“The time is right for community colleges and universities to work together to provide a marketplace solution that helps community college students realize their potential.”
— Sean O'Brien, Founder at Affordable College
Sean is a mission-driven, design thinking leader who’s been studying the college affordability and transfer problems for years. He’s still asking questions about them such as: why are low income students turning away from college, why are students not ready for college, and especially, why do students lose credits when they transfer. After founding or launching related partnership models including most recently The National Transfer Network while
at Ashworth College, he believes the time is right for community colleges and universities to work together to
provide a marketplace solution that helps community college students realize their potential.
He most recently served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ashworth College, where he drove the formation of the National Transfer Network to provide students with a flexible pathway to an affordable, recognized
bachelor’s degree. Sean is also the owner of The College Transfer Pathways LinkedIn Group. The role of the group is to ask questions, share original content and research, and propose and discuss solutions on promoting affordability through college transfer pathways.
Previous to joining Ashworth, O’Brien became known as a leading expert on education for athletes. He founded Educate Athletes in 2010 to provide coaches and other leaders with the newest online education resources available. Partnering with high quality education partners, Educate Athletes helped students improve academic outcomes and earn NCAA scholarships. Of importance to current efforts with Affordable College, O’Brien launched and operated a successful partnership with Altius Education’s Ivy Bridge College branded as “America’s #1 Transfer School” where he first learned about the opportunities and challenges of an affordable
2-year college pathway. His first company, Perfect Competition was recognized as a major center for training professional athletes listing clients such as Frank Gore (NFL), Maurice Jones Drew (NFL), Miguel Cabrera (MLB), Ryan Howard, (MLB), Ed Belfour (NHL), and hundreds of others. Immediately before joining Ashworth College, Sean helped the digital marketing leaders at Market Motive develop a national partnership network in global higher
education, during which time he also became an Online Marketing Certified Professional.
Between 1994 and 2002, O’Brien spent 8 years as a professional hockey player throughout North America and Europe including time in the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and LA Kings organizations. He is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Economics and also a graduate of The Roxbury Latin School.