2U recognizes the importance of increasing transparency around our partnerships and the learning outcomes we deliver. We remain dedicated to leveraging transparent outcomes data to help make the entire higher education community stronger.
What is 2U’s Transparency Report?
At 2U, we believe it is important to provide transparency about our partnerships, the nature and quality of the education we deliver, and the great learner outcomes we produce together. Transparent outcomes data remain one of society’s best tools for evaluating how we are meeting learners’ needs with high-quality online education experiences, now and into the future.
To continue our commitment to transparency, we have released our 2021 Transparency Report, once again focused on six key pillars: University Oversight & Accountability, Marketplace Openness, Access, Affordability, Quality, and Outcomes. Our hope is that this report will lead to an improved, more informed dialogue about the role we play in helping our partners drive down the cost of education and create more accessible and affordable pathways for learners to unlock their full potential.
University Oversight & Accountability.
We value and respect the institutional independence of our nonprofit university partners. In degree-granting programs, our partners retain control over all core academic functions, which is consistent with accreditation requirements and critical to the success of our partnerships. The principles of institutional independence are also reflected in our degree program contract¹, which remained unchanged in 2021.
¹ This language is drawn from 2U’s standard degree program form contract and represents the spirit with which we approach our partnerships. Following negotiations with each university partner, the final, mutually agreed upon language may vary.
In our inaugural 2019 Transparency Report, we shared the comprehensive bundle of people- and tech-enabled services we provide to our university partners as well as our investment in their programs. We continue to provide those same services and investments today at scale, but now there’s more flexibility and customization to meet universities where they are. In 2021, across our portfolio of mature degree programs, our paid marketing expense was approximately 21% of the total tuition generated².
²Defined as paid marketing expense for our degree programs that have been operating for at least 3 years as a percentage of total tuition generated from such degree programs.
In 2021, the second year of COVID, remote work remained, as did an increased dependency on online goods and services. What were initially presumed to be temporary changes to conventional life in reaction to a global pandemic began to feel permanent. More and more people craved greater flexibility across all facets of their lives, including in education. Our portfolio of degree and non-degree offerings met this need for a diverse cross-section of learners, regardless of gender, race, age, or geography. Since inception, 2U-powered degree and non-degree offerings have served students from all 50 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, as well as 196 countries.³
³Data is self-reported, inception to December 31, 2021.
Our nonprofit university partners are responsible for setting tuition prices, admissions criteria, and the credit requirements and structure of their degree-granting programs. As part of 2U’s commitment to make these programs more affordable, we invest millions annually in scholarships, fellowships, and tuition reductions for students.
While our partners are the experts when it comes to their curriculum, we are their expert partner specializing in online and digital pedagogy. Together, we are capable of delivering life-changing education that far exceeds the emergency remote learning endured by so many in 2020.
In our more than a decade of experience, we have honed our skills in the science and art of teaching online. Students in 2U-powered programs reap the benefits through courses grounded in 2U’s Learning Experience Framework, a research- and learning science-supported approach to designing high-quality, engaging online education.
In 2019 and 2020, we partnered with Gallup to better understand the experiences learners have in the online graduate degree programs we offer with our partners. In 2021, we sought to do the same for the boot camps we power through our Gallup-2U Boot Camp Graduates Study.⁴ Based on self-reported data from a web survey with a sample of 3,824 respondents who graduated from 2U-powered boot camps, it is the largest and most comprehensive analysis of boot camp outcomes to date. For more information on Gallup’s methodology, please refer to the full report.