Oakland Local: Ground-breaking consumer-owned higher education institute to launch in Oakland

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treeStory by Liza Veale

Rani Coager and Seyed Amiry believe the current model of financing institutions of higher learning is unsustainable. It has created a population paralyzed by debt and a skills gap that leaves too many un(der)employed despite the fact that nearly half of U.S. employers struggle to fill open positions. Croager and Amiry see this as an opportunity for innovation.

After a long research and development phase, Cooperative Education Ventures is poised to admit its first incoming class next fall right here in Oakland. The institute will be an unprecedented application of the consumer-owned co-op model to higher education.

The curriculum will “train and empower entrepreneurs as well as those who are seeking jobs…particularly in communities that have been under-served, the demographic that could stand to benefit the most from this approach,” said co-founder Seyed Amiry. Because it is a member-owned enterprise, the idea is that participants will have one hundred percent of their tuition fees returned to them over a period of several years. Continue reading

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