Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal

Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Posted: 29 Jun 2021 04:00 AM PDT Education-technology company 2U Inc., which runs graduate programs for dozens of top universities, is buying web-based course provider edX, a nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for $800 million. The deal combines two major players in online instruction as universities around the world push more aggressively into digital offerings. Many schools scrambled to shift courses online when the pandemic shut campuses last year, and they are now expected to build on—and polish—the programs. The sale proceeds will go to a nonprofit, to be run by Harvard and MIT, that the schools say will focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-acc

The Best Online Colleges - 24/7 Wall St.

The Best Online Colleges - 24/7 Wall St.

The Best Online Colleges - 24/7 Wall St.

Posted: 04 May 2021 12:00 AM PDT

Special Report

The COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly every part of daily life in America, including the way Americans got educated. Schools had to decide whether to keep students in classrooms with safety measures implemented, go fully online, or switch to a hybrid model. 

While these changes were especially difficult for younger students, some colleges already had experience in educating students online. In the fall of 2019, more than 36% of college students took either some or all of their courses online. And just like in-person education, quality varies among online schools and some universities offer much higher quality online education than others.

To determine the best online colleges, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on academics, admissions, finance, alumni earnings, and student life from school data clearinghouse Niche.

Different types of schools rank among the best online colleges — from two-year community colleges to large public institutions. Some schools prefer to teach the majority of their students online, while others excel at distance learning even though the majority of their students prefer to learn in person. 

The best online colleges also vary widely in terms of cost, from a few that cost under $11,000 to one with an average cost of attendance of more than $63,000. Ideally, any person who gets a college degree will boost their future earnings, but there is not always a correlation between tuition and future income. In fact, in each state, there is at least one college that is relatively inexpensive that can massively benefit its graduates down the road. These are the most affordable colleges with the best outcomes in every state.

Click here to see the best online colleges.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.

Network for Online Course Sharing Launches to Boost Community College Enrollment and Completion - PRNewswire

Posted: 27 May 2021 10:30 AM PDT

CHANDLER, Ariz., May 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The League for Innovation in the Community College, an international nonprofit organization serving community colleges, has announced an ambitious initiative to significantly expand the availability of online courses at community colleges. Built in collaboration with Acadeum, the pioneering developer of an online course sharing platform, the newly created League for Innovation Online Course Sharing Consortium will enable community colleges to increase access to high-quality, credit-bearing online courses to help students stay on track to completion.

"This new consortium will help community colleges better meet learners' needs by arranging student access to courses that are unavailable at their home institutions," said Cynthia Wilson, Vice President for Learning and Chief Impact Officer for the League for Innovation in the Community College. "This initiative is also about harnessing the collective expertise and capacity of community colleges to improve flexibility in scheduling for students seeking in-demand courses."

The need for high-quality online courses and student-centric pathways has increased as learners navigate a rapidly changing labor market and the broader challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently reported that enrollment in associate's degree programs decreased by 10.9 percent over the past year. According to a New America survey, the number one reason students chose not to enroll was the demands of full- or part-time work. The consortium will allow institutions to offer credit-bearing courses at times and in modalities that are convenient for working learners.

Community colleges can participate in the League's course sharing consortium as home institutions, which gives their students access to other members' online courses. They can also join as teaching institutions, allowing other consortium members to enroll students in their online courses with excess capacity and generating additional revenue. Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania is the first school to join the consortium as a teaching institution.

Courses offered through the consortium will count fully toward GPA, financial aid, and graduation requirements at students' home institutions, which helps to support students on their path to completion. The consortium also avoids many of the inefficiencies of transfer and articulation, which can lead to wasted credits, lost time, and increased student expenses.

"The youth and adult learners we serve have complex, full lives that have been further complicated by the pandemic," said Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, President of Montgomery County Community College. "Sharing access to our quality courses will assist partner community colleges in supporting learners along their path to certificate and degree completion. The consortium will enhance the learning experience and provide much-needed resources for students."

