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Coursera doubles down on degrees despite recent declines

Coursera doubles down on degrees despite recent declines

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
February 10, 2023
Dive Brief: 
  • Coursera is doubling down on providing both degree programs and entry-level certificates on its platform, even though the latter offerings are the only one of the two that saw revenue growth this past quarter, according to the company’s latest earnings.
  • The MOOC platform’s revenue reached $523.8 million in 2022, up 26% from the prior year. That growth was partly driven by increased demand for microcredentials in the fourth quarter, especially the company’s entry-level professional certificates.
  • However, the company’s degree revenue fell sharply in the fourth quarter, declining 11% year over year to $11.9 million. Executives told analysts on a call Thursday that they expect the segment to begin growing again in the second half of this year.
Dive Insight: 
Coursera has been rapidly looking to expand its offerings since it went public in early 2021. The company made progress on those goals this year, growing its entry-level professional certificates from 18 a year ago to 38 today, according to company officials.
“We believe that industry microcredentials will be a critical component of the transformation of higher education,” Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said. “They offer learners with no college degree or prior work experience, an affordable, flexible way to start or switch into a digital career.”
Coursera isn’t the only public company seeing success with short-term credentials. 2U — an ed tech firm that recently acquired edX, one of Coursera’s main competitors — also has seen strong revenue growth in this segment, especially from its boot camp offerings.
However, Coursera’s degree business has been on the decline. Ken Hahn, Coursera’s chief financial officer, attributed these decreases to falling enrollment in U.S. graduate programs, where the company’s degree revenue is concentrated.
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