This Queens Based Program Could Radically Change Higher Education

High School graduation season is upon us and thousands of college bound students are headed off to achieve their goals of obtaining a higher education. However, high school graduates find themselves in a worse position than any other generation when it comes to the cost of higher education. Finding a job after college is not a guarantee and many college graduates find themselves with a mountain of student loan debt. But what if there was a school that not only taught you skills employers are looking for, but also partnered with employers to ensure placement after graduation, and didn’t charge tuition unless you obtained a high paying job?

High Cost of Education

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees are $32,410 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,890 for out-of-state residents attending public colleges.

In a recent Forbes report, the cost of private and public tuition is expected to increase by 4.5% and 6.5% respectively each year; adding to the already high cost of a 4 year institution. This does not include the cost of room and board or any other expenses associated with attending college. Because of the rapid rise in the cost of college, more and more students are relying on student loans.

It is estimated that 70% of students who graduated in 2016 have some form of student loan debt, of which, the average debt balance per student exceeds $37,000.

Higher Education Is Fundamentally Flawed

Higher education would be a worthwhile investment if the returns merited the initial investment. However, the rising cost of college degrees is outpacing the starting salaries for most college majors. For example, the starting salary for an accountant is expected to rise by 3.7% according to Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for Accounting & Finance. That is far below the expected rise in tuition of 4.5% to 6.5% each year over the next 4 years.

Even if the rise in college cost kept pace with the rise in starting salaries, the educational system is not keeping pace with today’s modern economy. Students are being taught by teachers who are long removed from industry practice and teach them skills that don’t correlate to employer’s needs.

According to a recent report, 60%  of companies said new grads lack critical thinking skills and attention to detail, while 44% found fault with their writing proficiency, and 39% found fault in their public speaking ability.

College Alternatives: C4Q

A college education is becoming more expensive and outpacing starting salaries, failing to prepare college graduates for entry level jobs, and leaving students with an unimaginable amount of student loan debt. But what if there was a less expensive way to obtain an education that did not leave graduates with decades of student loan payments?

Coalition for Queens (C4Q), established in 2011, is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit that teaches minority and low income students how to code applications and computer programs over an intensive 10 week program.

C4Q is backed by leaders across the technology and business world with high profile sponsors like Robin Hood Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, Blackstone, Salesforce, Guggenheim Partners, and BlackRock.

According to the program, students see their income climb from as low as $18,000 to as high as $85,000 or more once they finish the course and start working.

But get this: There is no upfront cost of the program and the school only gets paid if the student lands a job.    Program graduates agree to give 12% of their salaries back to the school for two years as compensation for their new learned skills.

How It Works

This upcoming year, the program will teach 144 students Android and iOS app development, as well as  full-stack web development. C4Q will offer both daytime and nights-and-weekends schedules. Women, underrepresented minorities, and those without college degrees are highly encouraged to apply.

To remove the barriers of learning to code, the program provides laptops, a 24/7 space for learning, and other resources needed to succeed. 

Those who are interested in the program may apply on the C4Q website here. Final applications are due June 30th. For any questions about the specifics of the program email

Jeremias Ramos is a CPA working at a nationally recognized full-service accounting, tax, and consulting firm with offices conveniently located throughout the Northeast. Jeremias specializes in tax and business consulting with focus areas in real estate, professional service providers, medical practitioners, and eCommerce businesses.

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