In recent years, the consortial model for online course sharing has steadily grown in popularity with institutions, systems, and higher education associations, such as the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas and the Council of Independent Colleges. Acadeum's course sharing platform has helped more than 14,000 students save over $30 million and accelerate their path to completion.

"For millions of students, their local community college represents a bridge to educational and economic empowerment," said Josh Pierce, CEO and co-founder of Acadeum. "This work is about building the infrastructure for community colleges to collaborate and share their strengths. We are excited to support the League in meeting this profound responsibility, allowing students to access additional courses to help them achieve their educational and professional goals."

The consortium is open to any member of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Community colleges can join the League to gain access to the consortium and other member benefits. Members interested in participating in course sharing as a home or teaching institution can visit https://go.acadeum.com/league_ocsc.

About the League for Innovation in the Community College
The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. The League serves as a catalyst for introducing and sustaining deep, transformational innovation within and across colleges and international borders to increase student success and institutional excellence. Founded in 1968 by B. Lamar Johnson and a dozen U.S. community and technical college presidents, the League has proudly served community college institutions for over 50 years. Through these years, the League has sponsored more than 200 conferences, institutes, seminars, and workshops; published over 200 reports, monographs, periodicals, and books; led more than 160 research and demonstration projects; and provided numerous other resources and services to the community college field. To learn more about the League, visit www.league.org.

About Acadeum
Acadeum helps colleges and universities create academic partnerships with like-minded institutions to support student progress and equitable access. Today, more than 380 higher-ed institutions use Acadeum's course-sharing network to place students in online courses they need to stay on track for timely graduation. Institutions gain new revenue from courses they offer through the network, by sharing tuition dollars from courses taken by their students, and by keeping at-risk students enrolled. To learn more about Acadeum, please visit acadeum.com.

SOURCE Acadeum

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Grace College Online freezes tuition after 2nd record enrollment period in a row - WANE

Posted: 26 May 2021 05:41 PM PDT

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (WANE) – Grace College Online is celebrating record new student enrollment for the second enrollment period in a row by freezing its online tuition.

Last week, the school said it nearly doubled its all-time high summer enrollment of new students. This follows its record enrollment for new students this past spring. As a result of the strong demand for online and adult education, Grace is freezing its online tuition, which was reduced by nearly 20% across the board last May.

"We have decided to keep our tuition reduction in place because it's proven to be successful in helping more students go with Grace," said Kourtney Sumner, director of graduate and online admissions at Grace College. "Furthering your education as an adult often comes with many obstacles. But we are dedicated to removing as many of those obstacles as we can, and the cost is an important place to start."

The online bachelor's degree-completion programs in business administration, psychology, ministry studies and human services have seen tremendous growth in the last year, the college said. The Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling has also seen its numbers rise and recently announced its eight-year CACREP accreditation extension.

"It's been neat to see so many of our high-quality programs gain traction and really take off," said Dr. Tim Ziebarth, dean of professional and online education at Grace. "We repeatedly hear from our graduates that the convenience of our online programs coupled with the highly engaged and caring faculty make our programs ideal for virtual learners."

Grace College Online's next enrollment period is now open for fall programs starting Aug. 23. To apply, visit online.grace.edu/apply.

"If you've been searching for Christ-centered online higher education, now is the time to apply to Grace College Online," Sumner said. "You will find that our core distinctives as an institution — a Christ-centered community, thoughtful scholarship and career preparation — are not limited to our residential programs. They will meet you wherever you are through a Grace Online degree."

To learn more about the online programs through Grace College, visit online.grace.edu/programs.

Community colleges launch consortium to share online classes - Inside Higher Ed

Posted: 27 May 2021 12:02 AM PDT

Hundreds of community colleges could one day share online courses after the launch of a new network called the League for Innovation Online Course Sharing Consortium.

The League for Innovation in the Community College, a nonprofit membership group whose mission is to cultivate innovation in community colleges, announced the launch of the new online course-sharing consortium today.

The course-sharing consortium will be open to League for Innovation in the Community College members to join. The membership group currently has a few hundred institutional members, most of which are based in the U.S., but some of which are also located internationally.

