September 25, 2021

Publicly-Traded Ed-Tech Firm 2U Acquiring edX From Harvard and MIT For $800M in Cash and Reorganized as a Public Benefit Company

From MIT:

MIT and Harvard University have announced a major transition for edX, the nonprofit organization they launched in 2012 to provide an open online platform for university courses: edX’s assets are to be acquired by the publicly-traded education technology company 2U, and reorganized as a public benefit company under the 2U umbrella.

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The transaction is structured to ensure that edX continues in its founding mission, and features a wide array of protections for edX learners, partners, and faculty who contribute courses.

In exchange, 2U will Transfer $800 Million to a nonprofit organization, also led by MIT and Harvard, to explore the next generation of online education. Backed by these substantial resources, the nonprofit will focus on overcoming persistent inequities in online learning, in part through exploring how to apply artificial intelligence to enable personalized learning that responds and adapts to the style and needs of the individual learner.

Read the Complete Announcement

From a Joint News Release:

“2U will acquire substantially all of edX’s assets for $800M in cash. Together, 2U and edX will reach over 50 million learners globally, serve more than 230 partners, and offer over 3,500 digital programs on the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online education marketplace.

Read the Complete News Release

Harvard Gazette Interview

with Alan M. Garber, Harvard Provost, who is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of edX, a Position He’s Held Since edX Began, and Bharat Anand, Vice Provost For Advances in Learning, who is Also a Member of the edX Board of Directors.

GAZETTE: Tell us why now was the right time to decide to pursue this effort with MIT and 2U.

GARBER: Since we launched edX, approaches to teaching and learning at large scale have diversified and grown, and enjoyed remarkable success. Enrollment in edX courses boomed during the pandemic, which focused even more attention on the value and potential of high-quality online learning. Taking full advantage of that potential will require capital investments at greater scale than is readily attainable for a nonprofit entity like edX.

During this time, the economic disparities and social inequities that plague our world have also continued to expand. The change in ownership will enable the mission of edX — including access to low-cost and free courses to meet the needs of diverse learners — to be carried out with continued innovation at a greater scale.

Read the Complete Interview

Additional Resources

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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