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Arizona State University Sets Up New Company for Corporate Education Deals

Arizona State University intends to co-launch a for-profit company to expand the number of partnerships with corporations for its education programs. The new company will be funded and co-owned by TPG Rise Fund, a global fund that seeks "measurable, positive social and environment outcomes" in its financial investments.

The university already has such corporate deals set up with Starbucks and Uber. So far, 18,100 workers from Starbucks have pursued online education through the program, which kicked off in 2014 and covers 100 percent of tuition (via financial aid and company reimbursement); 3,000 students have graduated as of last December. The Uber program began in late 2018 and is being piloted in eight locations, including Phoenix.

According to reporting in The State Press, an independent student-run news organization, the school has described the new initiative as a "learning services company" that would serve as a liaison to connect Arizona State with companies that want its educational programs, and then manage those relationships.

Reporter Grace Oldham quoted spokeswoman Katie Paquet as saying that while Arizona State will be the first school in the program, other universities will also be able to set up corporate partnerships through the new company. The university has long held up access as its educational mission, and this reflects that goal. "We know there is a large segment of the population that is not the traditional university age and doesn't have access to higher education, but who are very interested in pursuing a degree to advance their careers and themselves," Paquet said. "And lots of employers are interested in offering their employees these opportunities."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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