At MissionU, students don’t pay until they’ve landed a job

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Braun’s goal is for program participants to develop the skills they need to be hired into a well-paying position that would rival any college graduate’s starting salary — without the overarching debt. (B.A. degree holders earn $37,000, on average, in the first few years after graduation, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.)

Due in part to rapidly rising costs and the ensuing debt burden, many would-be college students are discovering this type of alternative occupational program in industries with high-growth potential, such as data analytics.

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At the same time, the college completion rate fell to about 52 percent of students, down from 56 percent over the past three years at public and private four-year institutions, while college enrollment has also declined overall, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

“What we are seeing is that there is a growing variety in the kinds of pathways students take,” said Jason DeWitt, research manager at the Clearinghouse. “Although it’s too early to know how that’s affecting traditional college enrollment.”

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