COLLABORATION

New Arizona State spin-off company helps global universities get online

SOURCE: Nine Boonsirithum / Shutterstock
Cintana Education will share ASU's experience and innovations with colleges the world over

Arizona State University is launching a startup in collaboration with the former CEO of Laureate Education, Douglas Becker, that will help universities outside the US expand the reach of their on-campus and online academic programs.

Cintana Education, as the new company is called, will share ASU’s experience and innovations with colleges the world over, helping increase the quality and size of their academic programmes in response to rising demand for higher education.

“In an era where higher education remains the most powerful global lever for economic mobility, our goal is to empower selected institutions outside of the United States to achieve their ambitious goals for growth in scale and quality,” Douglas Becker, founder and chairman of Cintana Education said in a press release.

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“To do so, we will combine our experiences with the experience and resources of ASU to enhance academic quality and drive innovation.”

ASU was named the most innovative university in the US by US News and World Report and has grown dramatically in recent years, almost doubling its student body since 2014. It also has one of the higher retention and graduation rates for students from all backgrounds.

Co-founder of Cintana and Arizona State President Michael Crow wanted to share this expertise with the world.

online academic programs
Arizona State University in Tempe, the new home of Cintana Education. Source: Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock

Although the World Bank reports a 17 percent increase in earnings per year of post-secondary schooling, access gaps are pervasive in global higher education. In the poorest countries, an estimated 8 percent of young adults are enrolled in college, compared to 74 percent in the richest countries. Just 10 percent of the world’s students currently have access to ranked universities.

“US institutions have increasingly focused on attracting international students to the US, but few have been able to engage effectively at the local level outside of America to help institutions advance in their home country,” said Crow

“This partnership with Cintana allows us to fulfill our charter’s mandate to engage not just in Arizona and nationally — but globally.”

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Since Crow took the helm of the public university in 2002, enrollment has surpassed 100,000 students, and it has partnered with several large employers, including Starbucks and Uber, to offer free online academic programs to their workers.

Participating universities will pay to become members of the Cintana Alliance, a network of institutions that will offer coordinated academic programs and allow students to earn degrees across multiple colleges.

The new company will be independent from ASU. The university, however, will be represented on Cintana’s board. And ASU Enterprise Partners, which the university describes as a holding company for separate nonprofit ventures, will have an equity stake in Cintana.