Thinking about earning your degree differently

If you were born sometime in the ’90s or after, you were probably told the following: Do well in high school, go to a good college, get your degree, and get a great job. That’s the formula!

What we weren’t told in the process was that you would potentially enter into life-altering debt with no actual guarantee of that great job. Add COVID into the mix and now we have “Zoom University” across every campus in America.

While I could write thousands of words on the rising cost of education and its implications, you can read that just about anywhere. Instead, I’d rather use those words to offer up a solution.

To understand what JustTransfer is building, we first need to take a look at how we view the college degree. (We will use New York University as an example throughout the explanation):

Your Degree

Cost: $213,984

This degree certifies that you have earned your degree in Some Major at New York University.

Here we see the certification that you earned and paid for while attending New York University. The visualization above is simple, it states your name, the college, the type of degree, and the discipline. While all of this is true, it's too simplistic of a view.

Really what a college degree is a certification that you took some combination of 30 to 35 classes that represents that you have some sort of knowledge in your discipline of choice:

Your Degree

Cost: $213,984

Course 1

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 2

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 3

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 4

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 5

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 6

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 7

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 8

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 9

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 10

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 11

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 12

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 13

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 14

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 15

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 16

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 17

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 18

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 19

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 20

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 21

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 22

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 23

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 24

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 25

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 26

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 27

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 28

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 29

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 30

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 31

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 32

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Regardless of major, most people are required to take at least one if not two years’ worth of general education requirements. These are your basic courses in maths like Calculus, sciences like Biology or Chemistry, social sciences like Psychology or Archaeology, etc.

These general education courses are usually the same cost as your courses that fall directly under your major, but you can find them at a community college at a fraction cost. If students were to take more classes at community colleges and transfer the credits back to their current institution, the savings could be quite significant:

Your same degree, but cheaper

Saved: $74,376

Same Course 1

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 2

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 3

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 4

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 5

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 6

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 7

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 8

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 9

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 10

Taken at Another College for $489

Same Course 11

Taken at Another College for $489

Course 12

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 13

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 14

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 15

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 16

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 17

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 18

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 19

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 20

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 21

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 22

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 23

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 24

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 25

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 26

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 27

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 28

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 29

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 30

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 31

Taken at New York University for $6,687

Course 32

Taken at New York University for $6,687

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we think students will see this as an option since every college is on Zoom. Students are still paying full price for an in-person experience that they are not receiving, so why not just take classes elsewhere and transfer the credits.

The dirty secret about transferring credits:

Now in these visualizations, we think we make it obvious that every single student should do this. However, transfer has been a lot harder to figure out. 39.4% of students lose all their credit when they transfer and another 28.2% lose a semester's worth when transferring credits.

The idea of transferring credits was designed to help people lower income bracket get access to the same opportunities as others. Unfortunately, the barriers to transfer have ended up hurting the people transfer was designed to help.

What we’ve built to help students right now:

In response to the COVID pandemic we decided to build a tool called COVID Course Plans. Think of it as a search engine for courses from any college that can transfer to your college. We want to make it really easy for students to figure out what classes they can take to save money but also get a guarantee that the credit will transfer before registering.

For right now all you have to provide are the name of the school you currently attend and your ZIP Code (so we can maximize your savings by searching schools in your home state), and you can start finding courses immediately. Pick all the courses you want to take and add them to your COVID Course Plan. When you're ready tell us that you want to get your plan approved and our team will reach out to your school to get an approval on these classes. Once approved, we'll let you know and you can go ahead and register for them and save money.

What we’ve built to help Higher Ed right now:

We have built software for colleges to speed up and improve their transfer process. The rate at which students are transferring some credit has been steadily increasing throughout the last decade (around 40% at the moment), but with the existing barriers in place, it makes it harder for students to enroll at your college. Lifting these barriers can bring more students to your institution. All of our software is designed to fix these problems in mind to help higher ed Bring more students into their institutions. More details the specific pain points that we are addressing can be found in a follow-up post coming soon.

Why Us:

We were transfer students, we lost credit, and that's why we're building JustTransfer. JustTransfer was not initially conceived to be a company, it was a tool I wrote for myself because I lost credit when I transferred schools. The intended use case was to solve my own problem, and now we want to solve it for everyone.