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News & Press

What USA Today Got Wrong About Morehouse and 2U

Written by Christopher "Chip" Paucek on Jun 1, 2023

Related content: Higher Education, University, Leadership

Today, USA Today published a story about 2U’s partnership with Morehouse College to support Morehouse Online: the undergraduate degree completion program launched in 2021. This is a first-of-its-kind online program that is giving Black men across the nation a chance to finish their undergraduate degrees, at half the cost of the on-campus program.

Unfortunately, the piece distorts common challenges faced by small, private colleges – both online and in traditional on-campus programs – as symptomatic of an Online Program Manager (OPM) partnership. It focuses on early operational issues, which are already actively being addressed by Morehouse, while ignoring the significance of the program’s audacious mission and early wins.

As a mission-driven higher education company, 2U’s core motivation is to help students better their lives through high-quality education. We want every student in our partners’ programs to have a positive experience. When we hear about student concerns, we do everything in our power to work together with our partners to iterate and improve.

Critically, Morehouse refunded any Morehouse Online student who was unable to pursue their chosen course of study. And it’s important to note that all of 2U’s degree partners maintain complete control over all core academic functions, including tuition pricing, admissions criteria, enrollment decisions, financial aid, instruction, curriculum, graduation requirements, degree conferrals, academic advising, and more.

As I told our staff earlier this week (you can read my full email below), we remain committed to this important partnership and to 2U and Morehouse’s shared vision to support the 3.4 million Black men in the United States who have earned some college credit, yet no degree.

The program only gets better from here.


2U Team -

You might already know that media outlets reporting on 2U frequently adopt a predetermined narrative. This perspective is largely influenced by entities that are critical of for-profit education. While this can be disheartening, it is the situation we find ourselves in.

The most recent example of this is an upcoming article in USA Today about our innovative partnership with Morehouse College. We have yet to see the article, but interactions with the reporters have been challenging. I am reaching out today to keep you informed and provide our perspective before the article is published. This is a new approach for us, but we believe in transparency with all of you. So here you go…

Our partnership with Morehouse is important and a priority for 2U, and for Morehouse. They are a great partner that is trying to change the world. This is their first venture into online education and 2U has much less experience with undergraduate education than it does other parts of the business. So this led to some real operational challenges as the program was getting up and running. There were concerns raised by students as the program got off the ground, which Morehouse is addressing through enhanced student communication, clearer policies, and key new faculty hires. We have stood behind Morehouse as much as possible to work for the benefit of students and faculty. Generally, both Morehouse and 2U are very pleased with the direction of the program, bumps aside.

It should not be a shock that this is hard work. It’s basically a startup - and startups are HARD. Changing the world is hard, but rewarding at the same time.

Unfortunately, we expect an article that greatly exaggerates these initial operational challenges and misrepresents 2U’s role in order to create an indictment of the OPM industry that’s not supported by the facts.

Back in Fall 2021, when Morehouse College partnered with 2U to launch Morehouse Online, we were driven by a shared commitment to support the 3.4 million Black men in the United States who have earned some college credit, yet hold no degree. This issue remains as relevant today as ever before. This is a national crisis—one that traditional higher education as a whole has struggled to address with scalable, meaningful solutions. By working with 2U, Morehouse has been able to offer degree completion at half the cost of their traditional on-campus program. HALF!

This program is totally unique - there are no others like it in the world. The program is affordably priced. The program is still very new. And most importantly, online students are just beginning to graduate! Morehouse should be commended for their daring vision and commitment.

The first students graduated from Morehouse Online earlier this month, and we stand proud and hopeful for what this signifies—not just for Morehouse and 2U, but for the future of education and the millions of lives we have the potential to transform.

Don’t let the skeptic win.


Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help partners thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.