Saturday, June 25, 2022

HEI Investigation: Academic Partnerships

In 2022, Online Program Managers (OPMs) are being scrutinized like their predecessors, for-profit colleges, in the early 2000s.  2U, one of the leaders in the industry, has been particularly singled out as a predatory company, working with elite schools like the University of Southern California, and selling their overpriced master's degrees.  

Before that, Kaplan Higher Education and Kaplan Higher Education gained attention for selling off their for-profit schools but maintaining the management services for Purdue University Global and University of Arizona Global.  

In this media attention on OPMs, a few companies have been able to avoid much scrutiny, with Academic Partnerships flying below the national media radar for years.  

Academic Partnerships (AP) is a mature online program manager that claims to serve more than 50 universities, most regional state universities.  The Higher Education Inquirer could only find about half that number. AP also claims to "help universities grow"--without providing much evidence.  In some cases, these lesser brand schools have been facing decreasing enrollment and revenues-- and it's not apparent how much AP can help them in the long run.  

What we do know is that the OPM receives about half of all the revenues for their work, which includes cheaper privatized marketing, advertising--and recruitment services from enrollment specialists spread across the US. 

AP's sales pitch is that they can transform their partner universities and help provide reasonably priced degrees in lucrative career fields (such as RN to BSN programs), but is this happening with all the online degree programs offered? And would some consumers be better off choosing a local community college? 

AP's partner universities include: 

Arkansas State University
Avila University
Boise State University
Carleton University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Washington University
Emporia State University
Florida International University
Louisiana State University Shreveport
Norfolk State University
Northern Kentucky University
Pittsburg State University
Radford University
St. Cloud State University
Southern Illinois University
Southern Oregon University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Texas A&M (International University)
University of Illinois Springfield
University of Maine at Presque Isle
University of North Carolina Pembroke
University of Texas at Arlington
University of West Florida
William Paterson University
Youngstown State University

If you teach or study online at one of these AP university partners, what have you observed?  

  • Do instructors maintain the rights to the content they have created?  
  • What are the online classes like compared to face-to-face courses?  
  • What are graduation rates for these online students compared to on campus students?
  • How much debt do former online students have compared to on campus students?  
  • What kind of jobs are former online students getting compared to on campus students? 
  • Are former online students able to pay off these debts?  


Related link: "The Private Side of Public Universities: Third-party providers and platform capitalism"

Related link: HEI Investigation: EducationDynamics

Related link: 2U Virus Expands College Meltdown to Elite Universities

Related link: Purdue University and Its Subprime College Cousin Committing Fraud 

Related link: Online Program Manager for University of Arizona Global Campus Facing Financial Collapse 




Anonymous said...

AP classes at my school are basically the same as other online classes without a live meeting session. They might be even a little better bc instructors meet w a designer who helps with Blackboard and accessibility and meeting certain standards. Pass rates seem to be the same as with other online courses. The students already have full time work and are older. For many it's finishing a degree or trying to change careers or get a higher position. Probably less debt bc the courses are cheaper, but don't know. We don't retain the rights to the classes.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are referring to Zovio which sold to U of Az global. What a mess

Dahn Shaulis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dahn Shaulis said...

No, I'm referring to Academic Partnership's partner public universities which are becoming defacto online for-profit colleges.

Glen S. McGhee said...

What "standards"? There are NO standards for high school AP, and OOF (out-of-field) teaching is a PROBLEM. Even IN-field AP can be a problem for instructors staffed at the last minute, right?

Glen S. McGhee said...

OPMs and online instruction are the end of the world as we know it.
The Digital Apocalypse eclipses what we used to know, all because the "traditional student" stopped showing up and "non-traditional students" took their place but only because the enrollment-maw just kept getting bigger and bigger.
What a huge mess! Who wants to hire a 40 year old with an online degree but no experience? No one!
The whole point of the "traditional" higher education pathway was the entry-level jobs for 4 year grads. The non-traditional bandwagon ignores that -- because degree production is decoupled from job markets so COMPLETELY.