ABCs to ATMs - The Case for Paying Students to Learn

Chapter 17: Future Prospects

The educational landscape stands at the cusp of a radical transformation, one that could redefine not just how students learn but also how communities grow, economies flourish, and nations prosper. Based on our pilot program in the summer of 2023, the initial signs are overwhelmingly positive. Despite the challenges—technical glitches, the short duration, and initial resistance—the transformation in student behavior and effort was striking, even within the brief span of three weeks. 

Academic and Societal Impacts

Our early trials suggest that the model could lead to unparalleled academic growth in the first year alone. Such an achievement would have a rippling impact on local economies, families, and, most importantly, on students—many of whom have felt lost and without direction due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But success can be just around the corner.

Getting Involved

Assessment Centers

To set up an assessment center, schools must commit to using the system for a minimum of three years. This ensures that the center will be viable and can be effectively staffed. Based on the size of the student population, schools pre-purchase assessments.


Outstanda cannot transform education in isolation. We need partnerships across various domains:

  • Identity Verification: To ensure the assessments are credible.
  • Financial Management: To handle the payouts to students and track their savings.
  • Technology: To maintain the digital infrastructure, especially as we scale.
  • Real Estate: To provide the physical locations for the assessment centers.
  • Translation: Native speakers who can test assessments in different languages.

Government Involvement

Governments at all levels need to be involved. Large businesses are attracted to regions where the workforce is highly skilled. State and local government support can give certain areas a competitive advantage in attracting high-paying jobs in the short term and fostering greater entrepreneurship in the longer term.

Governments also need to explore how a highly proctored learning gig environment can better demonstrate learning and mastery of important topics. Short, proctored assessments with a high degree of accountability better mimic the adult world of needing to show up and make progress in a job each day.

Why Partner with Us?

  • Financial Organizations: The firm that collaborates with us to provide debit cards to students will gain millions of new customers, who are likely to continue using their services throughout life.
  • Technology Partners: Assessment centers will need extensive hardware, support, and financing to build state of the art centers of learning.
  • Governments: An educated, skilled populace is the cornerstone of a thriving economy and a stable society.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools and colleges will benefit from a more motivated, well-prepared student body, reducing dropout rates and improving overall academic performance. 
  • Universities: By accepting coursework done in learning gigs, the universities will attract more students and reverse the current trend of fewer college-bound students.

The early adopters of this system will have a significant advantage. The scope for innovation is immense, and the societal impact could be revolutionary. As we look to the future, the next steps involve meticulous planning, strategic partnerships, and carefully designed pilot programs. With collective effort, the potential for transformative change is not just possible—it’s inevitable.

Start Making Small Impacts

This is a big proposed change. One that could redefine learning, empower students, and transform communities in profound ways. The Outstanda model, built on the principle of paying students for their academic achievements, offers an innovative approach to solving long-standing issues in education – disengagement, inequity, and inefficiency.  The good thing is very slow adoption is possible, beginning with a course or two and growing from there.

By aligning financial incentives with academic milestones over time, we not only enhance motivation but also pave the way for more personalized, mastery-based learning experiences. The financial viability of this model has been demonstrated through data-backed analyses, and its potential socio-economic impacts on communities are not just beneficial but transformative.

Call to Action

For Educators

Reimagine your role. You are not just teachers but mentors, coaches, and gatekeepers to new financial opportunities for your students. Your role becomes even more impactful under this system. Transition from a threat of bad grades to a gatekeeper of financial incentives. Contact us to find out about certification in our program.  (And yes, of course you get paid to learn in our program.)

For Policymakers: 

Recognize the potential for systemic change. Here is a model that could fundamentally alter the trajectory of our educational system for the better. It deserves your attention, scrutiny, and ultimately, your support.

For Stakeholders and Potential Partners:

Whether you’re in the technology sector, financial services, or local government – there’s a role for you to play in this educational transformation. Early adopters will not just be investing in a business opportunity but in the future of our society.

For Parents and Students:

Paying someone for the work they do is an important way to show respect and acknowledge someone’s value. Teachers, administrators, and students all deserve a respectful environment and a common positive purpose. Contact your school and ask to have Outstanda included as part of the program.

For Everyone: 

This is not charity or handouts. Students are only paid for the work they complete.  The benefits of a more educated, motivated, and financially secure youth will pay dividends in every sector and stratum of society. This is our collective future, and it’s in our hands to shape it.

Let’s Connect

The path to widespread educational reform is complex and laden with challenges. But it is a journey worth taking. To learn more about how you can be a part of this transformation, please reach out.

Contact Information:

Ron McDaniel,
Founder of Outstanda, an Ohio Nonprofit  

Email: [email protected]

We are at a pivotal moment in history where we have the tools, the data, and the vision to make sweeping changes in the way we educate our youth. The only question remaining is, will you be a part of it?

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Ron McDaniel
Author of “ABCs to ATMs”
[email protected]