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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Udacity ends nanodegree job guarantee

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Udacity has ended its get-a-job-or-your-money-back guarantee for its Nanodegree Plus program, reports Lindsay McKenzie at Inside Higher Ed. The online program guaranteed a job within six months of graduation or a full tuition refund.

Announced with much fanfare, the job guarantee applied to Udacity’s Nanodegree Plus program, an enhanced version of the nanodegree with access to a career adviser and career concierge services. Udacity stopped accepting new enrollments into the Nanodegree Plus program in December 2017, and the program will come to a complete end in June. The program was priced at $299 a month ($100 more than a regular nanodegree) and was available in four areas — Android developer, iOS developer, machine learning engineer and senior web developer. Udacity says on its website that most nanodegrees take students between six months and a year to complete.

It’s not clear whether nano-graduates were finding jobs or demanding refunds, notes McKenzie. Udacity won’t say. In 2017, VentureBeat estimated that 10,000 students had earned nanodegrees since 2014, but only 1,000 had found jobs as a result.

Daniel Friedman, co-founder of coding school Thinkful, wrote in January 2016 that Udacity’s guarantee was vaguer and weaker than the guarantees offered by his own company and others such as Bloc and Flatiron School. Such guarantees are common at coding schools, though Friedman noted that some schools have had to drop guarantees because they conflicted with state regulations.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed spending $100 million to create an online community college for workers seeking job credentials. Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the community college system, is pushing the idea, writes Claudio Sanchez on NPR.

Many workers “cannot drop everything they’re doing or come to our colleges and spend two to three years getting a degree or credential,” Oakley says. “We would give them a short burst of job skills that employers would honor. This is not something that our community colleges currently focus on.”

The plan is to offer certificates and badges, rather than degrees.

I’m not at all sure this will work, but I think it’s worth exploring. What useful job skills can be taught quickly online? Older students tend to struggle in traditional community college classes: Will they be able to learn online?

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