With the emergence of large-scale MOOCs over the past few years, it has become common to hear discussions of online education in terms of access and scale – access to low or no cost courses and scale of tens or hundreds of thousands of students. Of course MOOCs are but one form of online ed, and with 2U, Inc filing for an IPO in 2014, we have another example of a very different, and lucrative, approach to online education. 2U’s model extends high-tuition, elite programs to a small group of students. To get a sense of this approach, consider four remarkable numbers that are based on 2U’s S-1 filing.
To provide context for these numbers, 2U’s model is somewhat unique, as described in Techonomy:
. . . 2U offers weekly live online (synchronous) classes and a sophisticated social networking platform that lets students and instructors interact. Most degrees offered through 2U also require completion of physical components such as global MBA residencies, student teaching apprenticeships, and, for nursing students, operating room training on campus and clinical experience in their communities. [snip]
Another difference is that 2U classes are small—just 10 to 15 students and a professor onscreen in a Brady Bunch grid—so admission is selective.
2U makes $10,000 – $15,000 in revenue per student per year
From our inception through December 31, 2013, a total of 8,540 unique individuals have enrolled as students in our clients’ programs. [p 1]
For the years ended December 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013, our revenue was $29.7 million, $55.9 million and $83.1 million, respectively. [p 2]