community of people who support this idea that your student could learn from, such as UnCollege, and Zero Tuition College.

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We don’t offer degrees, and we would have to change so much about what we do if we wanted to, that we would end up being a very different beast. Others are trying to become low-cost accredited institutions (University of the People) or work with existing university (Straighter Line). All of those efforts are fantastic. P2PU falls more into the space that Quinn describes - how can you get more people take ownership of their learning in ways that doesn’t prevent them from getting jobs and living successful lives.