Is blockchain the key to college success?

A student’s credentials and accomplishments, stored on and secured by blockchain technology, can set students up for college acceptance and college success, said Joshua Samuel, the CEO of Coins for College.

During a session at FETC 2023, Samuel explored how blockchain can be used in real world to solve problems like knowledge gaps, student motivation, attendance, teacher compensation.

Blockchain technology holds the promise to change much of what’s plaguing education today, he asserted. Blockchain relies on methods of cryptography, which secures data from unauthorized access and keeps students’ information safe.

A comprehensive learning record (CLR) holds all student data in a protected format and follows student wherever they go. It carries their accomplishments and information, ensuring that their academic and personal progress is not lost.

Coins for College uses a system called Scholarship Points, which are digital records of student accomplishments stored securely through blockchain and accessible to colleges. This, Samuel said, helps paint a more equitable picture of a student’s potential, beyond test scores and grades, because the points are valid data points that can be used to make a more informed and holistic decision regarding admissions and financial packages.

Students earn Scholarship Points for doing four different activities, and when done consistently, they’re on trajectory to go to any college of their choice, Samuel said:

  1. Attendance: Students have to show up. If you aren’t there, you can’t learn what you need to learn and build on previous knowledge. Each time a student shows up, they earn points.
  2. Supplemental learning: Some demographics don’t reach the “end of the textbook” for various reasons – behavior issues in classroom, funding, teacher availability, etc. In that sort of demographic, if the classroom is a student’s only access to that knowledge, that student will operate at a deficit. Supplemental learning through Coins for College’s platform takes students outside the classroom so they can continue to learn.
  3. Assessments: These reveal knowledge gaps, and as revealed, they can be corrected and place you on the right trajectory.
  4. Extracurriculars: Community service, clubs, athletics, and so forth.

“What if we could take the value we place on the SAT and spread those points out throughout an entire K-12 journey, via blockchain?” Samuel asked. “And colleges are able to see the whole student, from kindergarten to 12th grade, beyond the classroom, including childhood events [such as trauma] or systemic barriers that prevent students from demonstrating their true skills and talent.”

What’s more, through nonprofit partnerships, corporations and philanthropists can donate directly to an individual student or group of students to cover additional college expenses not covered by standard scholarships.

Samuel said Coins for College’s main benefits include:

  1. Students who are empowered can share responsibility for their own learning, thereby developing the intrinsic values needed for success
  2. The CLR provides students a way to distinguish themselves from others as they pursue college and career goals
  3. Blockchain technology can provide equitable opportunities for college and career for all students be removing the mental, financial, and academic barriers to college

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Laura Ascione
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