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$3 Million 'Scholarship' for Coding Classes

Treehouse wants to help 2,500 college students circumvent the high costs of higher education by letting them use its platform for free.

Computer programming skills are becoming increasingly valuable in today's labor market, but the cost of a computer science degree can be unattainable for some. Now, Orlando-based web education start-up Treehouse is offering a "scholarship" program to help college students learn to code at no cost.

Treehouse announced on Thursday it would be offering $3 million worth of its online education services to 2,500 college students for free. The students will be chosen based on an application essay and those selected will receive a two-year Gold subscription--usually worth $49 per month--for two years.

"College is so riduclously expensive, and we're trying to save a couple of people from going into debt," Treehouse founder and CEO Ryan Carson says. "We can give you a scholarship to Treehouse and help you get the skills you need for a technical career for a couple hundred dollars instead of $100,000."

The education platform offers classes (via video) in a variety of web development categories, such as CSS, HTML5 and iOS. When a student completes a lesson, they get a "badge" to show to potential employers. "You can be job ready on Treehouse in three to six months," Carson adds.

Treehouse, launced in the fall of 2011, recently added an in-house job placement team to aid customers in finding employment, but as of now, the company has not facilitated any hires. The company claims, however, that many of its former students earn thousands of dollars per month as web development freelancers.

Treehouse closed a $600,000 seed funding round last fall and a $4.75 million funding round this April. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of professional social network LinkedIn, is one of Treehouse's early investors. The company claims to have 12,000 paying customers and Carson projects the company will earn more than $3 million in revenue this year.

Students hoping to take advantage of the offer must have a valid .edu email address and have until September 19 to apply. (The application form can be found here.)

Last updated: Sep 14, 2012


John McDermott is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for

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