Reinvigorating the promise of higher education

We Believe...

In the inherent worth of every individual

Every individual deserves the opportunity to flourish, and is capable of learning and growing to fulfill their inherent potential.

That education is the greatest catalyst for changing lives

Education provides individuals with one of the surest paths to social mobility—empowering them to lift themselves and others.

In the democratization of education

Individuals have a right to high-quality education that integrates into their lives. Education must become accessible for all—affordable, convenient, and relevant.

In upward social mobility

Education enables individuals, families, and social groups to realize better lives in ways that advance communities, economies, nations, and societies.

In building for scale

The scale of the need requires a proportionate response. Constantly striving to benefit more individuals and families is a moral imperative.

In generating human impact and financial return

Delivering valuable learning solutions at scale in a fiscally-responsible manner enables both human flourishing and financial rewards.

Defining the Problem

Higher education is increasingly falling short of its promised benefits.

We know that most students enroll in higher education to improve their career prospects. 1 This has long been the promise of higher education—upward social mobility. Yet, individuals, families, and governments invest significant time and money in postsecondary education that often fails to return commensurate economic opportunity. Even worse, when they can access it, education often fails those who need it most—first-generation college students, minorities, low-income students, and rural students.

Without transformative innovation across the institutions, systems, and infrastructure of higher education, this global crisis will continue to intensify. Almost every day, employers and industries adopt new technologies, strategies, and business models that redefine jobs and the skills needed to succeed in them.

Measuring the U.S. Educational Chasm

61%

believe postsecondary is affordable

33%

of adults in U.S. attain bachelor’s degree in 2012

1.9x

rate of increased cost of 4-year degree vs. inflation

38% gap

difference in employers’ vs. students’ perception of how college prepared graduates in key learning outcomes

21%

believe postsecondary is available (down from 67% in 2013)

50%

only 50 percent of employers believe higher ed producing job-ready graduates

50%

percentage of enrolled students who complete degrees

$77,832

average cost of 4-year degree at in-state, public university

40M

college-educated workers

45M

secondary education and vocational training in developing countries

95M

skilled workers in advanced economies

Global Worker Shortages by 2020

By 2020, there will be a shortfall of more than 40 million college- educated workers globally, a shortage of 45 million workers with secondary education and vocational training in developing countries, and a lack of 95 million adequately skilled workers in advanced economies. 2 The future of work is changing much faster than traditional, established higher education institutions.

  1. Dobbs, Lund, and Madgavkar. “Talent Tensions Ahead.” McKinsey Quarterly. November 2012.
  2. Strada-Gallup. Why Higher Ed? Top Reasons U.S. Consumers Choose Their Educational Pathways. January 2018.

Transforming the World of Learning to Change Lives for Individuals and Families

Entrepreneurs are already at work seeking to disrupt traditional education models by meeting individuals’ needs for employer-respected credentials and employers’ needs for skilled employees. Their efforts are bolstered by a growing cadre of foundations, investment funds, and think tanks that seek to deploy their financial and human capital to innovate within the education space. Some established educational institutions have also responded to the changing world they inhabit with varying degrees of success and varying levels of commitment and resulting transformation. Some are even working to disrupt their own models. All of these efforts are needed and more.

Yet, they are not enough. WGU has developed unique competencies through its exclusive focus on and experience in optimizing student outcomes by providing high-quality, affordable, accessible, online, competency-based education at scale. Consequently, WGU with New U Venture Partners, is uniquely positioned to catalyze the transformation of the world of learning. It’s time to build, develop, and influence the businesses, institutions, systems, and infrastructure of education to ensure it leads to upward social mobility, realizing its promise.