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Gallup-2U Report Benchmarks Online Graduate Degree Experiences and Outcomes

Written by 2U on Mar 24, 2020

Related content: Digital Education

Study Finds Alumni of Online Degree Programs Powered by 2U Felt Engaged and Academically Challenged and Have Thrived Post Graduation

Washington, D.C. -- March 24, 2020 -- Today, Gallup and 2U announced the release of their inaugural Gallup-2U Graduate Outcomes Benchmark Report, tracking how the experiences of alumni from online graduate degree programs powered by 2U compare with those of graduate students, both online and on-campus, across the U.S. As millions of students move online in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, this study makes clear that with the right technology, rigorous curricula, and faculty and student support, online degree programs can deliver outcomes comparable to, and in some cases better than, traditional campus-based programs.

“For years, many have assumed that online education was inferior to in-person delivery methods in providing an engaging, high-quality educational experience. This study conducted by Gallup and 2U suggests otherwise,” said Gallup Executive Director of Education Research Stephanie Marken in an article published on Gallup today. “The findings show that creating an engaging and rigorous experience online is not only possible, but in some cases can surpass in-person delivery. These results come at a time when nearly all higher education institutions are transitioning their in-person instruction to online amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.”

2U has spent over a decade helping top-tier non-profit universities move online and currently powers 73 online graduate degree programs across 26 disciplines. 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 October 2-31, 2019.

Alumni of 2U partner programs surveyed for the study reported strong academic experiences, job outcomes, and well-being. They were more likely than graduate students overall to have professors who excited them about learning, more likely to rate the overall quality of the faculty as excellent, and more likely to agree that they received the academic support they needed from faculty at their institutions. Additional key findings include:

- 77% strongly agree they had at least one professor at their graduate institution who excited them about learning, compared with 67% of recent post-secondary graduates nationally;

- 59% strongly agree they were challenged academically, compared with 54% of all post-secondary graduates nationally;

- 89% graduated within two years, compared with 56% of recent national graduate alumni;

- 86% reported they have thrived in at least one element of well-being post-graduation, as defined by Gallup;

- and 92% would still pursue an online graduate degree if they had to do it over again.

“At a moment when higher education institutions around the world are rapidly pivoting to move their degree programs online, the Gallup-2U study demonstrates that, when done right, online learning can be extremely high-quality and deliver great student outcomes,” said 2U Co-Founder and CEO Christopher “Chip” Paucek. “Our new report with Gallup provides important insights for the higher education community and policymakers on what it takes to build, deliver, and support truly great online education.”

The Gallup-2U Graduate Outcomes Benchmark Report is the inaugural release in a three-year study designed to better understand the quality and student outcomes delivered by 2U partners’ online degree programs. Gallup has been studying links between higher education experiences and post-completion outcomes over the past decade. The report is available to download at

About 2U

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 400 digital and in-person educational offerings, including 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 200,000 students and lifelong learners. To learn more, visit #NoBackRow

About Gallup

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.


Glenda Felden

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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.