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Parting Ways

Some third-party pathway partnerships have ended.

June 20, 2018
 

Because many of the third-party pathway programs are young -- and because some are for quite long terms (e.g., 30 years in the case of the INTO partnerships) -- many have not come up for renewal yet. A few have.

Navitas reported in 2015, for example, that it had renewed contracts for pathway programs at the University of Massachusetts campuses at Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell, all of which were first signed in 2010. The Dartmouth and Lowell campuses signed for an additional five years, with the possibility of another five-year extension, while the Boston campus signed on with Navitas for a full 10-year term.

On the other hand, a handful of pathway partnerships have ended.

In 2015, Navitas and Western Kentucky University parted ways, a move Navitas described in a press release as a “result of a review of operations … which has identified business units that are non-performing or have limited prospects for long-term success.” For their part, officials at WKU said at the time that the university had enhanced its own international recruitment capabilities, according to an article in the Bowling Green Daily News.

Study Group ended its relationship with the Universities of Maine and Southern Maine in 2016. Neither Study Group nor Maine shared reasons for the closure, other than to say it was a mutual decision, but a July 2014 article in the Bangor Daily News reported that the partnership fell short of its first-year enrollment target, having enrolled 16 students at the University of Maine, and one student at the University of Southern Maine, in the program’s first year.

"It was genuinely one of those situations -- it was an entirely mutual decision to part company. Around these partnerships you are going to occasionally get situations where the decision makers of the university don’t remain aligned with a particular strategic initiative. You can have that because of personnel changes," said David Leigh, Study Group's CEO.

Widener University also ended its pathway relationship with Study Group, though Study Group continues to contract with Widener to recruit students for direct entry into the institution. Leigh said the university did not adapt to recently updated changes to student visa rules governing pathway programs and so Study Group was not able to continue to operate there.

A spokeswoman for Widener, Mary Allen, said via email that Widener revised its recruitment strategies in recent years. "Widener never saw the enrollment from Study Group that was initially projected, so the partnership was not financially sustainable," Allen said.

The University of Utah ended its previous pathway relationship with Kaplan but is now set to open a new pathway program with Shorelight.

“With our previous pathway provider, it was a program that was set up on our campus, which … didn't really connect with other institutional entities and very much operated independently, and there just wasn't the kind of oversight and involvement from the university that we would have liked, so we feel that in this new partnership we do have that,” said Sabine C. Klahr, the acting chief global officer at Utah.

Klahr also said that with the Kaplan partnership, “we felt we weren’t necessarily getting the quality of students that we expected to get … I should add, though, that even though that was the case with our previous partnership, we tracked the students who we did retain and who completed their degrees here. They ended up doing quite well. The average GPA was around 3.0. It wasn’t significantly different from our domestic student population. I think long-term those students did well in general.”

A spokesman for Kaplan declined a request for an interview.

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