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National Center for the Apprenticeship Degree (NCAD)

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Every year, millions of Americans are forced to choose between a degree and a job. As a consequence, nearly 40 million Americans have exited a college pathway without finishing. Approximately $280 billion in student debt is carried by people with no degree. Additionally, roughly 55% of high school graduates state they either have no plans to attend college or are uncertain that they will ever attend, many of whom cite affordability and the need to seek employment as the number one reasons.


The undergraduate completion rate is:

  • 44% overall

  • 26% Black students

  • 18% Hispanic students

  • 20% First-generation college students

Vision & Mission

Imagine a world where effort and merit, not money or connections, determine who gets ahead, and where nobody is forced to choose between holding a job and pursuing a degree. That world is becoming reality.

Reach University is the only regionally accredited non-profit institution dedicated to addressing the nationwide teacher shortage, and pioneering the “apprenticeship degree” – a fully job-embedded pathway where half the learning comes from on-the-job work and half comes from related college courses.

Learners earn a living and turn their job into a degree, not the other way around, with zero student debt.

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A Systemic Solution

Building on the promise of this model, Reach University will launch the National Center for the Apprenticeship Degree (NCAD) in September 2023 to enable institutions of higher education, state systems, employers, and organizations across the country to adopt and promote apprenticeship degrees to serve multiple, high-need sectors.

By advancing the apprenticeship degree as the ultimate convergence of higher education and workforce development, NCAD seeks to solve critical shortages in high demand fields like teaching, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare, mitigate the $1.7T student loan debt crisis, and provide a roadmap for colleges and universities to ensure equitable outcomes for students pursuing career advancement and economic opportunity.

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