Udacity’s New Degree Comes With A Money Back Guarantee

January 13, 2016, 4:00 PM UTC
Photo courtesy: Udacity

For nearly two years, online education startup Udacity has offered a paid training course called a “Nanodegree” for people hoping to land technical jobs like software development. But the question was always whether students would find a job after finishing the course, which costs anywhere from $1,800 to $2,400.

To help erase such doubts, Udacity said Wednesday that it would create a new degree called Nanodegree Plus, which comes with a guarantee that students will find a job within six months. If not, the company will return 100% of tuition—a rarity in online education.

Udacity’s original Nanodegree program only allows for 50% tuition back upon completion.

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The company said that its Nanodegree Plus program will initially provide students degrees in Android development, iOS development, machine learning, and web development. These courses, which take an average of six to eight months to complete, will cost $299 per month.

That is nearly $100 per month higher than the original Nanodegree. Students enrolled in Nanodegree Plus programs will get extra one-on-one attention from Udacity’s career services team.

Udacity’s CEO and founder, Sebastian Thrun, said that the company has seen many of its graduates find jobs in the past few months as a result of their coursework and career counseling. Udacity graduates are working at companies like Google, Accenture, AT&T, Amazon, Salesforce, Rakuten, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, and Intuit, the company said.

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Udacity debuted in 2012 by putting college courses online as an easier and cheaper way for students to learn than going to (and paying a premium for) college. But the college partnerships failed, and the company detoured into offering courses and certifications, such as Nanodegrees, to workers who want to beef up their technical skills or learn new ones.

For Udacity, the Nanodegree program is also a clearer way to make money. With Nanodegrees, Udacity’s revenue is growing nearly 30% month over month and is profitable, according to Thrun. One source previously pegged the company’s revenue annual revenue run rate at around $24 million. Udacity also just became a unicorn—a startup valued at or above $1 billion-in its most recent $105 million funding round in 2015.


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