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The Online Program Management Market

32EDU is a leading global source of information about the OPM industry. Get in touch today to see how we can help you understand this industry with consulting or proprietary data. Hundreds of companies around the world are participating in the market by partnering with universities to design and deliver online programs. Download our comprehensive map of the market in 2022 here.

The Global OPM Market

A $6.1B market this year, the OPM market is expected to grow at almost a 13% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to become an $11.1B market in 2027, and further, grow to become a $17.6B in 2030.

The Size of the Global OPM Market

A $6.1B this year, the OPM market is expected to grow at almost a 13% CAGR to become an $11.1B market in 2027, and further grow to become a $17.6B in 2030.

Online program managers (OPMs) are companies that partner with universities

to design and deliver online degree and non-degree programs. These companies,

which first started popping up about 25 years ago, have grown to become a useful

tool in universities' toolboxes as they seek ways to increase their online presence in

light of tightening university budgets. Data has shown that these partnerships do result in marked performance improvements for their university partners to the tune of a 50% boost for graduate programs as well as almost a 3X boost for undergraduate programs [1]. The landscape of companies operating in the space has traditionally been dominated by a few giants in the United States, notably 2U, Academic Partnerships, Bisk, Keypath, Pearson, and Wiley. Things are changing, however, as the unbundling of these arrangements has led to a drastic expansion in the potential market fit for companies that had operated on the fringes. For example, HolonIQ's Digital Capability Framework has identified more than 70 discreet functions that are involved (or can be involved) in the process of designing and delivering an online program {2}. Also, the increased adoption of online higher education in markets outside the United States (and traditional leading higher education markets like Australia, Canada, and the UK) has created a new crop of potential university partners for OPMs.

 

These relationships have not gone unnoticed, however. India and the United States, the two largest OPM markets in the world have both seen calls for increased regulatory attention towards the sector in recent months. Much of the negative attention can either be attributed to concerns about quality and curriculum or concerns about revenue-sharing agreements. In these revenue-sharing agreements, OPMs get a set percentage of tuition and fees that a student pays for the supported programs - about 45%. Owing to this aversion to these types of contracts we've also seen a new crop of providers pop up in the past decade that offers either unbundled or fully bundled services on a fee-for-service basis. 

Fee-for-service isn't the only innovation we've seen in the space in recent years. We've seen these providers massively assist in increasing the university adoption of micro-credentials, something students and employers are calling for more and more each year, and something universities are increasingly seeking to make an integral part of their plans to become "lifelong learning" providers [3]. Much of this increased innovation in terms of micro-credential adoption is owing to the world's leading MOOC providers like Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn bundling courses into small credentials and then finally moving to offer complete degree programs on their massive platforms. Providers have even begun to utilize these programs as on-ramps into full degree programs as well.

Other mega-trends dominating the landscape include: 

  • The high-growth segment of Education-as-a-Benefit providers that connect upskilling employers with online programs for their employees like Guild Education and InStride. 

  • The massive international platforms with a global partner and student footprints like Emeritus, Great Learning, Simplilearn, and upGrad.

  • The new crop of providers is specifically devoted to expanding the international footprint of programs like AVENU and Beacon Education.

  • And a number of other market movements we've been tracking for years.

{1} Prove It: Do OPMs really boost enrollment?, Encoura, 4/10/2018, https://encoura.org/prove-opms-really-boost-enrollment/

[2] Higher Education Digital Capability Framework, HolonIQ, https://www.digitalcapability.org/

[3] Survey: 7 in 10 College Leaders Say Microcredentials Could Help Enrollment and Revenue, Campus Technology, 7/22/2021, https://campustechnology.com/articles/2021/07/22/survey-7-in-10-college-leaders-say-microcredentials-could-help-enrollment-and-revenue.aspx

Learn more about the market with our 3 part overview

OPM Data

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