Currently, about 40 million American borrowers collectively owe $1.2 trillion in student debt.
In 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the class of 2014 was the most indebted class ever, with an average student loan debt of $33,000. But they didn’t hold the title long. Along came the class of 2015 to claim that dubious distinction with an average student loan debt of $35,000.
The number will likely continue to increase from year to year, with many college students getting deeper in debt before they’re able to purchase their first home.
Disenchanted with the out-of-date curriculum of traditional college, Rossmann dropped out of MIT. Within a few years, he and co-founder Ashu Desai, started The Make School – a college replacement program for founders and developers.
Instead of tests, there’s project-based work. Instead of tuition upfront, there’s a debt-free model charged to students only once they find employment after graduation. The Make School also claims to bring its students better access to top tech company functions, networking, and guidance as they shape their career.
Classes focus on developing desirable qualities and capabilities as expressed by current hiring managers in Silicon Valley. Beyond programming classes, subjects also include nutrition, health, writing, and exercise – tools to succeed in a professional life.
In September 2015, The Make School began its first academic year with nearly 30 full-time students in the founding class. Some students are fresh out of high school, some have left their colleges to pursue education here instead.
Not everyone is on board with the new program, including some parents, who prefer their children still attend traditional, name-recognized universities. To which Rossmann responds:
“When LinkedIn and Lyft and these companies with tens of millions of dollars of funding are all committing contractually to coming and recruit here, and they don’t come to the school where your child is studying, that means something.”