News Release

Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 295-1164

U.S. DOE Approves Zip Code Wilmington, Wilmington University, HackerRank Partnership to Bring Tech Education to Low Income Students

Unique Department of Education “EQUIP” initiative enables student financial aid, college credit and degree completion in technology programs by non-accredited providers through accredited university.

Wilmington University, Zip Code Wilmington, and HackerRank today became one of fewer than 10 groups nationwide selected to participate in the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) program, a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) initiative designed to provide low-income students with access to new models of education and training.

Zip Code Wilmington is a non-profit, 90-day intensive software development boot camp developed in close partnership with local and national employers. It teaches students the skills needed to land software developer jobs upon graduation. Within three months of graduation, Zip Code places more than 93% of its graduates in jobs paying, on average, over $60,000 annually, which is more than double students’ average entering salaries.

Zip Code and Wilmington University are both nonprofit education providers. Through this unique relationship, eligible Zip Code students will be able to receive Pell Grants and a full semester of college credits through Wilmington University’s Applied Technology degree program. HackerRank will serve as the partnership’s third-party quality assurance entity (QAE).

This will mark the first time a non-accredited teaching entity will pair with an accredited institution to make Federal financial aid available to students. This education model exemplifies a high-value, STEM education program that leverages an employer-driven curriculum and employer funding resulting in little to no student debt.

Through Wilmington University’s College of Technology, Zip Code graduates can leverage their earned credits into associate and bachelor degrees. With a reputation for innovation in higher education and high academic standards, Wilmington University paves the way for students who opt to continue their education further through its new Applied Technology degree programs with continued access to student financial aid.

“The EQUIP program enables Zip Code Wilmington to offer students an outstanding education and a semester's worth of college credits at Wilmington University in only 12 weeks, potentially at no cost to the student,” said Zip Code President Jim Stewart.

Melanie Augustin, Head of School at Zip Code, added, "Zip Code Wilmington is honored to be selected for the EQUIP program. This furthers our mission to create a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity that leads to job placements at top companies and helps our graduates change their income potential for life.”

 “The Wilmington University College of Technology has championed flexible, tech-based programs because we recognize that high impact, quality education can occur outside our doors,” said Dr. Mary Ann Westerfield, Dean of the College of Technology. “Zip Code Wilmington is doing an amazing job and this partnership is aligned with our mission’s commitment to excellence in teaching, relevancy of the curriculum and individual attention to students. Together, we saw this unique opportunity to open up higher education to low-income students with no financial aid barriers.”

With a track record of powering over 1,000 companies’ coding assessments since 2012, HackerRank is the de facto standard bearer for quality in outcomes assessments. Its innovative code checker software, and its mission to help programmers find the right job based on skills, makes HackerRank the ideal QAE for this nonprofit model. The company is providing its services for the EQUIP pilot on a pro bono basis.

 “Unfortunately, traditional education is not always accessible to everyone who needs it,” said HackerRank CEO & Co-Founder Vivek Ravisankar. “HackerRank is excited to help change that through this partnership, which empowers low-income students with a new education model to improve their lives. This program helps to create opportunities for developers regardless of their backgrounds." 

Regarding this new partnering opportunity, Dr. Jim D. Wilson, Wilmington University Vice President, Academic Affairs, said, “We are excited to see more students experience the benefits of higher education through the EQUIP pilot. By making financial aid accessible to students in the program, the future technology talent pool will grow to meet the needs of Wilmington, the State of Delaware and the nation. Many individuals, families and communities will benefit as a result of this most important partnership.”

Zip Code Wilmington co-founder and board member Ben duPont added, "As a state, Delaware has the opportunity to become one of the world’s technology leaders. What we need is the talent to meet the opportunity. Zip Code Wilmington is here to provide that talent.”

“Wilmington University is pleased to be a partner in this innovative, nonprofit pilot program," said Dr. LaVerne Harmon, Wilmington University Executive Vice President. The EQUIP pilot supports new models of education that do not put up the traditional access barriers of sufficient funding thanks to allowing access to financial aid. It specifically provides educational access to low-income students who can benefit from non-traditional programs as a means of improving their job prospects and earning potential, all of which are in direct alignment with Wilmington University’s mission.”

About Zip Code Wilmington

Zip Code Wilmington, one of the first nonprofit coding schools in the country, is Delaware’s first coding school. We give our students an experience that fast-tracks them into a great career, at a great salary, and we do it in under a year. Our teachers have years of experience as professional software developers, ensuring our graduates are ready to succeed as a member of any software development team. Through alliances with area companies, some of which are household names, we’ve created a world-class curriculum that mirrors the real world. For more information, go

About HackerRank

HackerRank is a platform that ranks programmers based on coding skills and helps companies find talent faster. We’re driving a new paradigm shift by eliminating resumes and creating opportunities for hundreds of thousands of programmers worldwide. Developers looking to improve their skills should practice on Companies looking to hire coders based on skill should visit for more information.

About Wilmington UniversityWilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention are University hallmarks that enable greater student success in their chosen careers. For enrollment information, call 302-356-INFO (4636) or send email to Visit our website for additional information at

Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - New Castle, DE