Data shows that 2U-powered online graduate programs are delivering equitable educational experiences and positive career outcomes
LANHAM, Md. and Washington, D.C.—April 22, 2021—Today, Gallup and 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU) released the Positive Career Outcomes and Equitable Experiences: 2020 Gallup-2U Graduate Alumni Outcomes Study based on a survey of recent alumni from 2U partners’ online graduate degree programs. The study found that 97% of all alumni surveyed reported a positive career outcome after completing a 2U-powered online graduate degree—whether that was finding a more fulfilling career path, making a career or field change, receiving a promotion or a salary increase, or attaining up-to-date and relevant skills. These positive career outcomes were also the case for 94% of Black alumni and 97% of alumni who were the first generation in their families to attend or graduate from college.
“After a uniquely disruptive year for higher education, understanding the student experience has never been more important, and ensuring an equitable one is critical,” said Gallup Executive Director of Education Research Stephanie Marken. “Results released in the 2020 Gallup-2U study have confirmed that a high-quality, equitable, online learning experience is possible, but only when it is intentionally and thoughtfully designed. This research offers valuable insights about the experiences that matter most to the important short- and long-term outcomes students are seeking when enrolling in these programs.”
Additional key report findings include:
● Equitable Education Experiences: Black and first-generation alumni were just as likely as their white and non-first-generation counterparts to agree that their degree was worth the time, effort, and cost; and that they received the academic support and overall preparation needed for life after graduation.
● Career Fulfillment: A more meaningful career—not a salary increase or promotion—was the primary reason alumni of 2U-powered graduate programs pursued their degree. Alumni reported their top two reasons for enrolling in graduate school were the desire for a more fulfilling career (41%) and wanting to change their career (26%). Sizable majorities of white alumni (60%), Black alumni (58%), and alumni of other races and ethnicities (62%) specifically say they found more fulfilling careers after graduation.
● Increased Earnings: Although career fulfillment, not increased pay, was the most common motivation for pursuing a graduate degree, more than half of alumni (53%) reported a salary increase after graduation and 20% reported that their salaries have greatly increased. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of 2U partner program alumni are satisfied with their lives overall (69%) and rate their lives positively enough to be considered thriving.
As more Americans indicate a preference for online or hybrid higher ed programs, there is continued dialogue about how well historically underrepresented students in higher education are being served by online higher education programs. The 2020 Gallup-2U Graduate Alumni Outcomes Study adds important insights to the conversation and demonstrates that Black and first-generation alumni of 2U-powered online graduate degree programs are reporting equitable education experiences and positive career outcomes.
At the same time, the study found that after graduation, Black and first-generation alumni continue to experience inequities in the workforce related to pay and career advancement. To help empower more students with the support and resources necessary for career success, 2U recently announced an expansion of its Career Engagement Network, which will be available at no cost to every student and graduate of 2U-powered online degree and non-degree offerings beginning in July 2021.
“Building engaging and equitable online learning experiences with non-profit college and university partners is at the heart of 2U’s mission of eliminating the back row in higher education,” said David Sutphen, 2U’s Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer. “Today’s report shows that we’re delivering on this promise at scale, but also that the entire sector can do more to prepare students for a lifetime of career growth and fulfillment. The expansion of our Career Engagement Network is one way 2U is leveraging our ecosystem of employer partnerships and career development expertise to continue driving equity beyond the classroom and into the workforce.”
Building on 2U’s industry-leading boot camp career services model and degree-focused field placement network, 2U’s expanded Career Engagement Network will provide career and job relevant resources, tools, and recruiting opportunities to help students across 2U-powered programs pursue rewarding and meaningful employment opportunities. Last year, 2U’s workforce engagement team made more than 11,000 student referrals for roles in over 300 companies. To date, more than 35,000 graduates of 2U-powered boot camp programs across 54 universities have received access to 2U’s Career Engagement Network.
Visit 2U.com/gallup for more information and to download the study.
More about the 2020 Gallup-2U Graduate Outcomes Benchmark Study
As part of the quantitative and qualitative study commissioned by 2U, Gallup surveyed a statistically relevant sample of graduates from 2U-powered online degree programs about their experiences as students as well as their post-graduation careers and personal well-being. The survey was conducted from Oct. 7-Nov. 9, 2020. The report separately reported on experiences of alumni who identified as white, Black, and first-generation college goers. Results from alumni who identified as Hispanic, Asian, or as another race or ethnicity are not reported separately because of limited sample sizes. Today’s report is the second in a series of studies by Gallup and 2U following the first Gallup-2U Graduate Outcomes Benchmark Report released in March 2020.
About 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU)
Eliminating the back row in higher education is not just a metaphor—it's our mission. For more than a decade, 2U, Inc., a global leader in education technology, has been a trusted partner and brand steward of great universities. We build, deliver, and support more than 500 digital educational offerings, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certificates, Trilogy-powered boot camps, and GetSmarter short courses. Together with our partners, 2U has positively transformed the lives of more than 300,000 students and lifelong learners. To learn more, visit 2U.com. #NoBackRow
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
Learn more about us.
At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.