The Anatomy of an OPM and a $7.7B Market in 2025

Part 1. Deconstructing the Online Program Management Model. How we got here, where it’s at and where it might head.

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Online degrees are one of the fastest growing areas of higher education. OPM providers help universities build, recruit for and deliver online programs. Revenue share is the dominant model with fee for service and hybrid relationships growing. 60+ operators in a $3B+ market growing at 17%.

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60+ Players. 4 Segments.

The global Online Program Management market is composed of four major segments based on focus, model and vertical. General OPM’s provide either bundled or unbundled services to universities. Specialist providers focus on specific disciplines, such as health, geographic focus or market segment. MOOC providers are taking on OPM-like service offerings, leveraging their strong communities, low cost of acquisition, proprietary software and deep university relationships and a few universities with expertise in online programs have either spun out these internal teams or offer their services to other universities.

The Anatomy of an OPM Research Note provides detailed data on OPM companies, transactions, market share, market size and business models.

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Online Education Growth

Today, more than six million students around the world pursue higher education fully online, representing a $30B market. While online students are still only about 15% of all higher education enrolments in the U.S and 10% in China, it’s an area that is likely to continue to grow and make up a larger piece of the post-secondary pie, given growing interest from students, more offerings from colleges, and increasing acceptance from employers.

The Anatomy of an OPM Research Note provides information on the global online HE market including market size estimates, field of study information and market share.

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$7.7B Market by 2025

The size of the global OPM market stands at $3b+ with 60+ OPMs worldwide. An increasing acceptance of online learning sees more universities launching online degrees, with the OPM market expected to reach $7.7b by 2025.

While OPM’s with full-service and fully integrated offerings maintain a strong value proposition, there is an increasing number choosing to offer unbundled, fee for service models, picking up those institutions who just need to plug gaps in their expertise or solve specific problems.

The Anatomy of an OPM Research Note provides information on key trends, business models and future scenarios for the OPM Market.

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Plenty of Market Activity

The Top 10 players make up over half of global OPM revenue with 50+ more making up the remainder. The US is the largest market by far. Big OPM players are a combination of publisher owned, OPM from the get go, long-term service providers and MOOC-originated.

It’s an active market with VC investment, acquisition and consolidation as well as one mega-IPO in the last few years. Pearson are powering away, 2U invested in Keypath, Wiley acquired Learning House, Seek acquired OES, Bisk continues to be a humble rock, Grand Canyon spun out and acquired Orbis, Emeritus raised $40m…and much more.

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4 OPM Scenarios in 2030

Emerging trends providing directional signals about the future shape of the OPM Market, which have been shaped into 4 OPM Scenarios for 2030 based on two of the most discussed OPM dimensions.

Outsource-Insource – Will Universities embrace the OPM and continue to ‘outsource’ the capabilities and resources OPMs offer, or will they seek to build those capabilities in-house and manage the entire online spectrum over the long-run?

Consolidation-Fragmentation – Will online higher education consolidate towards an oligopoly of global giants, akin to the broader technology sector or are we more likely see a highly disbursed and fragmented market of ‘suppliers’ that represent vendor relationships more than partnerships?

Where is this data coming from?

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