AIM Code School


How to Turn Interface Courses into a College Degree

“Tech isn’t going anywhere – it’s going to continue to grow and explode.” – Shonna Dorsey

On the 50th anniversary of Bellevue University, Dean Mary Dobransky of the College of Science and Technology met with Shonna and me for a quick chat about our new credit transfer partnership and the future of the tech community in Omaha.

What inspired the partnership between Bellevue University and Interface Web School?

Mary: We noticed the interest in Interface’s boot camps and wanted to explore how they fit with higher education in terms of industry demands, the community, and our students.

Shonna: One of the things we discussed was that a boot camp or a code school is very different from college because the goal is not degree attainment, it is about building skills to improve employment opportunities. But they are very nice complements to each other, because there are cases where a person may go from  high school into a boot camp and then to work, and sonetime in the future decide to attend college for continuing education. That’s why it’s great to have a partner like Bellevue University, because we can say, we know you might not be ready for college now, but when you are ready, you’ll have credits toward that next step in your education and career.

How long do credits last? How long can a student wait between attending Interface and transferring credit to Bellevue University?

Mary: There is no time limit for transferring the credits. Students that successfully complete an Interface course after the effective date of our partnership are eligible to transfer the credits to Bellevue University. They could even bring the Interface credential in ten years from now – whenever the student decides to enroll at Bellevue.

What are the benefits of this partnership to Interface students and Bellevue University students?

Shonna: From our side, one of the main things is that we build up credibility through partnerships. We are still a pretty new school, almost three years old, so it is important to us to be able to partner with really established organizations like First National Bank, Flywheel, and now Bellevue University. We want to keep working on partnerships like this so we can make a stronger case for students to say, okay, that’s a good option for me, and there is support throughout the community for this type of education.

Mary: I think it’s also a great option for Bellevue University students. Bellevue has a long-time history of recognizing credits that students have earned at other institutions. If you have taken an English class at another college, that is fine, it doesn’t have to be our English class. We also articulate credit for partners like Interface by following criteria recommended by the American Council of Education. We establish if the course is college-level learning and evaluate the curriculum, instruction, and assessment methods. The Interface program is a good example – students are going through very comprehensive, college-level courses, learning subjects that are similar to those taught at Bellevue University and other universities across the nation. Interface has very rigorous standards for assessing that students have mastered the course objectives. This makes the Interface boot camps a good fit for transfer credit. A benefit to the students is that the Interface credits align with some of Bellevue’s technology degree programs, so those credits will help students earn their degree.

Another reason this partnership is so great is that Interface and Bellevue University are both very community-minded. We are here to serve the community and to help people achieve better jobs. Bellevue’s mission is to effectively engages students in earning awards and degrees that prepare them to thrive in a connected, competitive world. Similar to many Interface students, many Bellevue students already have some college credits, so this is a great opportunity for students to use Interface boot camps and our degree programs to grow their skills or transition to a new career.

What steps can a student take to apply their Interface credits toward a Bellevue University degree?

Mary: It’s a very simple process. The student should fill out the admissions application and then an admissions counselor will contact them to complete the process. The student would then send their Interface certificate to their Bellevue admissions counselor, and the registrar’s office will create a degree plan for the student. You have to be a high school graduate to attend the university, but other than that, we are an open-enrollment institution. We don’t require SAT or ACT scores. Our vision is to be the premier open-access university in the nation. We want everyone to have a chance to go to college and to take that next step for their career.

What is the cost savings to a student for transferring in Interface credits?

Mary: The cost savings is pretty significant. For example, the Java specialization class is worth 7.5 credits here, amounting to about $1875 if a student had to pay for it again for their degree. The Foundations course is worth 4.5 credit hours, which would be about $1125 if the credits didn’t transfer. So you can see that the savings is pretty significant and students can find that the value of Interface boot camps is recognized here. A student shouldn’t have to pay again to take something they have already learned. The amounts I mentioned are based on current tuition rates; visit our tuition information page for the latest information.

Where do you see the future of the tech community in Omaha?

Shonna: I see more attention being put into kids as early as middle school and even elementary school. We have to start younger. I also see more focus being put on under-served areas and populations, giving them the skills to get into these high-wage jobs and giving them access to the equipment, infrastructure, and support they need to get into these jobs. Tech isn’t going anywhere – it’s going to continue to grow and explode.

Mary: I agree, Omaha is such a great community for growing the tech talent pipeline. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has an IT Tech Talent Initiative with the goal of making Omaha a hub for technology, so that people will go to high school and college here and then continue to live here. We want to show others that they can move here and enjoy great jobs and a great quality of life. Another benefit of Omaha is AIM – an innovative not-for-profit organization that builds thriving communities through technology. It is great that AIM offers a number of youth programs, because generating interest in the technology field when people are young is key, especially when it comes to bringing more women and other underrepresented populations into the field.

There are so many great tech jobs in Omaha, especially in the market that Interface is serving. The job market for technology jobs is expected to grow 12% in the next 10 years, with web development jobs growing at 27%. We want to make sure students are excited about these jobs.

Shonna: It’s also important to note that there is not only one type of position, it’s not just coding in a corner. There are many different types of jobs where you can use a coding education.

What else would you like to share?

Mary: I would like to close by saying how exciting it is to partner with Interface. Bellevue University and Interface really just want to help people get great jobs and be vibrant members of our community. It is an honor to have a partner like Shonna who is so engaged in our community.
Shonna: We are just really grateful for this partnership and all of our other partnerships throughout the community. We are excited to add as much value as possible for our students!


To learn more about this partnership, check out the official press release.