FAQs

Programs & academics

Is Rivet School a university? If not, how does Rivet School help students earn an accredited bachelor’s degree? What institution will appear on my diploma?

Rivet School is not a university. We partner with accredited universities to enable our students to earn bachelor’s degrees. Currently, our two degree partners are Southern New Hampshire University and Brandman University. Southern New Hampshire University (or SNHU) is a private, nonprofit university established in 1932 and located in Manchester, New Hampshire (not far from Boston).

Rivet School students enrolled in SNHU participate in a special online program called College for America, which SNHU launched in 2014 in partnership with the United States Department of Education and the Gates Foundation. Brandman University is a private, nonprofit university established in 1958 as part of the Chapman University system. Brandman is headquartered in Irvine, California, but serves students across 26 campuses in California and Washington, as well as online. Students graduate Rivet School with an accredited bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University or Brandman University, and with a certificate of completion from Rivet School itself.

Are Rivet School’s degree programs accredited?

Yes. We only partner with regionally accredited, nonprofit universities. (Regional accreditation is the highest form of accreditation, and credits earned through regionally accredited programs are the most likely to transfer.)

So what does Rivet School do, and what do its degree partners (like SNHU) do?

Our university partners (SNHU and Brandman) provide a flexible, online, and accredited degree program for our students. This includes feedback from instructors who review student work. University partners also manage the financial aid process, and provide tech support and other academic resources. Rivet School pairs students with a personal academic coach, helps students stay on track through structured programming, provides tutoring when students get stuck, offers supplemental career coaching and training, and provides resources like a laptop, childcare, and coworking space, and more. While we play different roles, Rivet School and our university partners work closely to provide fellows a seamless learning experience.


Does Rivet School help students earn associate degrees? Or just bachelor’s degrees?

Students enrolled in degree programs offered through Southern New Hampshire University begin in the "associate degree track." Once students earn their associate degree, they then begin their bachelor’s degree coursework. (Students who enter into our program with 60 transferable units — or already having earned an associate’s degree — may be eligible to begin directly on the BA track. Students who enroll in the Bachelor's of Science in Information Technology will only earn a BS, and not an associate degree.)

How much time does Rivet School require each week? Are there any in-person requirements?

Enrolling in Rivet School is a serious commitment. Most Rivet School students spend between 7 and 15 hours on schoolwork each week.

Because Rivet School is designed to work around your needs and schedule, there are no specific in-person requirements for the program. We do offer many local / in-person resources, from face-to-face meetings with your coach, to co-working space, to group study sessions and gatherings.

How can I possibly earn a BA in two years?

In most college programs, you earn credits by taking courses that run for a certain number of weeks (typically 14-16 weeks). It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how well you know the material, or how much you study — to earn your credits, you have to sit through 15 weeks of class. Rivet School is different. Rivet School partners with university programs that are “competency-based.” In plain English, in a competency-based program, you earn credits not based on how long you sit in a seat (or study), but on how well you know the material. As soon as you’ve demonstrated that you understand a concept or skill (for instance, by completing a project or taking an assessment), you can move on. By combining a competency-based degree and all the support that Rivet School offers (from accountability support, to supplemental teaching and tutoring, to many more resources), we can help you dramatically increase your pace to a degree. Around 25% of Rivet School students are on track to earn a BA in two years or less.

Is Rivet School a nonprofit? Why is this important?

We believe that college programs should be 100% focused on doing what’s best for students. We also recognize the troubling legacy of for-profit higher education in this country.

For these reasons (and others), Rivet School is a non-profit educational program with one mission: To help you earn a job-relevant degree as efficiently as possible.

Am I eligible to apply to Rivet School?

If you have a high school diploma or a GED (or other equivalent) and live in California, you're eligible to apply to Rivet School.

How does the Rivet School application process work?

Here’s how you apply to Rivet School:

Learn about Rivet School & request an application.

First, take some time to learn about our program by reviewing our website. If you think Rivet School might be a fit for you, your first step is to request an application, which you can do here.

Apply.

The Rivet School application includes some basic questions about your background and goals, as well as a series of "readiness checks" — exercises to help us make sure you're prepared to succeed in our program. All together, completing an application should take 2-4 hours.

Welcome!

If we decide you're a good fit for Rivet School, we'll welcome you into onboarding — a 6-week trial period where you'll get started on college work. If, during onboarding, you find it difficult to meet program expectations, or otherwise decide that Rivet School isn't the right fit, that's totally fine. During this time, you can exit the program with no financial penalty or obligation.

Is there an application deadline?

We have application deadlines every other month. To view our upcoming application deadline, visit our homepage, or request an application by clicking the red "apply" button in the navigation bar.

Costs & financial aid

How much does Rivet School cost?

The cost of participating in Rivet School varies depending on the specific degree program you’re enrolling in. If you’re accepted to a College for America program, you’ll pay $2,166 per 16-week trimester (or around $6,500 per year). This includes $1,083 in tuition to SNHU, and $1,083 in student support fees to Rivet School. There are no additional costs to the program (like textbooks, for instance). If you’re enrolling in a Brandman University program, you’ll pay $3,200 per 6-month term. As with College for America, there are no additional fees beyond this. All Rivet School students begin their journey with a six-week, no-risk onboarding period and trial. If, before the end of this trial period, you decide to withdraw from the program (or find that you are unable to meet program expectations), you don’t pay anything.

Am I eligible for financial aid? How can students pay?

Rivet School students may be eligible for a variety of financial aid options, including the Federal Pell Grant (you can estimate your eligibility using the federal government’s student aid forecaster here), our Pay it Forward program, and an interest-free loan offered by a Rivet School partner, Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco. As part of your application and Onboarding experience, we’ll help you navigate student finances and financial aid, and come up with a plan that works for you.

Credits & credit transfer

Do I need prior college experience and/or credits to be eligible for Rivet School?

No — we welcome all applicants (as long as you have a high school diploma, GED, or other equivalent).

I have college credits. Will they transfer into Rivet School?

If you’ve earned 60 or more credits from an accredited institution — or if you’ve earned an accredited AA or AS — you will likely be eligible to begin your studies directly with College for America’s BA program (skipping the AA and significantly reducing your time to degree). For Brandman: As part of your application to Brandman, you’ll submit any past college transcripts. Brandman will then evaluate these transcripts to determine which credits can transfer over.

Can I transfer credits out of the program?

Each institution has its own rules about credit transferability, and so we can't 100% guarantee that credits you earn in the program will transfer fully to a future institution of your choice. That said, previous students enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University have successfully transferred credits to schools in the University of California and California State University systems.

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