The $7B Global OPM and Academic PPP Market

OPMs, Pathways, Bootcamps and now ‘Education-as-a-Benefit’. Academic Program Focused Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Higher Education are growing rapidly and COVID-19 will only accelerate this 30 year trend.

OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB1

Universities have formed 924 Public-Private Partnerships (PPP's) over the last 20 years to stand-up new and innovative academic programs. This landscape of 100+ private players compete in a now $7B, and by 2025 $15B global market. COVID-19 will substantially accelerate this trend.

After two decades of growth, academically focused Public Private Partnerships in Higher Education represent a large and fast-growing market across three main areas – Online Degree Programs, International Pathways and more recently Bootcamps and even ‘Education-as-a-Benefit’ solutions.

Recognising these adjacencies, OPMs have been acquiring Bootcamps, however their Pathways peers have been slow to evolve, with Shorelight’s ‘Live’ platform the exception. Traditional pathways providers are no doubt reflecting on their lack of digital integration given COVID-19 and what this might mean in the medium and longer term for their business model.

Players like Guild and InStride are shaping the ‘education-as-a-benefit’ market, connecting degree programs with employers seeking to leverage tuition reimbursement. We are yet to quantify this emerging segment and, while it’s not yet clearly PPP in nature, this is an adjacency to watch.

‘MOOC’ players like Coursera, EdX and FutureLearn have more high volume ‘Platform’ like characteristics and as such are only included for accredited full degree and long form certificates.

More so today (COVID-19) than ever, Universities around the world are increasingly seeking private partners to rapidly build capability, to boost and differentiate their offerings, accelerate growth and achieve long-term sustainability. As such, Private Equity and Capital Markets are watching the Academic PPP segment closely.

OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB1

Universities are accelerating the formation of PPPs in Online, International, Tech and Employer Benefit Segments

Number of New University Partnerships (PPPs) established with OPMs, Pathways and Bootcamps. 2000 – Q1 2020.

OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB

What is an Academic PPP?

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have grown over the last 50 years across many public sectors such as Infrastructure, Healthcare, Education and more recently even Space.

Whilst there is no single, internationally accepted definition of Public-Private Partnership, it is by nature a long-term contract between a private party and a public entity, for providing an asset or service, in which the private party bears risk and management responsibility, and where remuneration is linked to performance.

An ‘Academic PPP’ is distinct from other types of Higher Education PPP’s in that the private party is involved in academic delivery and, in many cases, academic outcomes of the program. However, there are a myriad of models that operate in the Academic PPP space which continue to evolve.

OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB
OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB2

Global OPM and Academic PPP Landscape

This landscape combines pure-play OPMs, International Pathways, Bootcamp University Partnerships with adjacent and emerging models that together make up the Global Academic PPP Landscape.


HolonIQ’s Open Source OPM/OPX Capability Framework

With feedback from our 2,000+ member Global Executive Panel, we have built an Open Source 16-Point Capability Framework to benchmark Universities as well as OPM and OPX landscape players.

The framework identifies sixteen capability or core competency blocks that an organization requires in order to effectively and sustainably design, develop and deliver online higher education.

OPX Market Update - Apr 2020 v6 PB4

Exclusive to HolonIQ Customers

Want the full analysis? Become a HolonIQ customer.

This analysis is the third in our deep-dive on the OPM market and available to HolonIQ customers. HolonIQ’s Market Intelligence Platform is the world’s smartest source of global education intelligence.

Where is this data coming from?

HolonIQ is the world's leading impact intelligence platform. We support governments, institutions, firms and investors, with data insights to power decisions that matter. If you are not already a client, request a demo to learn more about our platform.
Complex abstract graph background

Related Research

100 Universities established an OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnership in Q1 2022

1 May 2022. 

Bootcamps are directing more resources B2B and B2G, OPMs are growing existing partnerships further and evolving their technology and healthcare programs.

Digital Capability in Higher Education. 2022 Global Insights.

4 February 2022. 

334 Higher Education Industry Leaders from 41 countries shared their latest reflections about digital capability in higher education. Our annual survey updates the global picture of performance, gaps and priorities.

594 Universities established an OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnership in 2021

1 February 2022. 

86% of Global Universities established a revenue sharing relationship with their OPM partner.

Exploring Higher Education Digital Transformation in 2022

28 January 2022. 

HolonIQ’s Higher Education series continues with 5 new webinars.