EDU news curated by Kiosk: OPM market disruption… and other higher ed news

2U, USC Curtail Online Partnership

From Inside Higher Education: “Southern California and the online program manager will part ways (after 15 years) on master’s degrees that became a target of scrutiny because of their high price. … The parties said they would continue to collaborate on a hybrid online clinical program for USC’s division of biokinesiology and physical therapy program but that USC would assume sole responsibility over the next 18 months for the ‘delivery and administration of services’ for programs in the university’s schools of education and social work and its entrepreneurship academy.”


2U/edX’s Disastrous Q3: Split with USC, Layoffs, and Pearson’s OPM Portfolio Takeover

From “2U announced its 2023 Q3 results, sending its stock price plummeting more than 50% … Previously, 2U planned to launch 50 degrees, but this target has now been increased for 2024…2U announced the launch of 50 new online degrees in partnership with six universities. A quick search revealed that some of these universities were previously associated with Pearson. In March, Pearson sold its Online Program Management (OPM) business to Regent, a private equity firm. This business generated £155 million in revenue but suffered £26 million in adjusted operating losses in 2022. These figures seem to align with the $120 million revenue 2U anticipates at “steady state” for its newly acquired programs.”


Merger of Online Program Companies Suggests ‘Reset’ in the Market

From Inside Higher Education: “The tumultuous online program management market got another shake-up with Academic Partnerships’ $150 million deal to acquire Wiley’s online education business … The deal is expected to close in early 2024 … Wiley declined an interview with Inside Higher Ed, but its interim CEO, Matthew Kissner, said in an emailed statement that the move helps it move toward a ‘simpler’ model. The company bought its way into the OPM space in 2012 with the purchase of Deltek, followed by Learning House in 2018. The latter deal made Wiley one of the largest OPMs at the time, with 60 university partners and more than 700 online programs.”


The New Plague on Campus: Loneliness

From Inside Higher Education: “Surgeon General Vivek Murthy launched his ‘We Are Made to Connect’ campus tour last month, highlighting the role colleges can play in curing the loneliness epidemic … The Duke visit launched the surgeon general’s planned month long tour of college campuses across the country to talk up his ‘5-for-5 Connection Challenge,’ in which he encourages students to take five actions for five consecutive days that express gratitude, offer support or ask someone for help.”


Capitol Hill Targets Legacy Preferences for College Admissions

From Wall Street Journal: “Senators are taking fresh aim at legacy and donor preferences for admission to college, as advantages given to certain students and groups come under increasing scrutiny following a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the use of race in college admissions.  A bill introduced by Sens. Todd Young (R., Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D., Va.)—called the MERIT Act—would try to end legacy admissions at colleges and universities. The bipartisan legislation would add a new standard for accreditation under the Higher Education Act that would prohibit institutions from giving preferential treatment during the admissions process based on an applicant’s relationship to alumni or donors.”


Could the Emerging Use of A.I. in Schools be the Next Digital Divide?

Frm “As this technology booms, questions of educational justice and ethics arise, such as: What ethical ways can A.I. be used to boost student learning and not replace it? What can be done to eliminate the bias coded within AI programs? And will students of color and those from low-income households have equitable access? The data paints a sobering picture: Research shows the divides in access to computers and broadband fall along racial and economic lines and that  A.I. algorithms exhibit biases.”


The U.S. Wants Colleges to Fix a ‘Broken’ System for Transfer Students

From The Chronicle: “The department (U.S Education) released new data highlighting the colleges and states with the most effective transfer rates and systems, and how their practices can be models for others…Although 40 percent of students transfer at some point in their postsecondary education, they lose more than 40 percent of their credits when they do, according to the Education Department. Furthermore, while almost 80 percent of community-college students intend to earn bachelor’s degrees, only 16 percent of them do so within six years. That rate is even lower for low-income students and students of color.”


US hosted over one million international students last year

From The PIE: “There were over one million international students in the US during the 2022/23 academic year, marking a 12% increase on the previous year and a near-return to pre-pandemic levels…The Open Doors 2023 report on international educational exchange, released by the US State Department and the Institute of International Education, showed new enrolments exceeded pre-pandemic levels with over 298,000 international students starting programs last year.” 


White House says 5.5M borrowers enrolled in Biden’s new student loan plan

From Politico: “About 2.9 million of the borrowers enrolled in the plan have incomes that are low enough that they are not required to make a monthly payment this year. … An administration official said that more than 2 million people enrolled in the plan are borrowers who newly signed up for Biden’s program in the past several months while the other borrowers were automatically enrolled in the new plan because they had already been enrolled in the previous version of it. The Education Department said that the 5.5 million borrowers enrolled in the SAVE plan account for about $300 billion of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding federal student loan debt. The department also said that 75 percent of borrowers enrolled in the SAVE plan had previously received a Pell grant.”


University of Phoenix’s Accreditor Approves Deal With Idaho

From Inside Higher Education: “The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits the University of Phoenix roughly 500 other colleges across the United States, has formally approved the for-profit university’s acquisition by a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Idaho…the commission’s Board of Trustees, among a series of actions taken at its meeting this month, approved what it calls a ‘change of control, structure or organization’ for Phoenix, in which Four Three Education, Inc., the nonprofit organization created by Idaho, will acquire ‘substantially all of the assets of the institution, thereby becoming the superordinate entity of the institution.’”

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