The League for Innovation Online Course Sharing Consortium will work with a company, Acadeum, to establish online course-sharing partnerships between participating institutions. The company will provide a course-sharing platform as well as administrative support to the consortium.

Consortium Members

The following community colleges are currently participating in the newly formed League for Innovations Online Course Sharing Consortium:

  • Austin Community College in Texas
  • Lamar Institute of Technology in Texas
  • Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania
  • Tarrant County Community College in Texas
  • Yavapai Community College in Arizona

"This new consortium will help community colleges better meet learners' needs by arranging student access to courses that are unavailable at their home institutions," said Cynthia Wilson, vice president for learning and chief impact officer for the League for Innovation in the Community College, in a statement. "This initiative is also about harnessing the collective expertise and capacity of community colleges to improve flexibility in scheduling for students seeking in-demand courses."

University and college consortia that enable institutions to share resources have existed for decades, but there are relatively few higher ed consortia dedicated to online course sharing. Even fewer were specifically created to support online course sharing for community colleges. The leaders of the League for Innovation Online Course Sharing Consortium believe their network is the first to facilitate online course sharing for community colleges at a national level. 

By acting as an intermediary between institutions that are sharing online courses, Acadeum can reduce many of the headaches associated with course sharing for college administrators, instructors and students, said Joshua Pierce, co-founder and CEO of the company.

Acadeum draws up partnership agreements between participating institutions, ensures all the necessary state rules and accreditation requirements are being met, and handles finances so that students can continue paying tuition to their home institution, even as they take classes that are delivered by another institution. Course sharing within the new consortium is likely to be up and running this fall, said Pierce. 

Acadeum manages dozens of consortia comprised of four-year institutions. But it previously had just one consortium for public two-year institutions -- a network of community colleges in Texas called Digitex. Digitex, also known as the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas, covers 50 community college districts in the state. Of those, 18 are currently active in sharing online courses through the partnership between Acadeum and Digitex, but more may join in the future.

So far, five community colleges have signed up to participate in the League for Innovation Online Course Sharing Consortium, including two Texas-based community colleges that already participate in class sharing through Digitex. Four of the institutions that have signed up to participate in the new national course-sharing consortium will be offering their existing online classes to students from other member institutions. One, the Lamar Institute of Technology in Texas, will not offer any online classes but has indicated interest in its students attending classes taught by the other institutions. 

The Lamar Institute of Technology joined the consortium in order to provide additional courses to students to meet pathway initiatives and address human capital issues, said a spokesperson for Acadeum in an email. The institution told Acadeum that it was having particular difficulty finding enough qualified math instructors and that it later hopes to offer online technology courses through the consortium.

Establishing course-sharing partnerships between community colleges, particularly when they are located in different states with their own regulations and requirements as well as different tuition pricing, is more complex than establishing partnerships between four-year institutions, said Pierce. Community colleges often have a lot of autonomy, and there are multiple offices dealing with student billing and other administrative functions, he said.

The success of Digitex's partnership with Acadeum was central to getting members of the League for Innovation in the Community College on board with the idea that online course sharing could work among their member institutions, said Rufus Glasper, president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College.

"Acadeum came to us and believed this model was replicable and scalable -- they wanted to try and take it nationwide," said Glasper.

Community colleges had a very difficult year in 2020 and are still trying to figure out how to encourage many of the students who dropped out of college or delayed their attendance to come back, said Glasper. College completion is a central goal of the consortium, he said.

"Twenty twenty is being talked about as the 'lost generation' of community college students," said Glasper. "It might take us a period of five years or more to get back on track."

By offering classes from other institutions in the League, students can access educational opportunities that might not be offered at their home institution, said Glasper. They can also have increased flexibility.

From the college's perspective, sharing online courses allows institutions to use their resources much more efficiently, said Pierce. It can also provide support if an instructor suddenly becomes ill or an institution has difficulty hiring qualified individuals.

"The timing of this consortium is great," said Glasper. "It's an opportunity for us to see what impact course sharing might have in terms of enrollment and offering the flexibility that the colleges would like to have."


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