College for America Blog

Survey: Thousands of College for America students earn debt-free degrees, give high marks for career applicability


Posted In: CFA News, Students

Sep • 29 • 2015

A new survey of all students and graduates of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University reveals that thousands are earning an accredited degree completely debt free, and nearly all give the school very high marks for quality and workplace applicability.

As of October 1, roughly 3,000 students are actively enrolled at College for America. Students typically are working adults who enroll in an accredited Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, or undergraduate Certificate program at College for America as an opportunity brought to them by their employer. College for America is a nonprofit school which partners with more than 65 employers nationally who turn to CfA to give their workforce an opportunity for talent development.

Here are some of the highlights from a new survey of all CfA students & graduates (n=388):


  • 70% are earning their degree without taking on any debt at all
  • 21% are earning their degree while accumulating between $1–$5,000 in total debt.

In order to expand access to higher education, College for America offers all degree programs at tuition of just $2,500/year with no additional costs. Enrollment is open to working adults in partnership with more than 65 employers around the country, and students often rely on their employers’ tuition assistance reimbursement—and occasionally on federal student financial aid grants—to help pay for their degree.


• 89% say their College for America work helps build skills for their current job
• 92% say their College for America work helps them with their future employment
• 92% have talked with their advisor about the relevance of their academic work to their career goals

Driving workplace success is central to College for America’s mission. All degree programs are centered on competency-based and project-based learning, and all programs are informed by workforce strategy research directly informed by both labor market data and subject matter experts, as well as rigorous academic standards.


• 96% would recommend College for America to others
• 94% are satisfied or very satisfied with their advisor
• 93% are satisfied or very satisfied with their academic Reviewers

Person-to-person support and feedback is critical to the learning process at College for America. Every student is assigned a dedicated advisor to provide nonacademic support throughout their program, and every student project is assessed by a professional educator with an advanced degree, who provides students with rigorous feedback within 48 hours of submission.


• 70% of students are the 1st generation in their family to attend college
• Median age is 42 years old
• 64% of students identify as white, 22% black/African American; 12% Latino or Hispanic
• 98% are currently employed; 11% are employed at more than one job.

College for America serves frontline working adults with busy lives – a unique student population often not well served by other higher education options today.

This new student survey was offered to all enrolled students and graduates on September 24, 2015. It was built on a 2015 survey commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

College for America is the workforce development and competency-based education college at Southern New Hampshire Universitya nonprofit, 82 year-old fully accredited University based in Manchester, NH. College for America partners with more than 65 employers nationwide to help their associates achieve a college degree through a program built specifically for working adults: competency based, flexibly scheduled, workplace applicable, and low cost.