Our story

We exist to support traditionally underserved students on their journey to a college degree.

Meet the Riveters

Some might call them “working students.” We call them “Riveters.” They meet challenges with strength. They seek, do, and strive. They hold our communities together. We exist to provide Riveters a better pathway to education and economic advancement.

College isn’t working
for most students

And it’s not by accident — most colleges simply weren’t  designed around the needs of most students. At many schools, for instance, student-advisor ratios can run as high as 1000:1, making it near-impossible for students to troubleshoot challenging course schedules or snags in financial aid. While these conditions can wear down anyone, they pose a particular challenge for traditionally underserved groups like working students, parent learners, and first-generation students.

On-time graduation rates for California students

When I was in traditional college, it felt like there was never a light at the end of the tunnel. There were just so many hoops to jump through. Rivet School is different.
For the first time, I see a path to graduation.

— Zaira Sierra, Rivet School Student

That’s why we exist

Rivet School was founded in 2018 with the mission of building a college experience designed entirely around the needs of real students.

Rivet School co-founder Jeff Manassero was a career high school teacher and school leader. But when he learned that many of his students were struggling and dropping out of college, he left the classroom to try to find a better solution.

Jeff met Eli, who’d spent his career working in online education, and had grown frustrated that education technology wasn’t doing enough to serve all students. When Jeff and Eli teamed up with founding board members John, Lauren, and Ted, Rivet School was born.
Illustrated poster of Rosie the riveter

Inspired by the economic mobility of the past...

During World War II, tens of thousands of American workers found jobs in the shipyards of northern California. Prior to this, many of these workers — including women and people of color — had largely been excluded from middle class occupations. While America remembers these workers through the cultural icon of “Rosie the Riveter” — a white woman — many of these “Rosies” were Black and Brown.

Rivet School is based in Richmond, California, where workers built an unprecedented 747 ships during World War II. Today, Richmond is home to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, which honors the legacy of these workers.

...to drive the economic mobility of the future

Workers who’d been overlooked and discriminated against found an unexpected pathway to middle-class jobs in the shipyards of Richmond during World War II.

Six decades later, Americans seeking opportunity jobs are more likely to find them in knowledge-economy fields like healthcare, technology, business, and education.

Which is why we’ve built Rivet School: To create a 21st-century bridge to opportunity for working students.
Rivet School has allowed me to earn my BA while working and in a reasonable timeframe. Rivet School shouldn't be a way to get your degree; it should be the way to get your degree.

— Matt Staton, Educator & Rivet School student

As we work to realize this vision,
we commit to the following values:


We are always honest.
We tear down barriers.
We communicate fearlessly.

Not yet

We keep a growth mindset.
We embrace failure.
We value grit over genius.

We are the Riveters

We are a community.
We take care of one another.
We are stewards.

Own the journey

We own our actions & outcomes.
We are on our own journeys.
The journey is the destination.

Emergency fund & Stipends

Apply for immediate cash grants  in times of need. Receive a small stipend each term to invest in your learning.

Financial aid

Expert support to help you access financial aid — plus financing options you’ll only find at Rivet School.

Community of peers

Join a community of learners across California. Build relationships with other students in your neighborhood.

Tools for school

Access our comfortable coworking spaces for you to get work done. From laptops, to software, to tech support —we’ve got you.

Let’s Change Higher Education

Become part of the movement

Learn, partner, support, work.

Request information

Tell us a bit about yourself so we can help you get started.


You should receive an email from us containing a link to your application.
If you don't receive an email in the next 10 minutes, or you have questions, email us at admissions@rivetschool.org, or call (or) text us at (510) 727-5484.
We look forward to getting to know you!
- The Rivet School Team
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