Startup raises $6M to help colleges re-enroll ‘stop-outs’

ReUp Education, a company solely focused on helping colleges to re-enroll students who have “stopped out” of higher education, today announced the closing of a $6 million Series A funding round. TDM Partners and Hereditas Capital Management led the funding round, joining existing social impact investors Serious Change, Strada Education Network, Impact Engine, Michelson Runway, and Bisk Ventures.

Although college graduates earn, on average, nearly 50 percent more than individuals without a degree, over 37 million Americans have left college without a credential in the last two decades. In fact, half of U.S. students who entered college since 1981 never graduated. Colleges, in turn, lose an estimated $16.5 billion in tuition revenue as a result of attrition annually.

“At a time when one in five first-year students don’t return for a second year, supporting students who have stopped-out to help them re-enroll is absolutely critical to fulfilling higher education’s promise of not just access—but completion,” said Sarah Horn, CEO of ReUp Education. “This investment represents both powerful validation of our social impact mission and broader recognition of the imperative of helping adults find a pathway back to college.”

To address this crisis, ReUp has developed a three-pronged solution that utilizes a blend of data, technology, and coaching to support stopout students in returning to school and achieving their goals at scale. Building on more than 10 million data points collected over two years, their Engagement Engine and predictive analytics enable teams of professional Success Coaches to prioritize which students to reach out to and when. The technology platform closely monitors coaching quality leveraging natural language processing and machine learning to evaluate interactions with students.

Throughout the student journey, success coaches utilize ReUp’s proprietary coaching model to address barriers that students frequently encounter and engage with students around their motivations to return and succeed. Forty percent of ReUp success coaches are people of color, fifty-five percent are first-generation college graduates, and forty-five percent are former stop-outs.

“Re-enrolling former students and adults with some credit, no degree represents perhaps one of the most important challenges, and opportunities, that higher education faces as we retool to changing student demographics and new financial headwinds,” said Jim Grotrian, executive vice president of operations at Bellevue University. “As one of ReUp’s first partners, we’re grateful for the powerful technology, collaboration and focus on outcomes that their team has brought to the table. It’s helping us to fulfill our mission and reach and re-engage more students within our region.”

Since 2015, the company has helped bring back over 8,000 students with the benefit of insights generated from a network of more than thirty partner colleges and universities and more than 400 re-enrolled students have graduated to date.

“This is about solving a pressing problem for individuals, and institutions, alike,” said Anne Kubek, Chief Operating Officer of ReUp Education. “We’re helping students to leverage prior investments in education to put them on a path to higher wages. We’ve also helped colleges generate more than $25.8 million in new revenue. In the end, it should be a virtuous circle for students, institutions and society.”

About ReUp Education: ReUp helps colleges and universities find and re-engage students who have stopped out. We tap the potential of predictive analytics, technology that scales and hands-on coaching to help adult learners return and navigate a path to completion. Over the last two+ years, we have helped a growing network of more than thirty institutions to re-enroll over 8,000 students.


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