PelotonU Q1 Update
Sarah and I met with a UT professor last week who researches how mindsets impact student performance.
He’s a big deal in our world, and he shared that two factors most impact college graduation: belonging uncertainty and transcendent purpose. In essence, students need to know others with similar and different stories struggled and found success, and students need to connect their studies with a long-term goal bigger than themselves.
In both regards, that’s what we’re building at PelotonU.
Students from wide-ranging backgrounds study side by side, and each has a compelling vision for serving their community. And we’re seeing the results. So much so that of 288 entries, we won the OpenIDEO Higher Ed Challenge, and are being flown to two conferences and an accelerator in Boston to share what we’re learning.
OpenIDEO - How might we better prepare all learners for the needs of tomorrow by reimagining higher…
With 95% of jobs created in the US since the recession going to folks with a college degree - and the expectation that…
As a reminder, this year we’re focused on enrolling 90 students, closing funding to sustain us through ’19, and proving our program model outside Austin. While we head towards those goals, what matters most is our students and their individual journeys. We’ve included the story of Connor, our first Bachelor’s graduate, below.
In between, you’ll find:
- An ask for help
- Our key metrics
- The big picture recap
Ask For Help
- Employer introductions: employers are our best source of students, and our top ten target list is here.
Do you know folks who work at any of these companies?
- Support our scholarships: We’re providing $10,500 in scholarships for thirty students in our May cohort.
Will you join our Advocate’s Club with a $40 monthly gift?
- 82% Persistence (up 2% from Q4) These are students who began college with PelotonU and are still enrolled or have graduated; it compares to a 16% completion rate for Central Texas part-time students.
- 93% Pace (up 3% from Q4) These students will earn their BA in six years or less, and compares to 28% of Bachelor’s students in Texas who graduate on-time. 84% of our students will graduate in four years or less.
- 16 Completions (4 in Q1) These students earned a degree or transferred to another institution.
- 76 students served (5 started in Q1) with 43 currently in the program.
- Financials. We’re right on target. Revenue was 2% over budget for Q1 ($48,325), and 2% over for expenses ($85,641). Student fees and the Advocate’s Club were over revenue projections, and and expenses were higher from scholarships and the consultant for our GTF grant. Looking to Q2, our target is to raise $100,000 with 17% from earned income.
- Recruitment. We’re thinking lots about customer acquisition. On the bright side, 32 students will start Academic Onboarding in May, a new record for us. Even so, students are hard to find. We spent Q1 testing hypotheses around recruiting students directly (B2C) by advertising on Facebook, knocking on doors in a nearby neighborhood, and giving out 5,000 coffee sleeves to local shops. These strategies didn’t yielded the apps we hoped for. This confirms our hunch that most applicants will find us from referrl partners (B2B).
- Student Support. In February we honored our first student to earn his Bachelor’s and five students who earned their Associate’s. Of those, one is transferring to Texas State, and four are continuing for their BA with us through College for America. At the board level, we’re revising our approach to college debt. While we hope students graduate debt-free, five students decided to assumed $24,280 in debt over the past year. In light of this, we’re piloting new supports to ensure those with loans are thoughtful about the decision and have a clear plan to pay it back.
- Fundraising. We won a $40,000 planning grant from the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) to explore growing our model outside Austin. This is big — partly because GTF is a sophisticated statewide funder, but also because we’ve hired a consultant who’s clarifying the key aspects of our our student support model. Locally, we raised $5,223 from 42 donors during Amplify Austin, which was $10,446 with a 1:1 match.
Lastly, a brief update on our Q1 goals (finish the venture round, focus on leads, and improve conversion from apps to academic onboarding). We finished the venture round, and are now fundraising for our south site. Our target for leads was 70, and we beat that with 97. We also promised a 60% conversion from Application to Academic Onboarding, and saw a 67% conversion for our May cohort.
More than stats and strategies however, our favorite job is cheering for our students as they write their own stories. We recently cheered Connor, our first Bachelor’s degree earner. College was a long-shot idea for him two years ago — and after 17 months of hard work, he earned his business degree. To read how he worked his way through college, find his story here.
Thanks for your investment and support — it means the world.
Hudson + the PelotonU Team
P.S. We are Philanthropitch finalists, and will share with the Austin community the evening of May 22nd. If you’re in town, we’d love for you to join us.