Mythbusting OPM model

As a university ready to launch or expand your online program offerings, you have likely heard your share of opinions on the best way to make it happen. There are fee-for-service (FFS) vendors, online program management (OPM) partners, services that claim to have a “new” way of approaching online education (but don’t offer much real information or have any history of success), and the prospect of just trying to launch a new online program on your own. The options can be overwhelming. What do you want? What do you need? How do you know? 

If you are like many universities, partnering with an experienced OPM team is the most proven, most comprehensive, most effective way to take your university online. And if you are like most universities, you have also had someone try to convince you that the OPM model is outdated, unnecessary or even detrimental to your efforts to get online. That’s just not true.

Here are some of the most pervasive myths surrounding the OPM model, and the truth about how Keypath turns them upside down:

MYTH: OPM firms will take more than half of a university’s tuition revenue for a very long time, often more than ten years, in exchange for upfront investment in online programming.
TRUTH: Keypath offers flexible contract lengths and revenue share percentages, depending on our partners’ needs, including shorter-term contracts with an option for renewal only if performance metrics are met. Our universities never feel stuck in long-term, underperforming contracts, and they don’t pay for services they don’t need.  

MYTH: OPM delivers results like a stealth bomber: you see the impact, but you don’t know how it got there. When an OPM delivers students and financial results, the university has no idea how the OPM attracted students, what it cost to enroll them, or exactly where revenue came from.
TRUTH: This can be true for FFS vendors, which may experience frequent turnover and employ representatives that do not have a background in higher education. At Keypath, however, it’s simply false. Keypath is staffed with online education experts who have experience working in academics and/or other higher education functions. Our recruitment advisors and student success advisors receive extensive training about our partner universities and the programs they represent. Thanks to this combination of expertise and training, our partners are consistently impressed with the feedback from students Keypath enrolls and advises. Dedicated program managers share this feedback, along with details and methodology, with university partners during weekly cross-functional calls. If the university ever wants additional data, it just needs to ask – we are willing and happy to provide it. 

MYTH: OPM firms keep prospective and active student data in a lockbox, hiding pertinent information from universities.
TRUTH: At Keypath, we never hide our methods, best practices, data, or anything else. We believe in transparent partnerships. That’s why we hold weekly calls with each of our university partners, where we share progress on each stage of the funnel – marketing, recruitment and student success. In fact, we encourage our partners to utilize these best practices and lessons learned throughout the institution.

MYTH: Without control of its own programs, universities relinquish the ability to drive institution-wide goals.
TRUTH: Your online programs are your own when you partner with Keypath. We believe online programming is most successful when it looks, functions and integrates as an essential part of your university. That’s why Keypath university partners have total control over brand standards, marketing assets, admissions, courses and curriculum. Our experts work in close collaboration with university program administrators and faculty, building trust, relying on teamwork, and creating a successful environment for everyone involved. 

MYTH: OPMs operate in a silo, wasting your university’s resources and capabilities, and confusing students with duplicate, incohesive efforts. 
TRUTH: Keypath online program management is designed to include and augment your university’s resources, processes and staff – not to replace them. Our ultimate goal is to get a university’s distance learning program flourishing independently, so we work with existing IT, marketing and admissions departments to ensure we – and our universities – are able to best serve students for years to come. In fact, many of our university partners implement the best practices they’ve learned from working with Keypath into their ground operations as well, creating even more cohesion and impact throughout the university brand. 

MYTH: The OPM model impedes academic decision making, and often contractually restricts enhancements or changes to degree programming.
TRUTH: Keypath experts provide advice and recommendations for program structure, course models, and distance learning best practices. We provide access to ongoing research on the ever-changing online degree market, new technology advancements and best-in-class marketing. Ultimately, though, all academic decisions remain that of our university partners. Working with Keypath simply augments university efforts, giving our partners a competitive edge.

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