Now 2,627+ OPM, Bootcamp and Pathways Partnerships with Universities globally

Slower partnership growth for the first half of 2022 with 186 new OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnerships. Another ‘post-COVID’ transition?

Education Intelligence Unit

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July 15, 2022

Public Private Partnership growth in Higher Education slowed in 1H 2022. Meanwhile Universities and Colleges now collectively hold over 2,627 academic partnerships with OPMs, Bootcamps and Pathways.

That’s not 2,627 individual programs, that’s 2,627 unique relationship between a University and a private OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partner, from which 15,000+ programs (courses) are developed and delivered.

Higher Education is in long term transition. Digital transformation, demographic enrolment declines, degree unbundling, hyper-competition (online and offline) and reduced funding are among some of the biggest challenges facing colleges and universities around the world, some markets and institutions more impacted than others.

A post-COVID rebound does not appear to be occurring, neither is the long thought of economic ‘counter cyclicality’. Meanwhile, a generation of students may be weighing the value of college versus its cost, reflected in our 2020 ‘downgrade’ driven by an outlook of long-term global ‘tuition deflation’ and demand slowly but progressively diverting towards micro-credentials and professional certifications.

As Universities move through this transition, as are their private partners. Last quarter’s report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of US Congress) acknowledged that as enrollment in online education continues to grow, colleges are increasingly looking to private partners to help them develop and deliver their online programs. Both of the study’s major recommendations seek to improve clarity, reporting and transparency from colleges on their public-private partnership arrangements.

Most major OPMs around the world have released their own transparency initiatives and reports over the last few years, with many in the sector now hoping their national regulators and Universities themselves will follow up and close the transparency loop. While the focus of late, specifically in the US, has been on the nature of the relationship between Universities and their private partners, we hope and expect more sophisticated and contemporary reporting and transparency will be developed and in turn required of all post-secondary and higher education institutions. More, better quality data on post-secondary learning access, costs and outcomes is critical to informing innovation and a key step for governments and regulators around the world to unleash the potential of their people and economy.

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Pausing to reflect the cumulative impact. 2,627 Deans, Provosts, Presidents and Vice Chancellors later...

HolonIQ has been tracking the evolution of academic public-private partnerships with much greater emphasis over the past 5 years. Our global higher education network of over 3,000 university leaders from more than 50 countries, together with government and private sector leaders and professionals shaping the future of higher education, have been very focused on the growth in new partnerships.

To that end, our primary visualization to communicate these trends (the chart above, not the one below) has focused on the number of new partnerships established each quarter/half/year. With the slow-down we have seen in the first half of 2022 and the regulatory focus in the US, we thought it was timely to zoom out on the cumulative number of partnerships established over the last 10+ years to see how vast the trend of academic public-private partnerships has now become (the chart below).

Regardless of whether you sit on the public or private side of the partnership, those with experience forging these relationships know the level of intensity, scrutiny and energy that goes into building them. The chart above not only reflects the emergence and evolution of academic public-private-partnerships in higher education, but also the buy, build or partner decision contemplated by 2,627 Deans, Provosts, Presidents or Vice Chancellors seeking to defend, protect, grow and/or accelerate their institutional objectives.

We’ll be deep diving higher education and academic public-private partnerships through the second half of 2022 as our global summits return around the world. Join our University Workshops or attend one of 15 summits from New York and London to Singapore, Bengaluru and beyond.

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