ExtensionEngine Blog

Use a traditional OPM, or you could simply light a pile of money on fire

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Recently I have had separate in-depth talks with high level administrators and faculty leaders at multiple schools—public and private, large and small, coastal and middle-of-the country—where the obvious conclusions, usually unspoken, were reached by all in the conversation. The difference was, each of these times the conclusions were spoken out loud:

One said “A school can work with a traditional revenue-sharing OPM if its goal is to simply get online. But given the financial implications of such a partnership, it would be just as effective but faster and put much less of a burden on faculty for the school to simply pile up a bunch of money in the middle of a room and light it on fire.”

Another said “What these OPMs do is cut off your left arm, make you sign a contract with your right arm, and then cut that arm off as well.”

What? How can this even be possible? Well, think about it:

  • These online programs are not something to be especially proud of because they are only loosely based on the school’s distinctive qualities and pedagogies,
  • They do not provide an especially effective or distinctive education,
  • They provide a much smaller return on investment than other options can provide while also requiring a longer commitment and building dependency on the OPM.

Here at ExtensionEngine we work under a different financial model that has different incentives for the school and us:

  • The school: The school doesn’t have to react to an OPM’s drive for scale but it can benefit from it if it does happen. The school is incentivized to grow at the pace that it feels is appropriate.
  • The school’s faculty: Because we enable a more flexible technological base and because we provide the appropriate staff to take advantage of that flexibility (instructional design, creative, and technical), faculty are empowered to provide much greater input into the design of their courses and programs.
  • ExtensionEngine: We are not paid based on the enrollment of the school’s programs and our contracts are on a month-to-month basis. This means that we will not be pushing you to enroll too many students. Our only goals are to enable your success and leave you happy with our partnership.

Does this model intrigue you? Might it be appropriate for your school? Let’s talk!


Continue Reading: Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of revenue sharing vs. fee-for-service engagements, which one is best suited for your institution, and how you can receive a custom-tailored financial model for your institution incorporating over 30 parameters.

Financial Model for Online Programs: Revenue Sharing vs. Fee-for-Service Engagements [White Paper]

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