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U Southern California, Syracuse Expand Masters Programs with Private Partner

2U is on a roll. Just days after announcing it was working with the University of North Carolina to deliver four new certificate programs in its business school, the company has also gone public with news that it is extending its contract with the University of Southern California (USC) school of education for an additional 12 years and teaming up with Syracuse University to help launch a new online master of public administration. 2U works with colleges and universities to create and deliver degree programs online. The new business comes just weeks before the public company will announce its first quarter financial results on May 5, 2016.

In the agreements 2U signs with schools, the company provides multiple course development, student recruiting and support services; technology; and financial investments in return for a cut of the revenue generated. Over the first three to five years of a new academic degree program, the company may invest between $5 million and $10 million, according to information on its website.

The contract extension with USC's Rossier School of Education, its first university partner, will now extend to 2030 2U's participation in several degrees: the Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership. The two organizations are also considering the addition of an option for a new master of education in School Counseling, which is still under university and accreditor consideration.

The new contract minimizes exclusivity, which will allow 2U to do business with other schools of education outside of California. In return 2U will make cash payments to USC over a two- to three-year period and take a reduction in its revenue share percentage.

"At USC, we are pleased to be a leader in providing high-quality online degrees that serve our students and the schools and communities in which they work. I can truly say that our partnership with 2U has changed the way we think about innovation in teaching," said Karen Symms Gallagher, dean of Rossier, in a prepared statement.

At Syracuse 2U is working with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which already offers three graduate degrees in public administration and international relations, as well as certificate programs. Under the new arrangement the university will launch an online version of its Executive Master of Public Administration. ExecutiveMPA@Syracuse, which is still awaiting university and state approval, is expected to start classes in July 2017. It will feature a 30-credit curriculum.

Maxwell is the fifth school within Syracuse to team up with 2U for its online offerings.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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