Future of OPMs in Flux as Regulations Loom

After months of uncertainty about whether the federal government would revise its guidelines for how colleges work with online program management firms and other outside providers, the Education Department said last month that it would do so early next year.
Depending on how it is written and what is ultimately approved, the guidance could dramatically alter the relationships between colleges and OPMs, which offer an array of services to help institutions build, market and operate their online academic programs.
Another policy change under consideration could compel the companies to shift away from paying the institutions up front in exchange for a share of tuition revenue over time, instead adopting a fee-for-service model that would require campus leaders to use their own money to fund projects. It could also lead to even more consolidation in the OPM market, experts say.

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